Written by Enock Balakasi
Human settlement stakeholders have agreed to collaborate in efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 which stresses that Cities and Human Settlements ought to be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
The stakeholders met in Lilongwe on Saturday during the Malawi Urban Walk.
They include Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Habitant for Humanity Malawi, Centre for Community Organization and Development (CCODE) and Ovation Advertising.
SDG 11 is one of the many SDGs that replaced Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
Like other SDGs, it compels developing countries such as Malawi to achieve that target by 2030.
The Malawi Urban Walk was aimed at sensitising the public on the importance of having inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements.
During the walk, stakeholders noted that it is an illusion to achieve SDG 11 in Malawi because human settlement disparities are dominantly apparent in the country.
National Director for Habitant for Humanity in Malawi Kelvin Kalonga urged relevant stakeholders to work together in identifying the existing mind boggling gaps and come up with solutions that would make human settlements in Malawi safe.
” There is big gab in our cities thus why as Habitant for Humanity in Malawi we’re part of the new urban agenda which talks about different gabs that are there in terms of planning of our cities. There is needs for concerted efforts by our partners so that no one is left behind,”said Kalonga.
On the other hand, Deputy Director of Urban Development in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Mercy Dube said government has put in place policies to demonstrate its commitment towards achieving SDG 11.
The government also claims that the formulation of land related laws, the implementation of the slum upgrading programmes in the major cities and the implementation of the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme would help Malawi attain SDG 11.
“Government is formulating urban policy which will ensure that everyone is taken aboard…. There is number of priority areas in the policy which will take care of issues of urban poor like slum upgrading program among others, ” said Dube.
But Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE) Executive Director Zilire Luka emphasized that it is time to walk the talk on the implementation of policies.
” We have alot of policies in Malawi, but what is remaining for us is to move from policy to action and that is biggest challenge we have, “lamented Luka.
Meanwhile, all is set for Malawi government through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in collaboration with the National Habitat Committee will host the Malawi Next Urban Forum in this week.
This year the forum which will go under the theme ‘Towards Safe Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements in Malawi’ on 30th to 31st August 2018 at the Bingu International Conference Centre.
Malawi Urban Forum is a main advocacy platform for sustainable urbanization, where stakeholders meet to discuss and come up with strategies for interventions to challenges facing cities and urban centres in striving to attain sustainable urbanisation in Malawi.
With a share of 15.3 percent of the total population living in urban areas, Malawi is among the fast urbanising countries in the world.
The forum aims at adding inclusivity to the urban development debate and related programming, promoting active participation, dialogue and consensus among stakeholders.
There is hope that the forum will provide an opportunity to stakeholders to come up with interventions to address the challenges being faced in cities and human settlements.
The interventions will help Malawi achieve sustainable urbanization and meet the targets of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, particularly goal number 11; the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III, MGDSIII.
Participants of the forum will include government departments, academia, construction industry players, city planning and urban development authorities and others.
Malawi is one of the countries in which affluent suburbs and filthy slums mushroom back to back.
Some slums are built along waste dumps and stinking drains.
Most houses are substandard and succumbing to natural disasters that are a common occurrence in the country.