Stakeholders' Public Dialogue Forum on a Sustainable Urban Future
Nairobi, May 22nd, 2023 – The University of Nairobi hosted the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) 2nd stakeholders' public dialogue forum at the Manu Chandaria Auditorium, University Towers. The forum brought together leaders, government officials, experts, professionals, entrepreneurs, civil society, community groups, and students in discussions centered around the theme, "A Sustainable Urban Future through Inclusive and Effective Stakeholder Partnership: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Times of Global Crises." The stakeholders’ forum took place in preparation for the upcoming 2nd session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly, scheduled to be held in Nairobi from June 5th to June 9th, 2023.
This event marks the second time UN-Habitat has hosted a Public stakeholder forum at the University of Nairobi, with the first session taking place on May 24th, 2019. This year the participants gathered to assess the progress made since the first public dialogue and monitor the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and urban-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama, represented by Prof. Karuti Kanyinga, expressed his enthusiasm for hosting the public forums, stating, "The University is committed to supporting these public forums to encourage discourse and generate new ideas on how best to implement the New Urban Agenda” among the other university officials present at the forum were; Arch. Peter Njeru, Mrs. Catherine Warue Kariuki, and Nicky Munyaka Nzioki from the Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, Quantity Surveying- Faculty of Built Environment and Design.
Hon. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, praised the University of Nairobi for its role in hosting the urban dialogue. “I am aware that UN-Habitat and the University of Nairobi are partners in documenting the outcomes of these public urban dialogues. UN-Habitat is open to strengthening and broadening our existing collaboration, to promote urban research and generate new knowledge.” She emphasized the importance of these dialogue sessions in engaging local stakeholders and incorporating their contributions into the policy-making processes. Hon. Sharif also highlighted the significance of the United Nations Habitat Assembly as the primary legislative body for urban issues and human settlements within the UN system.
Athman Said, the Housing Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, reiterated the government's commitment to accelerating the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. He emphasized the government's efforts in achieving universal access to adequate housing and their dedication to realizing the right to decent and adequate housing, as outlined in Article 43 of the Constitution.
Amb. Jean Kimani, Kenya's Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat, reaffirmed Kenya's commitment to the UN-Habitat Agenda. She stressed the importance of the dialogue in fostering discussions on sustainable urbanization and human settlements.
The public dialogue featured a high-level panel discussion on the role of stakeholders in accelerating the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The panelists included Arch Florence Nyole, President of the Architectural Association of Kenya; Bastian Schulz, Country Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung; Antony Okoth, Country Director of Habitat for Humanity; and Hon. Maina Korobia Mwangi, Member of Parliament, East Africa Legislative Assembly. Following the panel discussion, a citizen's panel moderated by Dr. Mbathi Musyimi allowed participants to share their views and experiences.
The stakeholders' forum was made possible through collaboration among various entities, including the National Habitat Committee, Civil Society Urban Development Platform (CSUDP), University of Nairobi, Kenya Alliance of Residents Association (KARA), Habitat for Humanity, SDGs Kenya Forum, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Government of Kenya, and UN-Habitat.