The Government is reviewing the National Urban Policy to include a new urban agenda as a system with clear responsibilities and roles, Dr Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, the Director-General, of the National Development Planning Commssion (NDPC), has said.
“Cities do not work in isolation; they are related to each other but possess unique and economic potentials. They have critical roles and responsibilities that when consciously developed will propel growth,” he stated.
Dr Mensah-Abrampa said this when he launched the, “Report on the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) in Ghana”, at the commemoration of 2022 World Habitat Day in Accra.
The Day seeks to draw attention to the growing inequalities and vulnerabilities that have been exacerbated by the triple ‘C’ crises — COVID-19, Climate and Conflict.
Under the theme: ”Mind the Gap. Leave No One and Place Behind”, the Day also looks at the problem of growing inequality and challenges in cities and human settlements.
The NUA framework reflects the importance of urban planning, especially during a time of high levels of urbanisation and urban sprawl as well as provides a comprehensive perspective of the requirements for ensuring the development of urban areas.
Dr Mensah-Abrampa said urban markets across the country that served countries in the subregion were not functioning well due to issues of filth and lack of logistics.
The NDPC Director said the development of the market centres, which served as an exchange of goods and services, could increase revenue generation, create jobs, reduce inequality and urban migration.
Giving the highlights of the reports, he said access to basic and safely managed drinking water services had improved over time and that nine in ten households had access to improved sources of drinking water.
Dr Mensah-Abrampa said the report, which used 45 indicators covering NUA, showed that open defecation had declined by 2.3 per centage points to 17.7 per cent in 2021.
He said the report recommend that interventions for the creation of jobs such as the “One District One Factory” must be scaled up and start-up capitals provided to youth with entrepreneurial skills to reduce unemployment, especially in the urban areas.
He said the report urged the Government to intensify the implementation of affordable housing schemes to improve access to low to middle-income earners.
“There is need to establish a multi-hazard monitoring and forecasting system to reduce the impact of natural and human-made disasters. Government should enhance the provision of real-time surveillance systems to improve road safety and security,” the report recommended.
Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said the update of the policy would lead to the adoption of inclusive policies, with clear policy objectives for implementation.
He said cities were centres for economic growth and development even though they faced demographic, environmental, economic, and social challenges.
“It is time to equip actors with the capabilities and tools to address the growing global challenge posed by urbanisation,” he said.
Mr Amoah, who is the Member of Parliament for Akwapim South Constituency in the Eastern Region, said the growing inequalities and vulnerabilities in society had been exacerbated by the triple ‘C’ crises.
He said the triple ‘C’ had reversed years of progress made in the fight against urban poverty.