Ruto drums up support for affordable housing at UN Habitat Assembly

President William Ruto with UN top executives during the Second Session of UN-Habitat Assembly at Gigiri. [PCS]

He said urban centres have always held the most intense concentrations of both the best and the worst human possibilities of wealth and poverty, well-being and suffering, dignity and misery.

As a result, they are also the theatres of the starkest inequalities in human opportunities and outcomes.

"The explosion in global populations as well as urbanisation, has immense implications for global production and consumption, with humanity poised firmly between trends and practices likely to overwhelm the planet's capacity to support life on one end, and clean, green, efficient and abundant sustainability on the other end," Ruto said.

According to him, in addition to measures under the urban resilience programme, his government is restoring degraded landscapes and ecosystems through a robust programme, which includes increasing Kenya's tree cover from 12.13 per cent currently, to 30 per cent by planting 15 billion trees over the next 10 years.

"Our capacity to coherently pursue these vital objectives has been significantly bolstered by the government's policy to mainstream sustainable development goals generally, and more pertinently, number 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and number 13 on climate action, into national development planning and implementation," he said.

Participants follow proceedings during the Second Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly in Gigiri. [PCS]

Ruto said sufficient and affordable financing impediment remains a key barrier to our aspirations for sustainable urbanization and climate action.

He said as a result, many African countries are unable to effectively pursue all the opportunities in sustainable urbanization and leverage them to promote the broader agenda of economic transformation, climate action and sustainable development.

"Our discussions must therefore pay due attention to the fact that the prevalent unjustness of the international financial architecture, and the discriminatory practices inherent in development financing, are iniquitous insofar as they, directly and indirectly, exacerbate the vulnerability of the majority of humanity," he said.

Ruto further said it is time therefore to correct systemic injustice to enable countries to effectively mobilise multilateralism to achieve global net-zero emissions, avert a climate catastrophe and achieve sustainable development goals.