The Ministry of Works and Housing in Collaboration with UN-Habitat, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation and Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development, commemorated the World Habitat Day virtually in Accra.
The world habitat day, which is celebrated on the first Monday of October every year, was instituted by the United Nation (UN) in 1985 to reflect on the state of cities and towns and the basic right of all to adequate housing.
This year’s celebration has as its theme, “Housing for All: A Better Urban Future”. It presents the opportunity to engage in a global discussion on the transformative impact of COVID-19 on the housing sector and to explore how to build societies back better, by leveraging the role of housing as a catalyst for progressively delivering human rights and as a foundation of people’s wellbeing.
Addressing the celebration, Honourable Samuel Atta Akyea, Minister of Works and Housing, said government is committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG11) which aims at achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities, by implementing Affordable Housing Programme aimed at providing adequate and decent affordable housing, particularly to the low and middle- income groups.
He stated that the National Housing Policy Implementation Plan is at its conclusive stage and that the document has undergone stakeholder consultative assessments and contains strategies that will go a long way to solving the myriad of urban housing problem for the people.
Hon. Atta Akyea noted that the spread of COVID-19 has brought into limelight the exacerbating pre-existing housing crises, saying that without adequate housing, it is impossible to carry out social distancing and good hygiene practices which play key role in fighting against this pandemic.
According to the Minister, the living condition in informal settlement and slum areas such as Old Fadama, Ashiaman, Nima, and Mamobi are prone to the risk of infection of the virus which creates the urgency for private sectors to partner with government in order to deliver the basic necessity of life- shelter.
Mr. Charles Abani, the UN-Resident Coordinator in Ghana also highlighted that the UN Habitat has been a strong battle fighter against the spread of COVID-19 by supporting the stakeholders in the response of economic recovery and donations to most urban areas.
He added that the UN Habitat is undertaking some projects in some suburb of Accra namely Ablekuma, Ashaiman and others which aimed at reconstructing the frameworks for good housing for citizens.
On his part, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, explained that the World Habitat Day is beyond merely housing and that in science, habitat is an environment where living things have access to things surrounding them in terms of shelter, stability, mosque, church and markets among others.
He said there is the need for decent housing in the midst of COVID-19, saying ‘it appears to me that urban housing do not take the need for stability of places especially in Accra. Places like Chorkor, Fadama and Ashaiman Zongo among others do not look well-constructed.’
Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources and Hon. Adjei Boateng, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, who joined the forum virtually, commended the government and other agencies for their social intervention measures such as providing Personal Protective Equipment, Veronica buckets, and free water supply among others during this pandemic.