I have the honour to speak on behalf of the African Group on agenda ¡tem 50 titled
"lmplementation of the outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat ll) and
strengthen¡ng of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)".
The African Group associates ¡tself w¡th the statement delivered by the representat¡ve of
Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
We thank the Secretary General for his informative reports on "lmplementation of the outcome
of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat ll) and strengthening of the UN Human
Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)" and, the "Coordinated lmplementation of the Habitat
One of the major challenges of rapìd, unplanned and unsustainable urbanization is the growth of
slums and other ¡nformal settlements withtn and adjacent to major towns and c¡ties. The
ser¡ousness and magnitude of slums is heightened by the fact that about 1.2 billion urban
dwellers live in slums, a figure that is likely to rise exponentially if remedial measures are not
lndeed, if the current trend continues, there is high possibility that some of the major cities in
developing countries will soon be transformed into slums, This should not be left to happen as it
will gravely undermine our efforts to ach¡eve sustainable development particularly through
implementation of the ¡nternationally agreed development goals ¡ncluding MDGs.
The current food, energy and financial crises have a strong bearing on the goals of the Habitat
Agenda. These alongside the challenges emanat¡ng from climate change requ¡re new and
innovative approaches to urbanization. The link between food and energy crises is that
urbanization affects land use, water resource management wh¡ch ¡n turn is likely to affect food
production and while on the other hand, about 75 percent of the world's energy is consumed in
urban areas w¡th heavy reliance on vehicles for transport and industrial uses. Hence, it is not
surprising that the food and energy crises let to widespread social unrest and pol¡tical protests
¡n almost all the regions of the world.
The f¡nancial crisis that has closely been l¡nked to the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage
market is a new phenomenon that urban development experts and pol¡cy makers should review
with interest, The African Group is of the view that the UN-Habitat, supported by other
stakeholders should carry out a study on the causes and ¡mpl¡cations of the cris¡s and share
such experience with other countries that are implementing such mortgage schemes. We
believe that this would help other countries avoid getting into similar problems in future by
putting safeguard and regulatory measures ¡n their pol¡cies and development plann¡ng