Efforts to evolve a comprehensive but inclusive urban agenda for Nigeria will move into top gear in the federal capital Abuja next month, with the hosting of the country’s First National Urban Forum. The event is being held as part of activities commemorating World Habitat Day 2014.
The World Habitat Day is commemorated on the first Monday in October each year, in line with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 40/20A of 17th December, 1985. It is set apart for reflection on the state of cities and an assessment of progress made in efforts to ensure sustainable urbanisation and adequate shelter for all. This year’s commemoration at the federal level will however hold in Abuja on the 13th-14th October, as the first Monday coincides with a designated major public holiday.
The hosting of National Urban Forums at country level was conceived by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), as a critical part of the preparatory process for the forthcoming third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), scheduled to take place in 2016. The Habitat III Conference is being convened as directed by United Nations General Assembly in line with the bi-decennial cycle that saw the hosting of Habitat I in Vancouver, Canada in 1976 and, Habitat II in Istanbul Turkey in 1996.
The Habitat III summit will reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, focus on the implementation of a “New Urban Agenda” and, build on the Habitat Agenda adopted during Habitat II in Istanbul in 1996. Already, Nigeria is supporting the preparatory process at the continental level to the tune of $3 million, through the Strengthening Partnerships for a New Africa Urban Agenda project.
Nigeria’s First National Urban Forum, which will be the highpoint of the 2014 World Habitat Day commemoration, is bringing together all key stakeholders in the housing and urban development sector to deliberate on and validate the work of consultants commissioned for the preparation of a National Habitat Report, among other activities.
The summit is coming on the heels of the inauguration of Nigeria’s National Habitat Committee by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Akon Eyakenyi, on 20th February, 2014 in Abuja.
The theme for World Habitat Day (WHD) 2014 is ‘Voices from Slums,’ which campaigns to recognise life in slums and gives voices to slum dwellers for improving quality of living conditions in existing informal settlements, as well as highlights the efforts made towards the MDGs process.