Sikhanyisiwe Ncube in KATOWICE, Poland
ZIMBABWE is participating at the 11th session of the World Urban Forum convened by UN-Habitat in Poland.
National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe, who is holding meetings and engagements with stakeholders and partners drawn from across the world, is leading the delegation.
The Forum is running under the theme: “Transforming our cities for a better urban future.”
Other Zimbabwean delegates are Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Winpeg Moyo and Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Mr Tafadzwa Muguti.
Representatives from the Zimbabwean embassies in Kenya and Germany, other senior Government officials, and representatives from the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, and local authority representatives from Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Victoria Falls are with the delegation
The forum, which began on Monday, is organised and convened by the UN-Habitat, which brings stakeholders together in a concerted effort to achieve sustainable development goals.
On Monday, UN-Habitat under-secretary-general and executive director, Ms Maimunah Mohd Sharif, said the forum was a marketplace for innovation, where ideas and feedback are collected from events to test new ideas as well as gather material for developing policy.
Several issues are being tackled at the sessions, which include insights on sustainable ways to transform cities in view of building resilience, and ensuring the inclusion of communities in the transformation agenda.
Housing finance is also topical in the discussions, with most interactions pointing to the need for more approaches to strengthen resource mobilisation through fiscal reforms.
The impact of climate change on the built environment is also receiving attention amid calls for adaptation and mitigation approaches for sustainable urban settlements.
Deliberations are also coming through on how cities can attract investment and create spatial planning which is connected to trade, economic growth, the development agenda and inclusivity.
Yesterday, Minister Garwe was expected to speak on net zero-carbon architecture for Africa.
Minister Moyo is today expected to make a presentation on urban economy and finance, focusing on how cities can leverage on opportunities to enhance socio-economic transformation.
The Ministers took time to share the Zimbabwean experience in human settlements, climate change, housing finance, smart settlements and disaster management.
They also proffered suggestions on how cities could manage their development drive as they transform for a better urban future and brought out key tenets of Vision 2030 and the national thrust towards inclusive approach to development.
Zimbabwe is also exhibiting projects being pursued by local authorities, focusing on calls on investment towards urban regeneration, mass transport systems, the construction of apartments and social amenities.
The five-day meeting will conclude with declared actions that representatives of governments, civil society, and the private sector will take back to their home cities for further interrogation and implementation.
Sikhanyisiwe Ncube is the deputy Director for Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities.