Ghana Urban Agenda
Preparation for HABITAT III
Ghana participates in PREPCOM II and the 25th Session of the Governing Council of UN Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya from 14 to 23 April 2015
The Government of Ghana with support of its key urban partner institutions, Cities Alliance (CA) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), is participating in the Second Preparatory Meeting (PREPCOM II) and the 25th Governing Council Meeting (GC25) of the UN Habitat towards the organization of the Habitat III Conference in 2016.
Development of the Habitat III Report
Ghana’s participation is grounded on its successful development of the Country’s Draft Habitat III Report. The Report which was facilitated by the National Habitat Committee went through a participatory approach involving the consultation of broad spectrum of stakeholders from the local and national governments, academia, civil society groups with particular emphasis on the urban poor and the private sector, among others. The draft report was also subjected to a number of validation sessions, i.e. through individual institutional validation and also through a national validation session.
From the last validation session on the development of Ghana’s Habitat III Report in mid December 2014, it was further recommended for the Draft Report to be subjected to a technical review and quality assurance by senior urban experts before the final version of the report is submitted again to the UN Habitat Secretariat. Ghana’s participation in the PREPCOM II and the GC25 will further enhance the finalization of the report and also ensure the country takes full advantage of the processes leading up to the organization of the Habitat III Conference in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.
The New Urban Agenda
To this end, Ghana’s delegation made up of technical officers and decision makers was carefully selected to ensure that the processes leading up to the development of the New Urban Agenda is well connected to the national development framework of the country.
To the Government of Ghana, the preparations towards the Habitat III Conference are of utmost importance given that the country is looking for opportunities of consolidating its efforts in the urban sector. Ghana has already taken initial steps in facilitating sustainable urban development through the development of the first ever Ghana Urban Policy Framework, launched in 2012, and now also have in place the Ghana National Housing Policy, launched in March 2015.
Together with its well-meaning partners such as the World Bank and the Agence Française de Développement, Ghana has also initiated programs and projects in the urban sector to ensure speedy implementation of the policy actions in the National Urban Policy Framework. Capital intensive projects such as the Urban Development
Grant, a component of the Local Government Capacity Support Project (LGCSP) and the Ghana Urban Management Pilot Project (GUMPP) from the Worldbank and the Agence Française de Développement respectively are some of the visible signs that Ghana is taking direct investment for urban infrastructure financing seriously. Due to the huge urban infrastructure gaps in cities especially in housing, transportation and sanitation, Ghana is using platforms such as those that are offered through the Habitat III process, to build networks and establish partnerships to address its urban challenges.
An emerging issue of importance from the PREPCOM II and GC25 is the growing need to address urban development within the context of urban-rural linkages. Growing consensus is that sustainable urban development requires strategies to address rural-urban migration and a holistic approach to development within a continuum of human settlements. The call is for national urban policies to specifically include provisions for rural development.
The way forward
Going forward, Ghana is actively putting in practice the knowledge and experiences gained on the UN platform to transform urban development in Ghana with the able support of its partners. Ghana’s urbanization is ripe and there is the urgent need to position the nation to maximize the benefits that are associated with the irreversible phenomenon (urbanization) whilst minimizing the attendant challenges such as development of slums, difficulties with mobility, crime, housing deficit, limited open space and sanitation among others.