NEW YORK, Thursday, 19 October, 2016 – The Government of Zambia has reaffirmed its commitment to address the housing deficit that currently stand at about 1.5 million.
Local Government and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale said this when he delivered Zambia’s statement at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador.
He said Zambia is currently reviewing the National Housing Policy of 1996, and the housing implementation strategy to address the housing deficit and align them to the global demands of greener and smarter housing.
“Like many other countries, Zambia has been greatly affected by rapid urbanization, with an estimated 40 per cent of the national population living in urban areas, which is projected to increase to 60 per cent by 2050, representing a five times growth in absolute numbers, hence posing more challenges in terms of proper planning, housing provision, unplanned settlements, unemployment and provision of basic services such as water supply, sanitation, solid waste management and mobility among many other issues, if the status quo continues,” Mr. Mwale said.
The Minister said Zambia has in the last five years seen unprecedented infrastructure development of roads, schools and hospitals, as well as creation of new districts under the decentralised framework.
“Zambia has undertaken the following activities to respond to urban development challenges: included a chapter on inclusive cities in the seventh national development plan which is coming into effect in 2017; review of spatial planning legislation which has resulted in the repeal of the town and country planning act of 1963 and the housing (statutory and improvement) areas act of 1974, through the enactment of the urban and regional planning act no 3 of 2015; commenced the preparation of the national urbanization policy in partnership with un habitat to address urbanization challenges,” the Minister said, “…development of the city wide slum upgrading strategy meant to address and control the unplanned urban settlements; review of the water and sanitation policy to improve the provision of water and sanitation to the citizens.”
He said Zambia has partnered with the US Government to improve the water supply and sanitation situation in Lusaka through the Millennium Challenge Account.
“To attain the global community’s aspirations for the 2030 agenda and sustainable housing, fundamental issues that affect the sustainable housing and urban development are critical. These include among others: access to land, security of land tenure and upgrading of informal settlements; establishment of urban and territorial sustainable transport infrastructure and service funds at the national level, supported by global and regional initiatives to assist countries facing specific challenges such as landlocked developing countries as well as least developed countries,” said Mr. Mwale.
The Habitat III Conference, taking place between 17 and 20 October 2016, will adopt the New Urban Agenda, which will be an action-oriented document on achieving sustainable urban development, rethinking the way to build, manage, and live in cities through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the private sector.
CHIBAULA D. SILWAMBA (Mr.)
First Secretary for Press and Public Relations
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations