Botswana has kick-started its implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA), a 20-year plan of action on housing and sustainable urban development.
With this plan, the government will be paying extra attention on ensuring that Batswana are adequately housed.
According to the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Nonofo Molefhi the NUA is an urbanisation action blueprint of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat) and its partners in support of the 2030 agenda on sustainable development especially the Urban Sustainable Development Goal.
He said the adoption of the NUA in October at the third United Nations (UN) conference on housing and sustainable urban development (Habitat III), calls on nations to build cities and human settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
“Botswana also participated at this conference and it was at this same conference that we also, as a country, committed to the implementation of this action plan that addresses the unfinished business of the second UN conference on human settlements’ habitat agenda,” Molefhi said.
He said the National Policy on Housing (NPH) seeks to ensure that all Batswana are adequately housed as well as placing more emphasis on channelling government resources on the low income and vulnerable groups to ensure no one is left behind in access to housing.
Botswana’s deputy high commissioner to Kenya, Ntesang Molemele said to ensure awareness on the NUA, rigorous awareness and publicity would be done as per the NUA publicity plan.
“At national level, the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development which is the focal point on housing and human settlements will lead awareness and sensitisation on
The National Habitat Committee will coordinate implementation and reporting on the NUA in Botswana. At local level, the District Development Committee or Uban Development Committee will coordinate implementation. Meanwhile, a draft NUA communication strategy said the NUA provides an opportunity for Botswana to embrace and manage urbanisation and achieve the SDG 11, which calls for “making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
The strategy also urges government to increase its political will to implement integrated strategies for sustainable urban development.
In addition, it says the government needs to review national policies and implementation strategies in close collaboration with local authorities and urban actors for sustainable development.
It further called for the institutionalisation of partnerships and empowerment of key urban actors including local authorities, civil society, property developers, research centres, and the private sector to contribute to sustainable development.
“Enable local authorities to be effective agents of development through decentralisation and improved local governance including fiscal management and ensure effective and broad participation in human settlement planning to ensure inclusion in decision making and programme design,” it says.
The strategy suggests that cities and communities need to take advantage of the transformative potential of well-planned and managed human settlements as a driver for sustainable development. It says the NUA requires collaboration between communities and decision makers at local, national and regional levels, as well as local physical implementation.