Photo: Slum upgrading. Credit: UN-Habitat. - Photo: 2018

UN-Habitat and ACP Partner to Ameliorate Urban Poverty

By Dr Patrick I. Gomes, ACP Secretary-General

The following is a slightly modified abridged version of the text of the video message by ACP Secretary General to the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 8-9 February 2018 at the launch of Phase III of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP). Launched in 2008, the PSUP is a joint effort of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the European Commission (EC) and UN-Habitat. – The Editor

BRUSSELS (IDN) – The Secretariat of the ACP Group highly values the PSUP and the work that has already been accomplished in respective countries. This is as a result of the commitment at national, city and community levels to see the end of urban poverty and improve living conditions of the urban poor.

The ACP Group remains grateful to the European Commission for providing financial and technical support to the PSUP over the last eight years and the new programme (2017-2021) also referred to as PSUP III.

I wish to make special recognition of UN-Habitat, our implementing partner, within the tripartite partnership, for their resolute commitment to partner with all our stakeholders to implement the PSUP and give a tangible contribution to achieving the SDG Goal 11.1 at country level.

I wish to summarise my remarks based on three key issues that are central to ensuring that the PSUP can achieve its goals:

  • The importance of PSUP to the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
  • Mobilisation of National resources to complement the 10 Million Euro PSUP catalytic funding in respond to the scale of slum challenge
  • Response to country expectations.

PSUP and the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States

The Secretariat of the ACP is chairing the Steering Committee of the PSUP and as such, we have a special interest to keep the political prioritization of urban poverty high on the agenda, as well as advocating for resource allocations to address the challenges of slums in member countries.

We do understand that there is great demand for countries to participate in the PSUP and benefit from its progressive approach and tools. We have been able to communicate and accommodate the growing demand with our partners: EC and UN-Habitat. The demand is as a result of growing awareness of the programme and we dream of the time when all the 79 member countries will be implementing the PSUP.

I have personally requested for the Steering Committee to be held in an implementing country for the members to appreciate the achievements of the PSUP while at the same time gaining insight into the scale of the slum challenge that we need to tackle. We have also been in constant consultation with the Ambassadors of participating countries in Brussels for this and other themes and we would love to give visibility of the programme at that level as the only global urban programme across the three regions.

The PSUP has already shown that it is people-centred, culture sensitive and particularly targets women and youth who are the most marginalized in ACP cities. I would like to see the programme contributing to the transformation of women’s and youth’s lives and provide culture-based sustainable livelihoods while improving the physical environment in the slums in your respective countries.

Leveraging the 10 Million Euro PSUP fund

The EC and ACP Member States deserve appreciation for the 10 Million Euro funding that has been secured for the next phase of the PSUP (2017-2021). While this is a significant fund towards tackling urban poverty, I view it as a catalytic fund for slum upgrading.

My observation, in many ACP countries, is that the poverty and misery of slums that manifests itself in environmentally unsuitable living conditions, inadequate sanitation, inadequate housing and gender violence is too gigantic in our cities. 10 Million Euros to be shared by all 40 implementing countries and 160 cities, is not able to achieve much in addressing these challenges but it’s a good start, as a catalyst fund and to equip with policies, strategies and innovative financing entry points.

I congratulate the PSUP implementing governments and local authorities who announced their financial commitments towards complementing the PSUP funds with counterpart financing. This is a very bold and encouraging step and I urge you to make an annual commitment. We have already seen positive changes with improvement of lives for slum dwellers as a result of the co-financing.

I am making a passionate call to all the National Governments and local authorities represented here to make it a policy and financial priority and create an annual budget towards slum upgrading and more specifically to complement funds allocated to the country by the PSUP. The EC elaborates opportunities of the EU blending for up-scaling the PSUP with us. I invite countries to explore this opportunity and engage in discussing with national EU Delegations and other financing institutions with the technical assistance of UN-Habitat.

At the same time, I would like to take the opportunity of this global event, gathering more than 20,000 governments, urban expats, private sector and civil society to assess their contributions to the programme. We need a strong and expanded partnership to fully leverage this important initial investment.

I particularly call for the contributions of national, regional and global financing partners. It will be essential to engage now and equip governments in addition to their contributions and political visions with finance instruments to tackle the scale incrementally. The EC again has done the first step, and I invite you to join this effort. The ACP Secretariat remains available to support any of these and facilitate partnerships wherever possible.

What we should expect from PSUP III funding

I would wish to listen to you, as the PSUP beneficiary countries in the last eight years, and understand your expectations of the PSUP III. This provides me and the EC with valueless messages to take back to Brussels and also allow the UN-Habitat to technically support you more effectively. I will ensure that this event is fully debriefed to me.

Lastly but not least, I hope to get an opportunity to visit your cities where PSUP is making positive transformations and partake in advancing the PSUP approach as one of the appropriate tools to achieving the goals of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in the ACP region. [IDN-InDepthNews – 13 February 2018]

Photo: Slum upgrading. Credit: UN-Habitat.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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