Recognise Informal Settlers, PM Bainimarama Tells World Leaders

Like Fiji, Kenya is also committed to upgrading its informal settlement.
30 May 2019 13:45
Recognise Informal Settlers, PM Bainimarama Tells World Leaders
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at Nairobi, Kenya, on May 29, 2019. Photo: DEPTFO News

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on world leaders to recognise informal settlers in their countries and grant them a sense of ownership over their communities.

Speaking at the UN Habitat Assembly high-level luncheon in Nairobi yesterday, May 29 (Kenya time), PM Bainimarama said ownership granted confidence.

The luncheon discussion was centered on the upgrading of informal settlements.

“Confidence fuels investment and investment builds resilience,” PM Bainimarama said.

“We’ve built on this foundation of confidence by enabling our informal settlers with the security, tools and incentives that they need to invest in their homes and communities.

“No matter what label we give them, the world’s informal settlements must be approached proactively and through a lens of human dignity to make meaningful progress.”

Kenya’s Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, James Macharia, at the event, thanked PM Bainimarama for his keynote address and his time to officially open the high-level session at the UN Habitat Assembly.

“His presence here shows how passionate and committed he is towards upgrading and improving informal settlements,” Mr Macharia said.

“Like Fiji, Kenya is also committed to upgrading its informal settlements to provide a better living standard for our people.

Slum upgrading is one of our key components of affordable housing and we plan to complete 200,000 houses by 2020.

“This initiative is in line with the SDG 11-Sustainable cities and communities.”

At the same time, Mr Bainimarama also highlighted the Fijian Government’s housing initiatives.

“We’re implementing a rights-based approach; one that doesn’t rely on confrontation or the forceful uprooting of communities,” he said.

“We recognise that we share the same goals as these informal settlers and to mainstream them into our economy, allowing them to become bigger parts of our national life and bigger players in our national development.

“To accomplish this, we’ve embarked on a nationwide effort to regularise our informal settlements, granting secure land tenure to their inhabitants.

“We’re also creating the entire ecosystems with amenities like markets, food stalls, town centres, and local schools readily available and by doing so, we afford the settlements with a level of dignity and also reducing their carbon footprint which fits neatly into Fiji’s broader sustainable development goals.

“We must work hand-in-hand with like-minded organisations such as the UN Habitat to lay the foundation for communities that are safer, more resilient and sustainable, breaking the cycle of informal poverty and benefitting our economies, our people, and our nations for generations to come.”

Following the luncheon, Mr Bainimarama was given a tour of the Kenya Housing Project in Niagara.

The first phase of the project, when completed in September, is expected to house 1400 families.

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