Urbanisation must be linked to SDGs – President Ali

─ at 10th Caribbean Urban Forum

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali says plans for urbanisation must be linked to meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to ensure citizens quality of life.

The President was delivering his keynote address to the 10th Caribbean Urban Forum hosted by the University of Guyana on Wednesday.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana

“How we respond to urbanisation will undoubtedly determine the quality of life of our citizens, and whether we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. I want to pause here. Urbanisation must be linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.

There must be a common pathway through which urbanisation reflects the attainment of the SDGs. While it is not unusual for us to look outside of the Caribbean for solutions, many of those solutions already exist right here at home.”

The SDGs or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The SDGs were compiled in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by 2030.

President Ali said Guyana has been successful in addressing urbanisation which includes population shift from rural to urban areas, the corresponding decrease in the proportion of people living in rural areas, and the ways in which societies adapt to the change.

The Head of State said available statistics show that between 1992 and 2011, the degree of urbanisation had continuously reduced. He added that Guyana’s success during this period was not accidental, but was due to deliberate efforts by the Government to embark on an ambitious housing programme where over 100,000 house lots were distributed, and several housing schemes developed as new growth poles.

“The examination of new growth poles, the features of new growth poles and the opportunity that new growth poles offer us as urban and regional planners cannot be understated.

Each housing scheme was outfitted with social and economic infrastructure to anchor its beneficiaries,” President Ali said.

The Head of State also spoke of the National Development Strategy (NDS) aimed at expanding housing supply, ensuring affordable housing and improving access to housing for low-income families. The objectives of the NDS were bolstered by policies articulated in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) I & II.

Those national policies, President Ali said, were backed by significant fiscal support from the Government between 1992 and 2015. These were supplemented by an operational manual for housing that emphasised all critical dimensions of sustainable development, including social and economic development, environmental preservation, and good governance.

The President said due to the Government’s efforts, Guyana saw a reduction in rural-urban migration and the lowering of its urban footprints between 1992 and 2015, as well as accelerated development in rural areas and the attainment of several MDGs.

The virtual event was themed, ‘Urbanisation: Processes, Policies and Emerging Challenges.’

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