East African Parliament Wants Rampant Slum Development Addressed, Ask Ministers to Develop Regional Urban Policy

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ARUSHA The East African Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution to compel the Council of Ministers to develop a regional urban planning policy as a way of addressing the current challenges of urbanization.

The resolution in its content seeks to promote better co-ordinated cities, cross-border towns and put in place remedial measures to disasters especially in slums and over populated townships.

It was moved by Kenyan Representative Nancy Abisai.

Abisai wants the Council to establish an Urban Development Desk at the secretariat to co-ordinate urban development matters in the region.

The resolution would also help the region strike common ground on the United Nations Habitat 111 Conference due to take place in Qatar in October 2016. The Habitat III Conference reinvigorates the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, to focus on the implementation of a “New Urban Agenda”

Abisai through the resolution wants member states to have a position on habitat matters.

According to a media statement, the resolution takes cognizance of the fact that the scale and pace of urbanization is opening up unforeseen possibilities.

“Large concentrations of people and goods providing for increased opportunities for creativity, larger labor markets, and higher levels of productivity, not to speak of the cultural and political opportunities associated with urban life is the norm” a section of the Resolution states.

The resolution also recommends that policies and programs on urbanization help to reduce poverty and increase the productivity of the poor at the same time raising consumption. This would boost local economic development.

East Africa still faces a challenge of urbanization with skyrocketing urban poverty and criminal gangs. Analysts say these challenges are born out of poorly planned cities and economies.

Recent rainstorms and floods across different cities including Nairobi, Kampala, and Dar es Salaam were clear signs of poorly planned cities as they came with a devastating toll on life and property, human welfare, natural resources and the economies.