Brussels, 11 November 2014-- UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr. Kacyira Kirabo last Friday attended a meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States meeting in Brussels where she appraised the ambassadors and representatives present on her agency’s work in slum upgrading.
In her address to the ACP subcommittee meeting on political, social, humanitarian and cultural affairs, Dr. Kacyira underlined the challenges related to fast urban growth in ACP countries which often led to an urban divide in economic and social terms. “The more unequal the distribution of income in urban areas, the higher the potential for social and political tension and conflicts”, said Dr. Kacyira, who also stressed the need for infrastructure and affordable housing for residents in informal settlements.
She further outlined UN-Habitat’s work on slum upgrading since 2008 which has led to more than 200 slum upgrading and prevention projects in the 35 countries; some 55 urban policies, legal frameworks and national development plans changed and adapted for slum upgrading; and the increase of national and municipal budgets for urban poverty in almost all partner countries, often doubling or tripling the budget provided by UN-Habitat’s Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme.
The ambassador of Rwanda Mr. Robert Masozera expressed appreciation for UN-Habitat’s work and suggested requesting the European Commission to extend funding for slum upgrading beyond 2015. A representative from the Jamaican embassy underscored the need to include vulnerability in disaster in urban development and slum upgrading, and the ambassador of Mali Mr. S . E. M. Sekouba CISSE recognized the importance of affordable housing in developing countries.