United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Kenya

INTERVENTION
BY
MRS. RACHEL ARUNGAH, CBS
PERMANENT SECRETARY
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES
ON
ACCESS TO HOUSING AND PUBLIC SERVICES
DURING THE
13TH SESSION OF THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
NEW YORK ? TUESDAY, APRIL 12TH, 2005
Madam Chairperson,
My delegation associates itself with the intervention made by Jamaica on
behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Access to housing and public services is one of the challenges facing
developing countries, particularly Africa due to rapid urbanization and
increasing urbanization of poverty. This situation calls for concerted efforts
involving poverty reduction and upgrading of slums as well as adoption of
proactive policies and programmes so as to avert further growth of slums
and informal settlements. The proactive policies include constructing
affordable housing units, particularly on a rental basis, for low and middleincome
groups; and promoting development of rural areas.
Provisions of housing and public services is an expensive venture entailing
use of various building materials that constitute well over 60% of the total
project cost. Due to high production and transportation costs of such
materials, projects end up being very costly pushing them beyond the reach
of many. On the other hand, many developing countries are endowed with
abundant natural resources that can meet the demand for basic materials
using available surplus labour. The policy option is to promote research,
documentation and dissemination of information on alternative locally
available low-cost building materials and technologies.
Land holds a special and critical position as an invaluable economic asset in
the development of human settlements. The policy on land use planning and
management is key in providing increased accessibility to affordable and
serviceable land, while providing security of tenure to the poorer sections of
society, women and vulnerable groups.
Limited access to finance is a major limiting factor in accessing housing and
public services. In order to increase availability and access to finance,
governments should create and maintain special funds from which related
projects can be financed. We encourage donors to contribute to such funds.
Other policy options include development of innovative mechanisms of
mobilizing resources both locally and internationally; and facilitating access
to affordable credit for the poor such as micro-credit and cooperative
savings.
Partnerships and joint ventures should be forged with the poor in
implementing pro-poor and community-based strategies. The involvement
of stakeholders should take cognizance of their respective comparative
advantages. Private sector participation can further be enhanced through
development of appropriate cost recovery mechanisms and provision of
relevant incentives in the housing industry.
Madam Chairperson,
We call for provision of requisite resources to UN-HABITAT to enable the
Programme to carry out its mandate. We also call for support to the Slum
Upgrading Facility of UN-HABITAT and request CSD to consider
harmonization of target 11 with other relevant targets.
Thank you for your kind attention.
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