Challenges of sustainable human settlements and adequate shelter for

Tumasie Blair

NARRATOR: Major developments in urbanization since the Second United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat II) made a strong case for holding a third meeting, the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Jan Clos, told the General Assembly's Economic and Financial Committee.

Those developments included the growing demographic and economic role of cities, he said, describing that aspect as having been among the key issues discussed at the twenty-third session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council. He added it had informed the view that a new conference should be convened.

Antigua and Barbuda's delegate TUMASIE BLAIR, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that if ever there was a time to focus on the urgent need to address the challenges of urbanization, now was that time as the world had recently welcomed its 7-billionth inhabitant.

TAPE: The challenges we face with sustainable human settlements and adequate shelter for all requires our urgent attention, particularly when population growth contributes to the rise in slums, poverty and the lack of basic services such as water and sanitation. CARICOM calls for the urgent and full implementation of the UN-Habitat agenda. CARICOM welcomes the efforts by UN-Habitat in advocating and sensitizing the international community about the impact of rapid urbanization. However the challenge still remains on how to adequately address the growth of mega-cities and urban sprawl in a sustainable manner. Consumption patterns and lifestyles with regard to land-use and urban sprawl will play a critical role in sustainable human settlements. The promotion of sustainable patterns of consumption and production, according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and taking into account the economic and social needs of developing countries, is critical to the implementation of the UN-Habitat agenda.

NARRATOR: Mr. Blair welcomed the efforts of UN-Habitat in the area of advocacy, saying the challenge lay in determining how to address adequately and sustainably the growth of mega-cities and urban sprawl.

TAPE: The implementation and fulfillment of the internationally-agreed goals on the provision of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development, as well as slum eradication, involves a comprehensive and integrated approach that are supported by nationally-owned and led policies that are targeted to achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all; access to safe water and sanitation; poverty eradication; the provision of modern, affordable energy services; waste collection and disposal. Additionally, in addressing the situation facing human settlements, CARICOM believes that building adequate capacity at regional levels should also take priority. This can be achieved in part through sharing of experiences, common regional policy formulation and implementation within the context of the Habitat Agenda and MDGs.

NARRATOR: CARICOM was well aware of the damage caused by disasters, he said, citing the 12 January 2010 earthquake in Haiti which had displaced millions of people. He encouraged the agency's continuing involvement of human settlements experts in assessing and developing programmes focused on prevention, rehabilitation, and reconstruction in disaster areas.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 3’36″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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