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UN Celebrates World Habitat Day on Oct. 5   
 
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02-Oct-2009  
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for concerted efforts, for a better, greener and more sustainable future for mankind.

He said “at the dawn of this new urban age, we recognise the problems and we know how to tackle them. No-one can be excluded, especially the poor and on World Habitat Day, let us pledge to do our part to follow through on our plans for a better, greener, more sustainable future for our increasingly urban planet.”

A statement from the United Nations Information Centre in Accra said Mr Ban made the call in a message to mark World Habitat Day on Monday, October 5.

The theme for this year’s celebration: “Planning our Urban Future,” is to underscore the urgency of meeting the needs of city dwellers in a rapidly urbanising world.

According to the message, the major urban challenges of the 21st Century include the rapid growth of many cities and the decline of others, the expansion of the informal sector, and the role of cities in causing or mitigating climate change.

Evidence around the world suggests that governments at all levels are largely failing to address these challenges. Urban sprawl and unplanned development are among the most visible consequences. Hundreds of millions of urban dwellers are also increasingly vulnerable to rising sea levels, coastal flooding and other climate-related hazards.

A troubling trend has emerged in many cities in developed and developing countries alike: the growth of up-market sub-urban areas and gated communities, on the one hand, and the simultaneous increase in overcrowded tenement zones, ethnic enclaves, slums and informal settlements, on the other.

Stark contrasts have also emerged between technologically advanced and well-serviced business sectors, and other areas defined by declining industry, sweatshops and informal businesses.

Better, more equitable urban planning is essential and new ideas from smart cities around the world are pointing the way toward sustainable urbanisation, but there is far more to do.

Urban poor need improved tenure and access to land; all cities need safer and more environmentally friendly public transport, housing security, clinics and public services. There is also the need to mobilise financing for urban development.

Planning is at the heart of this agenda, but planning will work only where there is good urban governance and where the urban poor are brought into the decisions that affect their lives.

It will work best only where corruption is honestly tackled.

United Nations bodies such as UN-HABITAT can provide vital help with capacity building, research, and knowledge management and exchange.
 
 
Source: GNA
 
 

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