November 21, 2017, Some fifty-seven persons and dignitaries of the Ministry of Town Planning, Housing and the Living Environment, the media and the United Nations gathered in the conference hall of the Ministry to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Togo and UN-Habitat. Prior to the signing, three speeches were delivered to brief the audience and the media on the history, the importance and expected outcomes of the new framework of collaboration between Togo and the United Nations family in Lomé.
Ms. Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, the UN Resident Coordinator, indicated that the memorandum was the result of many consultations between the Government and the UN under the leadership of UN-Habitat in order to support national efforts to achieve the spatial component of the Sustainable Development Goals (especially Goal 11) and to implement the New Urban Agenda, in close collaboration with communities and local authorities.
In his statement, Mr. Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza, UN-Habitat’s Regional Director for Africa, indicated that this newly established cooperation would contribute to enhancing the capacities of national institutions and to support resource mobilization in order to achieve objectives set in the National Development Plan and Togo’s Vision 2030. Further, he observed that a Habitat Country Programme Document and bankable urban development project proposals aligned to the UNDAF for Togo would be required to guide UN-Habitat’s future technical assistance to Togo. These tools were important to ensure a coherent approach to coproduce a well-planned and organized urbanization process in a country with less than 40% urban population in 2017, he added.
Speaking last, Minister Kwadjo Fiatuwo Sessenou expressed his gratitude to the Togolese Head of State, Mr. Faure Gnassingbe, who had encouraged him to formalize the partnership with UN-Habitat. He further extended his profound thanks to the Executive Director and the Director of the Regional Office for Africa of UN-Habitat, as well as to the Country Resident Coordinator of the UN system for their invaluable contributions. His congratulations were also extended to the Togolese and UN-Habitat teams who had prepared the MoU and related technical documents, including the road map. The overall purpose of the MoU was “to promote sustainable and green urbanization for improving the quality of life for the majority of the population”, he said. He highlighted the five focus areas of the MoU:
- Implementation and monitoring of the New Urban Agenda;
- Integrated urban planning and participatory slum upgrading;
- Social housing and real estate development;
- Good urban governance;
- Resource mobilization.
The speeches were followed by the signing ceremony at 4.45 p.m. Lomé time. In media interview immediately after, the panelists expounded on the existence of a road map of priority interventions that would be used by the partners to implement the MoU between November 2017 and December 2022. The ceremony ended with a cocktail given by the Government of Togo.