Habitat for Humanity and UN-Habitat host land and housing policymakers and practitioners from across Africa

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Habitat for Humanity’s Solid Ground Campaign in association with the Urban CSO Cluster of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) of UN-HABITAT are hosting a conference in Pretoria, August 15-17, 2017. The event will focus on land governance and management in Africa. Land is integral to securing shelter, agriculture for food security, mobilising investments and for the sustainable management of resources.

The conference is taking place in partnership with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), the Huairou Commission, and Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI). It will see stakeholders from multiple sectors come together to explore approaches to land governance for inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.

Torre Nelson, Area Vice President of Habitat for Humanity International welcomed delegates from many African countries. Today also saw key note speakers, namely Honourable Jacqueline Amongin from the Pan African Parliament and Rose Molokoane from SDl, share insights into the issues facing many Africans, especially women to have access to land ownership. Questions asked, included who owns the land and issues around land access and land ownership, which were discussed during the opening sessions.

Anne Myers, the director of Habitat’s Solid Ground Campaign designed to focus on land policies and systems to ensure that more people around the globe have access to adequate housing, believes the conference will capture key issues related to the planning and upgrading of human settlements through land use planning tactics with adequate housing as a driver of sustainable community development. Housing has substantial economic spin offs which needs leveraging through policy processes.

Africa has the highest urbanisation rates globally, and it is estimated that 87% of the population growth in Africa will take place in urban areas over the next two decades. Urban poverty is increasing in the absence of jobs, and many African countries are unable to provide basic services or adequate housing due to their economic situation, planning deficiencies, budget constraints and institutional weaknesses. This has resulted in slums and informal settlements forming and creative solutions for addressing this situation will be discussed over the next few days.

“Secure land tenure and property rights are fundamental to shelter and livelihoods as well as the realisation of human rights, poverty reduction, economic prosperity and sustainable development,” explains Oumar Sylla Unit Leader, Global Land Tool Network.

The Conference is taking place at a time when there is a heightened focus on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, which together set out a vision for vibrant, resilient and sustainable human settlements. This broader developmental agenda will inform many of the sessions and there will be a dedicated session on local implementation towards the SDG’s.

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