The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) has renewed its commitment to partner the government in attaining sustainable urbanization and improving on climate change adaptation.
This was disclosed when Minister for Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye and the Executive Director of the UN-Habitat, Her Excellency Maimunah Mohd Sharif, on Monday, June 27 met at the ongoing World Urban Forum (WUF11) in Katowice, Poland, held under the theme; ‘Transforming our cities for a better urban future’.
As part of their engagement, the two leaders explored, among others, possible collaborations geared towards addressing both national and global issues.
These included climate change adaptation, rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities and economies, as well as the provision of sustainable human settlements aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 11, that is, “To make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
Madam Sharif congratulated Ghana for being part of the few countries that have prepared and submitted their report on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
She expressed the need to prioritize Affordable Housing in cities since it is linked to the provision of basic and essential services such as water, sanitation and public health.
“The provision of Affordable Housing is one of the surest ways to ensure that cities are planned and developed in a more sustainable manner which ultimately impacts on a larger segment of the society”, said the UN-Habitat boss.
She also stressed the need for the country to take the issue of Climate Change Adaption seriously and lauded plans by the Ghanaian leader to institute a National Urban Forum, a platform to engage local stakeholders across various levels to investigate opportunities to strengthen cities’ resilience and deepen the understanding of the relationship between national urban policies and contemporary crises.
It will also provide a platform for a high-level discussion on the potential of national urban policies to address challenges in the fields of environment, housing, mobility, spatial planning and innovation and technology.
In his response, Asenso-Boakye expressed his appreciation of the courtesies accorded him and his delegates.
He re-echoed the need to prioritize Affordable Housing, not only to address housing shortages for a large segment of our cities, but also ensuring that cities are planned and built in a more sustainable and inclusive manner, which is in line with the theme for this year’s World Urban Forum.
He noted that Ghana has currently developed a framework that seeks to provide housing in a more organized and sustainable manner to address the housing challenges facing the country.
“To achieve this, I believe, there is the need to create a robust institutional framework to develop and implement Affordable Housing Programmes across the country, hence our decision to establish a Ghana Housing Authority”, Mr. Boakye said.
“The National Housing Authority will not only serve as a regulator in the sector but also plan, develop, and manage housing development in Ghana.
“As a Ministry, we have resolved to lead the process to engage key stakeholders within the sector to set up the NHA and also find ingenious ways of creating the enabling environment, especially for the private sector to lead in the provision of safe, decent affordable housing, especially for the low-to-medium, earning Ghanaian, ” he added.
The MP for Bantama Constituency, who is leading Ghana’s delegation to this year’s event is also expected to take part in a Ministerial roundtable as part of the global event, being held under the theme, “Transforming our cities for a better urban future”.