Sri Lankan housing programme highlighted at World Urban Forum
The Fourth World Urban Forum organised by the United Nations Centre
for Human Settlements (UNCHS) was held in Nanjing, China recently. More
than 5,000 foreign delegates from 175 countries including Sri Lanka
participated at the Fourth World Urban Forum together with another 3,000
local delegates from the People's Republic of China.
Minister of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Dinesh
Gunawardena, Minister of Housing and Common Amenities Ferial Ashraff and
Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena and Mrs. Ferial Ashraff who participated
the ministerial round table discussion with more than 100 ministerial
representatives from various countries discussed various issues faced by
the countries specially on climatic changes in urban areas.
Minister of Housing and Urban Rural Development of the People's
Republic of China Jing Weixin and Vice Premier of People's Republic of
China, Dejiang Zhang inaugurated the World Urban Forum with the
participation of Prime Minister of Bahrain Shaikh KhalifaBin Salman Al
Khalifa, Prime Minister of Kenya Raila Odinga, Vice President of the
Philippine Noli De Castro.
Chinese Vice Premier Dejiang Zhang said that the theme of the Forum
"Harmonious Urbanization" was critically important to the Chinese
Government, which attached great importance to integrated development.
They noted that China was focusing on coordinated development between
its cities and regions and was placing special emphasis on energy saving
and climate change mitigation.
Executive Director of UN Habitat Anna Tibaijuka thanked the
Government of the People's Republic of China and the City of Nanjing for
hosting the event and making the Forum a reality.
A special report published by the UNCHS on World Urban Forum-4 has
shown that Sri Lanka is one of the leading countries involved in the
process of minimising urban shanties and temporary houses. In this
publication UNCHS has further pointed out that Sri Lanka together with
Thailand and Tunisia are successfully involved in this process and are
an example to other countries.
The fourth session of the World Urban Forum brings together a wide
range of stakeholders who were focused on various aspects of harmonious
urbanization, including territorial balance in urban development, social
equity, urban environment and preserving the cultural heritage of
Minister Gunawardena said "At a time when $700 billion can be found
overnight to bailout the richest bankers in the world and $1,000 billion
can be spent on a single 'war', sovereign wealth funds in far rich
countries along are at $2,500 billion and growing, it stretches cruelty
when we are told and discussing for years that the world can't find an
extra $80 billion a year to meet the basic needs of food, water,
sanitation and housing for the majority of the world's population." He
said that "Sri Lanka views that this issue should be seriously taken
note of and given the highest consideration."
The poor were represented by civil society groups, young people by
youth groups, or women's organisations, the concept carried a message of
hope in a world urbanising so quickly that, according to UN-HABITAT
figures, two-thirds of humanity will be living in towns and cities in
It was decided to hold the Fifth World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil in 2010.