From Housing for all to Habitat…A prelude to Surabaya and Quito. ( this is the last part in the series.Part one and two has appeared earlier).
In the previous two posts we have talked about Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs) that were replaced by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 which will continue to be the guiding poles for issues related to housing, Habitat, education, health, gender equality, climate change and many other relevant issues. ( Samanvaya.( https://www.facebook.com/samanvayain/ )
Starting tomorrow i.e The Preperatory Commiittee will be held in Surabaya Indonesia (http://prepcom3surabaya2016.id/home/) to discuss issues related to Habitat III, to discuss a zero draft that was prepared and was further refined as the New Urban Agenda. The final version of the draft will be tabled in Quito during the Habitat III conference from 17th October 2016.(http://unhabitat.org/about-us/un-habitat-at-a-glance/.
The focus in Surabaya will be to discuss various SDGs and to evolve a broad consensus on various issues for final acceptance at Quito. India will be represented by the ministry of Housing Urban and Poverty Alleviation ( HuPA) under the able leadership of Venkaiah Naidu. All the member countries will present their points towards Habitat and SDG issues. It is necessary that the report presented by India takes into account country specific issues that can be addressed at Surabaya during the preparatory conference. SDG 11 specifically deals with Urban housing issues and is likely to steal the limelight.
In the words of Dr. Joan Clos, Secretary-General of Habitat III, “the Conference is a unique opportunity for rethinking the Urban Agenda in which governments can respond by promoting a new model of urban development able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare and shared prosperity.”
The task of submitting the country specific report rests with HuPA which should have been prepared by now. . Since the issue concerns all it requires that multiple round of discussions involving a larger cross section of not only experts but select representative from other but relevant stake holders like Builders, Municipal corporations, MPs etc be held regularly,
Besides considering higher goals one must also consider and make policies that suits local conditions and also culture. The task is indeed comprehensive and may take years to evolve. Nonetheless a start has been made and in the next few months a more expansive holistic report can be prepared.
The round table meet discussed issues related to cultural identity, resilient cities ( Disaster management) , peri-urban issues, Heritage preservation, inclusiveness etc.
Because of the enormous task that are associated with housing and Habitat it is an uphill task to prepare an appropriate report for UN as well as native consumption. The implementation issues also pose major challenges.
The Hon’ble President of India, in his address to the Joint Session of Parliament on 9th June, 2014 had announced “By the time the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence, every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24×7 electricity supply and access.”
Hon’ble Prime Minister envisioned Housing for All by 2022 when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence. In order to achieve this objective, Central Government has launched a comprehensive mission “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Housing for All (Urban)” ( (http://mhupa.gov.in/writereaddata/HFA_guidelines_March2016-English.pdf)
The mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals: • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.
Considering the scope and magnitude of these two issues namely Housing and Habitat that involves sustainable development goals to be achieved it is mandatory on all stake holders to come forward and contribute in terms of ideas, opinions, discussions, debates and execution at every level. Only than we shall be able to improve living conditions for the population. Unfortunately a recent study has placed India quite low to achieve these sustainable goals (
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-ranks-110th-on-sustainable-development-index/articleshow/53332238.cms) . But with dedicated and concerted efforts nothing is impossible.