At UN-backed conference, African ministers discuss action plan to tackle slums

5 April 2006 – African ministers responsible for housing and urban development have been discussing a 10-point action plan at a United Nations-backed conference in Kenya, aimed at reducing urban poverty, defusing potential social unrest, and reversing the perception that governments are not doing enough on a continent where over 70 per cent of city dwellers live in slums.

More than 30 African countries were represented at the two-day Special African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development in Nairobi, which was hosted by the Government of Kenya and UN-HABITAT, and chaired by South Africa, the UN agency said in a news release.

“We will be taking home a set of new resolutions aimed at galvanising awareness of our social housing problems, demanding that the fight against the urbanisation of poverty is instituted at national level with national budget allocations as well as donor support,” said Chad's Minister for Regional Development and the Habitat, Chene Adoum, echoing the views of other delegates.

UN-HABITAT said that a new set of resolutions was expected to come out of the two days of deliberations, which ended on Tuesday, and the ministers were also set to agree a date on their next meeting as a way of keeping urban poverty in the spotlight.

The 10 points revolved around decentralizing State authority; policy frameworks; land management; finance mechanisms; capacity building; governance; peace; empowerment; partnership; and the enforcement of existing land regulations and building codes.

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