The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, has renewed its commitment to partner with the government of Ghana in attaining sustainable urbanization and improving climate change adaptation.
This came to light when Ghana’s Minister for Housing, Hon. Francis Asenso-Boakye and the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, Her Excellency Maimunah Mohd Sharif, on Monday, June 27, 2022, met at the ongoing World Urban Forum (WUF11) in Katowice, Poland, held under the theme; ‘Transforming our cities for a better urban future’.
As part of the discussions, the two leaders explored, among others, possible collaborations geared towards addressing both national and global issues. These included climate change adaptation, rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, and economies, as well as the provision of sustainable human settlements aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 11, that is, ‘To make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
In her remarks, Her Excellency Maimunah Mohd Sharif congratulated Ghana for being part of the few countries that have prepared and submitted their report on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and expressed the need to prioritize Affordable Housing in cities due to its linkage to the provision of basic and essential services such as water, sanitation, and public health.
The provision of affordable housing, Maimunah Mohd Sharif noted, is one of the surest ways to ensure that cities are planned and developed in a more sustainable manner which ultimately impacts a larger segment of society.
The UN-Habitat boss stressed the need for the country to take the issue of climate change adaption seriously and lauded plans by the Ghanaian leader to institute a National Urban Forum, a platform to engage local stakeholders across various levels to investigate opportunities to strengthen cities’ resilience and deepen the understanding of the relationship between national urban policies and contemporary crises. The Forum will also serve as a platform for a high-level discussion on the potential of national urban policies to address challenges in the fields of environment, housing, mobility, spatial planning, and innovation and technology.
In his response, Hon. Asenso-Boakye re-echoed the need to prioritize Affordable Housing, not only to address housing shortages for a large segment of our cities but also to ensure that cities are planned and built in a more sustainable and inclusive manner.
As part of Ghana’s efforts toward the provision of affordable housing, the sector Minister disclosed Ghana’s current framework that seeks to provide housing in a more organized and sustainable manner to address the housing challenges facing the country.
“To achieve this, I believe, there is the need to create a robust institutional framework to develop and implement Affordable Housing Programmes across the country, hence our decision to establish a Ghana Housing Authority (NHA)”. The Minister added.
Asenso-Boakye explained that the NHA will not only serve as a regulator in the sector, but will also plan, develop, and manage housing development in Ghana. He said the sector Ministry has resolved to lead the process to engage key stakeholders within the sector to set up the NHA and also find ingenious ways of creating the enabling environment, especially for the private sector to lead in the provision of safe, decent affordable housing, especially for the low-to-medium, earning Ghanaian.
The Minister for Works and Housing, who is leading Ghana’s delegation to this year’s event currently ongoing in the Polish city of Katowice is also expected to take part in a Ministerial Roundtable as part of the global event, being held under the theme, ‘Transforming our cities for a better urban future’.