President Kenyatta calls for innovative solutions towards sustainable urbanization

President Uhuru Kenyatta - UN Habitat Assembly
President Uhuru Kenyatta: PHOTO/COURTESY

By Edna Mwende

President Kenyatta has emphasized the importance of sustainable urbanization and the need for innovative solutions in addressing the challenges faced by cities.

Speaking at the first UN-Habitat Assembly where he officially opened the conference; President Kenyatta said the implementation of the New Urban Agenda has been slow because of financial and institutional constraints at the global body as well as member states’ insufficient capacity to interpret, implement and report on the progress of the urban agenda.

“I urge member states to increase and honour their voluntary contributions to the UN-Habitat human settlements foundation, while at the same time encouraging those in a position to do so, to consider increasing non-earmarked funds to be part of the core budget of UN-Habitat,” he said.

The President pledged Kenya’s commitment to increase its contribution to the UN-Habitat and Human settlements Foundation Gains Account during the next annual contribution.

Mr Kenyatta, underscored the government’s efforts to implement the New Urban Agenda and related global urban agreements through the Big 4 Agenda.

He said the government has facilitated the establishment of a mortgage liquidity facility, the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC).

KMRC will support the affordable housing agenda by providing secure, long-term funding to the mortgage lenders, thereby increasing the availability and affordability of mortgage loans to Kenyans.

The Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Mexican Ministry, Martha Delgado was unanimously appointed as the new president of the UN-Habitat Assembly at the event themed ‘Innovation for better lives in cities and communities’ has attracted over 3,000 delegates from around the world.

He said Kenya has also commenced on major infrastructural developments both on major highways and within major urban areas that have facilitated mobility, improved sanitation and access to services by citizens.

The Assembly replaces the UN Governing Council following the endorsement of the resolution by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018. The resolution established a new governance structure which upgraded UN-Habitat’s status to a universal body and created a 36-member board.

“This new structure is really intended to transform UN-Habitat’s governance, provide oversight and enhance UN-Habitat’s efficiency and effectiveness in delivering its mandate,” President Kenyatta said at the event expected to take place every four years.

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