The Permanent Representative Amb. Jean Kimani joined H.E Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir, the Governor Mombasa County, officials from the National Government’s State Department for Housing and Urban Development, officials from UN-Habitat, Local leaders and residents of Jomvu Constituency in commemorating the National Habitat Day at the Cambodia Grounds on the 2nd of October 2023.
World Habitat Day is held on the first Monday of October each year. Marking the day gives the world an opportunity to reflect on the state of towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The day is also intended to remind the world that everyone has the power and the responsibility to shape the future of towns and cities. In her statement, the Permanent Representative reiterated the primary role of Cities as catalysts of growth and recovery and how urban centers can serve as pathways for benefiting the over 10 billion people residing in urban areas.
She noted that the theme, “Resilient urban economies. Cities as drivers of growth and recovery", highlighted the need for cities to have the capacity and capability to plan and anticipate negative shocks and stresses. She also noted that most of the Urban poor communities lived in areas susceptible to climate related risks and called upon County Governments to in cooperate Climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in their urban development strategies.
The Ambassador also urged participants to reaffirm their commitments in fostering a sustainable urban future that offers opportunities for everyone and leave no one behind noting that it was possible to build together, resilient and inclusive urban economies that benefit all. While thanking the Governor and residents for their hospitality and genuine efforts to develop Mombasa County, the PR also lauded efforts by the Governor to Fastrack issuance of title deeds to the residents as land is a very critical component of production and a critical ingredient in the entire urbanization conversation.
The event also served as an opportunity for the County Government Administration to issue over 1,000 title deeds to local residents. H.E Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir, the Governor Mombasa County reiterated his administration’s will to work with anyone willing to solve the land question promising to end the squatter problem in the county. The Governor urged residents to use the pieces of land gained for growth, to build themselves, their families and their people.
The Director UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa, Mr. Oumar Syllah commended the good partnership between the Government of Kenya and UN-Habitat through the State Department for Housing and Urban Development citing the importance of concerted efforts and action in achieving sustainable, equitable and resilient urban development. He also highlighted the programmes UN-Habitat was undertaking in partnership with the County Government of Mombasa and reiterated their continued commitment to work with the County Administration.
Delivering a statement on behalf of Mr. Charles Hinga, the Principal Secretary State Department for Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Hiram Kahiro shared the core focus areas of the State department including Affordable Housing, Markets, economic stimulus projects and delivery of social and basic infrastructure throughout the Country. He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment by highlighting its partnership with other partners to put in place major policy, legislative and programmatic measures to accelerate Urban Action for resilient urban economies.
Other speakers included the Acting County Commissioner,Area Member of Parliament, the speaker County Assembly and local area leaders including Members of the county assembly who added their voice to the ongoing land debate and importance of issuance of land titles as a primary means of ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the County residents.
World Habitat Day, held on the first Monday of October each year, is a day to reflect on the importance of sustainable urban development and housing for all. It serves as a global platform to discuss pressing issues related to housing and urbanization while inspiring individuals, communities, and governments to take action. By celebrating this day, we can work together to build a better, more inclusive, and sustainable future for all, one urban centre at a time.