Johannesburg, 6 November 2014- The Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kirabo took part in South Africa’s Indaba and Exhibition aimed at building partnerships for accelerated human settlements delivery. The meeting specifically considered South Africa’s progress in enhancing human settlements over the last decade through its Breaking New Ground policy (2004) and it’s Social Contract for Rapid Housing Delivery (2005).
A 2nd Social Contract was signed at the conference encapsulating South Africa’s ambitious vision to deliver 1.5 million housing opportunities by 2019. Key representatives from government, civil society, academia and the private sector present considered means and opportunities for realizing this vision towards sustainable human settlements.
In her address focused on ““Urbanization and Human Settlements Challenges in Africa” the Deputy Executive Director noted that “The inevitable “urban transition” in Africa will place immense strain on affordable urban land and housing provision in the coming decades and more importantly on government financial resources and will no doubt test government capacities and creativity in crafting appropriate responses to the challenges of rapid urbanization”.
Taking note of the achievements of the South African government to date, the Deputy Executive Director said “A lot can be learned by other developing countries from South Africa’s experience, especially in the African continent where the challenges of urbanization and human settlements are perhaps most acute”. The DED equally called on the beneficiaries of the houses to be delivered to show responsibility in ensuring there is proper upkeep and maintenance of the assets, practice appropriate hygiene and waste disposal to ensure environmental sustainability.
She further called on Africa governments to consider “Urbanization … as a key factor of socio-economic development and transformation and positioned accordingly in national and sub-national priorities backed by adequate political will and commitment”.
Highlighting UN-Habitat’s work across the continent as well as in South Africa, the Deputy Executive Director held a number of bilateral discussions with government officials, other partners and met with the UNCT in Pretoria with a view to further deepening partnerships with the Government of South Africa in the human settlements field.