STATEMENT By DR. OLUSEGUN MIMIKO HONORABLE Minister of Housing and Urban Development At the SECOND AFRICAN MINISTRERIAL CONFERENCE ON HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT HELD AT THE HEADQUATERS OF THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN SETTLEMENTS PROGRAMME (UN-HABITAT) ,NAIROBI, KENYA 3-4 APRIL 2006 STATEMENT BY DR. OLUSEGUN MIMIKO HONORABLE MINISTER OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AT THE SECOND AFRICAN MINISTRERIAL CONFERENCE ON HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, NAIROBI, KENYA 3-4 APRI, 2006 Madam Chairperson, On behalf of the people and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I congratulate you and fellow Africa Minister of housing and urban development on the successful institutionalization of AMCHUD as a platform to share experiences, strategize and adopt actions to ensure the provision of adequate shelter and the promotion of sustainable urban development on our continent. Nigeria fully aligns itself with the forward looking approach and clear focus of AMCHUD. We are confident that this partnership will not only help in defining the magnitude of the challenges we face, but will also pay a crucial role in promoting rapid development of our continent through the adoption of practical measures and actions to meet the millennium Development Goals. Madam Chairperson, Nigeria is the most populous country is Africa and is home to Lagos, its largest city and one of the fastest growing mega cities in the world in the world with an expected population of 25 million in 2015. The national annual urbanization rate is an extremely high 5.5% and projections suggest that Nigeria will be 50% urbanized by as early as the year 2007. Slum dwellers now make up the majority of urban population and Nigeria’s poor is said account for 6% of the world’s poor. Mindful of the daunting challengers of rapid urbanization and population growth, and especially our grave concerns about the magnitude of the population who live in object poverty and in poor housing conditions makers Nigeria more than ever committed to the goals and targets of the Millennium Declaration, particularly Targets 10 and 11 which address the challenge of housing and urban development. Madam Chairperson, Our quest for sustainable development has led to substantial progress in instituting basic reforms, including improvements in economic stability. We have moved beyond sectoral approaches to development by introducing comprehensive programmes that create opportunities for all. The Nigerian nation has adopted a comprehensive development strategy known as the National Economic Empowerment and Development strategy (NEEDS) whose goals and targets are aligned with the objectives of the MDGs and those of NEPAD. The focus of Needs is on sustainable poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation, overall social development and value reorientation. These are being address against a framework of social and economic interventions at national, state and local levels. To support these actions, two-thirds of capital expenditure in the 2004 and 2005 budgets was directly related to the achievement of MDs targets. Additionally, governments have devoted the saving of $1 billion relief granted Nigeria by the Paris Club solely to the implementation of MDG related projects in 2006. Madam Chairperson, Nigeria is pursuing an integrated approach in the planning and development of its human settlements. Slum upgrading programmes, provision of infrastructure and social services, micro-credit schemes, and good urban governance underpin our human settlements programmes. Our policy measures include a new National Housing and Urban Development Policy, modernized Land Registration and Information System, strengthened information and data bases for development and planning, enhanced mortgage system to facilitate home ownership among all segments of the population, a National Contributory Pension Scheme to ensure the availability of long-term savings for residential estate development and a robust secondary mortgage system, a National Poverty Eradication Programme for skills acquisition and job creation, and the development of strategic Regional Development Plans to correct regional disparities, for instance, in areas such as the marginalized Niger Delta region. Government has also created an enabling environment to foster private sector participation in housing delivery while forced evictions of slum settlers are being discouraged. Further, we have adopted a holistic approach to sound environmental by putting in place an Environmental Sanitation Policy and Plan of Implementation. The goal is to “ensure a clean and healthy environment by adopting efficient and cost effective strategies, to safeguard public health and well-being in line with national development objectives”. In the water sector, reforms have been undertaken to ensure the provision of safe and affordable water services for all Nigerians. Specially, National Water Policy, which includes an Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, has been established. It is our desire to achieve our water target by 2011, through a vigorous implementation of the Water Policy within the framework of “Water of People, water for Life”. Madam Chairperson, These actions underscore the commitment of the Nigerian Government to the goals of AMCHUD and the Habitat Agenda. We do however acknowledge that very few African countries are on track to meet the MDGs in 2015. For this reason, we eagerly look forward at this session to the ratification of the Durban Declaration and the Enhanced Framework of Implementation. To support the realization of the MDG goals by all African countries and overcome current constraints, it is Nigeria’s expectation that this Conference will equally develop and adopt pragmatic measures and action-oriented programme that will help in attaining the regional goals we have set for ourselves. Madam Chairperson, AMCHUD should equally anticipate and prepare for growth, develop robust and sustainable financing strategies, and attract long-term capital investments so crucial for the provision of infrastructure and other services in Africa’s cities and towns. Let also emphasize the need among our various countries for the exchange of expertise, research, experience, technology, and best practices, especially on matters such as the eradication of slums in our cities and metropolitan areas. For all our countries, capacity building is essential. We must put in place effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, including peer review meetings to assess implementation. In no less measure, we must collectively seek development assistance, debt relief including cancellation and debt swaps and market access without which it will not be possible to meet the MDGs in Africa. In conclusion, Nigeria wishes to acknowledge the support of the African Union, and UN-HABITAT to AMCHUD. We identify with the laudable initiatives of the UN-HABITAT through its various programmes such as the global Campaign on secure tenure and Good urban Governance, the technical cooperation programmes and initiative such as the Slum Upgrading Facility which should be effectively utilized to support African states to achieve the MDG targets on slum dwellers, safe drinking water and basic sanitation and infrastructural development. We appeal to the UN General Assembly, and the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT to ensure proper funding and staffing for UN-HABITAT to enable it meet its mandate. Nigeria indeed looks forward to working in partnership with other members in realization the MDGs in Africa. It is clear that unless we follow through on our mutual commitments, MDGs may well remain no more than an inspirational lodestar for the continent. We must, therefore, determine collectively to translate that inspiration to concrete achievements in each and every of our countries. I thank you for your attention.