THE Federal Government last week began talks with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) towards mobilising multi-lateral funding and technical support for planned Nation Urban Renewal and Slum Upgrading Programme.
The meeting, which was held at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development headquarters in Abuja, is meant to deepen partnership and improve living conditions in country’s urban areas, as well as transform informal settlements into vibrant, integrated neighbourhoods with access to essential services, while preventing the proliferation of slums.
Also discussed at the meeting was Nigeria’s $250,000 yearly funding support to the UN-Habitat Support Office (UN-HAPSO) in Nigeria. The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, who met with a delegation of UN-Habitat, led by the Director, Regional Office for Africa, Oumar Sylla, assured the delegation of Nigeria’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations and already set in motion the process to pay its statutory contribution, which was delayed due to the transition to a new administration in the country.
He further stated that continued funding support to UN-Habitat’s office in Nigeria will reposition the office to adequately play its role in providing technical support services to housing and urban development stakeholders in the country.
Dangiwa observed that UN-Habitat’s new vision of “a better quality of life for all in an urbanising world” aligns fully with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration, and called on the body to support the bold plans of the ministry to increase access to decent, quality, and affordable housing for all Nigerians, including those that fall within the low and medium-income segments of the country.
“We are counting on UN-Habitat to continue to render its technical support to the ministry as the focal point for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11, which aims to make our towns and cities safe, resilient, and sustainable.
“Additionally, we would like to seek UN-Habitat’s collaboration in advancing the SDGs. Specific areas include helping us to mobilise multilateral funding for our Urban Renewal and Slum Upgrading Programme and the New City Development Project”, he said.
He appreciated UN-Habitat for assisting with the review of the National Urban Development Policy (NUDP) and assured of the ministry’s commitment to complete and adopt the document with the technical support of the organization.
The minister said the meeting should mark a new, bolder, innovative, and more impactful partnership between the two parties; one that will see the ministry explore all the potentials and capacities of UN-Habitat to help achieve the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“I am impressed with your strategic plan for the period 2020-2023. In it, I see several points of intersection with the Renewed Hope Agenda of our government. This includes reduced spatial inequality and poverty in communities across the urban-rural continuum; enhanced shared prosperity of cities and regions; strengthened climate action and improved urban environment; as well as effective urban crisis prevention and response”, Dangiwa added.
The visit of UN-Habitat’s delegation comes as the ministry continues to unveil plans to make affordable homeownership accessible to more Nigerians, while also building sustainable cities and upgrading slums in the country. The intention of the ministry is to leverage the partnership with UN-Habitat to foster speedy and sustainable implementation of its plans for housing and urban development.
Arc. Dangiwa, therefore, called for series of future engagements with UN Habitat so that the activities and programmes mapped out in any future work plan will align with the priorities of the current administration ofPresident Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, as mandated to the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
Responding, Oumar Sylla, the leader of the delegation, assured the Honourable Minister that the 2023-2027 work plan of the UN-Habitat for the country will definitely be aligned with the priorities of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current administration.