H.E. MR. BERHANU TAMIRAT
VICE MINISTER OF MINISTRY OF WORKS AND URBAN
DEVELOPMENT AND HEAD OF DELEGATION OF THE
FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA
SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR AN
OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE OUTCOME OF THE HABITAT AGENDA
JUNE 8, 2001
First of all, on behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia it is a great honor for me to address this very important session which is expected deliberate on vital issues of human settlements development 5 years after the adoption of the Habitat Agenda and Istanbul declaration.
The Government of Ethiopia is committed to implement the Habitat Agenda through progressive realization of the right to adequate housing, providing legal security of tenure and equal access to land for all people.
My government welcomes the principle behind the campaign for improved urban governance and secure tenure. In fact this is consistent with the on going measures taken by my government. However, in order to address the above principles and the principles of Habitat Agenda, in general, much remains to be done in the translation of the global plan of action to local and national urban development strategies mainly focusing on institutional capacity building.
The African Regional Ministerial Conference on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, held in Addis Ababa between 6-8, November last year, has provided us with an excellent opportunity to assess the progress made since 1996, the challenges and the way forward in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in Africa. This conference demonstrated that the period after Habitat II was characterized by a high degree of partnership and participation in devising follow-up activities, resulting in the adoption of a common set up approaches and exemplary contributions by a wide range of partners. This conference was concluded by adopting "The Addis Ababa Declaration of Human Settlement in the New Millennium." I am sure you all agree with me that this document is a significant milestone on African's road to implement our common identified agenda.
Taking this opportunity I would like to explain some of the important issues which would reflect my government's position related to the Habitat Agenda implementation.
Since 85 percent of our population live in rural settlement, we believe that promoting the role of our urban-rural linkages are of crucial importance for sustainable human settlement development. As we have clearly mentioned in our national report for the preparation of this special session, the Second Five Year program of my government has focused among others on strengthening the efforts made in urban areas in enhancing their contributions towards increasing social and economic development activities and improving the living condition of the urban population.
Although there is a strong belief that the developing nations of the world including Africa are being urbanized rapidly, people in this parts of the world are still predominantly living in rural areas and hence, we would like to take this opportunities to remind this special session to under score that urban development and shelter strategies favoring the poor, the rural dimension of sustainable urban development deserves due attention and consideration.
Although massive and strong efforts have been undertaken to implement the Habitat Agenda at different levels, there should be strong and proper mechanism put in place to ensure the mobilization and coordination of external financial resources and technical assistance. International cooperation should increase its efforts in strengthening and improving the capacities of developing countries. Direct overseas investment should be channeled to the provision of better shelter for all, to urban infrastructures, environmental improvement and to institutional capacity building.
Finally, I would like to express my government's wish that this special session will come up with decisions that could pave the way for addressing successfully the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in different countries which in turn would contribute to the improvement of the lives of our people. Furthermore, I also wish this session will help to develop better understanding and cooperation between the developed and developing states and other important partners in our joint effort to meet the global challenges of human settlements.
I thank you.