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Statement by H.E. Zachary D. Muburi-Muita

Madam Chair,

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 Agenda.

Madam chair,

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 taken.

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.

Madam Chair

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 strategies.