Nairobi 14 April 2015—The second preparatory meeting (PrepCom2) of the Habitat III conference has opened in Nairobi with member states recognizing the growing role of cities in their respective country policies. The Secretary-General of the Habitat III Conference, Dr. Joan Clos, in his key note speech highlighted the link between urbanization and rural development.
“Urbanization, if done well, is an effective instrument and driver of rural prosperity as well as general economic development,” he said. Dr. Clos who is also the Executive Director of UN-Habitat said that in order to address the urbanisation subject critically, the organisation had created a new vision which makes a shift in focus and incorporates three essential urban elements into a new, integrated working methodology.
He said these were urban legislation, urban design and municipal finance, which he described as a three-legged strategy in advancing sustainable urbanization. On climate change, Dr. Clos said that cities, especially those in the developed world, contributed to up to 70 per cent of global gas emissions.
"New urban models are required to address the challenge of gas emissions," he said. The Secretary-General also called for increased measures to mitigate against the increasing disaster risk in many urban centres of the world. In his address, Kenya's acting Cabinet Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Mr. Fred Matiang'i said his government would lend all support possible to UN-Habitat in its growth and institutional development.
"Kenya is facing a lot of challenges as I am sure are many countries represented here today and that is why I am appealing to all of us to join hands In supporting UN-Habitat," he said.