Yesterday, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) launched the 2022 Report on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA).
The NUA provides guidance on how well-planned and well-managed urbanisation can be a transformative force for sustainable development for both developing and developed countries, to accelerate towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The NUA was adopted by a declaration (the Quinto Declaration) at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in December of the same year.
The New Urban Agenda and the Quito Declaration on Cities and Human Settlements for All was adopted to ensure sustainable urbanisation.
Among the objectives of the NUA and the Quinto Declaration are two points that are relevant for this editorial.
The first one has to do with the readiness of governments to readdress the way they plan, finance, develop, govern and manage cities and human settlements, recognising sustainable urban and territorial development as essential to the achievement of sustainable development and prosperity for all.
The other one is for governments to adopt sustainable, people-centred, age- and gender-responsive and integrated approaches to urban and territorial development by implementing policies, strategies, capacity development and actions at all levels, based on fundamental drivers of change.
The adoption of NUA means that there was an earlier programme that failed or did not show the expected progress.
For the NDPC to let the launch of the country’s 2022 report on NUA to coincide with the commemoration of the 22nd World Habitat Day should call attention to the importance of the relationship between NUA and UN’s Habitat programme.
Habitat is the UN’s agency mandated by its General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities to provide adequate shelter for all.
Food, clothing and shelter are said to be the three basic needs of all humans, which means even if men somewhere cannot boast any achievements, they should not lack these three.
But what is the reality? While governments in Europe, North America and elsewhere are doing everything tangible to, at least, provide shelter for their people, political establishments in developing countries like Ghana are doing more talk, praising themselves, than providing evidence of helping the vulnerable with even the modest of shelters.
In Ghana, for instance, all talk about affordable housing, a UN heartbeat, means providing housing for those who already have more than they need such as state officials.
Yesterday, at the launch of the NUA report in Accra, brilliant speeches were made by personalities like the Director-General of the NDPC, Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, and the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye (the minister’s was read on his behalf).
The Ghanaian Times wishes all the good intentions captured in such brilliant speeches would be made the reality for the benefit of the vulnerable rather than those already smooching off the state for their better living.
The homeless in urban areas would always build their shanty towns, which defeats the objectives of the NUA and the Quinto Declaration.
We should continually remember that the vulnerable are aware they are being denied what is due them and if no change comes their way, they would strike one day and the consequences can hardly be contained.