Some 300 participants including civil society representatives, government and United Nations officials gathered in Kayes, some 600 kilometers from the capital Bamako for this year’s World Habitat Day celebrations in Mali.
The Minister of Land, Housing and Urbanism, the President of the Association of Malian Municipalities, the Governor of the Kayes region, the UN Resident Coordinator and representatives of the urban planning and housing departments as well as mayors from 11 cities joined the event.
During the occasion a new partnership was launched by the Government of Mali and the local authorities through two programmes implemented by UN-HABITAT, “Cities without Slums” and the “Rapid Urban Sector Profiling”.
Mrs Mariam Mahamat Nour, FAO Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator as well as Mr. Alioune Badiane, the Director of the UN-HABITAT Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States, respectively delivered the messages of M. Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations and Ms Anna K. Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.
Both acknowledged the strong concern of participants to address the rapid urbanization and its footprints in Malian cities, such as increasing urban growth and poverty, spreading spontaneous settlements with lacking basic services, unemployment, social and environmental degradation.
The Minister of Land, Housing and Urbanism, Mrs. Gakou Salamata Fofana, in her speech, insisted on the responsibility of urban development decision to act now in order to combat urban poverty and improve living conditions while the president of the Association of Municipalities in Mali, Mr. Abdel Kader Sidibe expressed his appreciation to the Government of Mali and UN-HABITAT to be involved in the preparation of the World Habitat Day and in the formulation and implementation of the programmes which both aim at supporting local authorities to improve living conditions of the urban poor.
The ceremony was followed by the signing of the partnership agreement between the Government of Mali, the Association of the Municipalities of Mali and UN-HABITAT to launch the “Cities Without Slums” and the “Rapid Urban Sector Profiling” programmes in Mali which concern 18 cities in tota