Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago has said the conclusion of the UN Habitat Summit in Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia on Tuesday, marked a new beginning of bettering urban planning and a catalyst to making Eldoret a shining city within the NOREB region.
As more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas, a sustainable urban development plan has never been so important for addressing cities’ greatest problems ranging from housing, infrastructure, health and education, he said.
Mandago noted sustainable urban planning was becoming a global challenge that must be addressed by all states the world over, adding that Kenyas' participation in the ninth World Urban Forum (WUF9) - 2018, was a clear commitment of appreciating these challenges and focusing on solutions.
The governor led a delegation from Uasin Gishu keen on the ‘New Urban Agenda’ that was adopted in October 2016 at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador so as to prepare Eldoret for future take off.
"This is as a result of a unique consensus among all participating states and the projection of new challenges faced by urban planners. The document sets out a common vision and global standards for urban development in the coming decades," he said.
By 2030, the UN predicts that there will be more than 500 cities in the world (Eldoret included) with populations of more than 1 million each; more than half of these cities will be in Asia and Africa. In addition, the peri-urban areas in many big cities are rapidly expanding.
In a communication on Wednesday, Mandago said Eldoret (which is set to be elevated to city status), is among the fastest growing towns in Kenya and the entire region of East Africa.
The city faces challenges such as use of internet, traffic management, population and other shared facilities that come along with growth of cities.
"If cities and towns are planned and managed well, it will become the main tool for sustainable development and has a potential to be a solution to many of the challenges our planet is facing today," he said.
This year's theme "Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda” laid out the vision for future cities based on the science of urban development providing tools in crucial areas.
WUF9, Mandago said therefore provides a great opportunity to garner the efforts of all relevant actors to deliberate on, identify and commit to implementation of concrete solutions for the transformative commitments made in the New Urban Agenda, which are also fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals like:
1. Raise awareness of sustainable urbanization among stakeholders and constituencies, including the general public
2. Increase coordination and cooperation between different stakeholders and constituencies for the advancement and implementation of sustainable urbanization
3. Improve the collective knowledge of sustainable urban development through inclusive open debates, sharing of lessons learned and the exchange of urban solutions and good policies
4. Platform to incorporate the inputs of multilateral organizations and stakeholders into the reporting of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
Other delegations attending the Kuala Lumpur summit were those from Nandi, Kiambu, Turkana and Nakuru counties.