Minister of State in the Ministry of Water and Housing, Hon. Everald Warmington, said Tuesday (August 11) that Jamaica is grateful to be selected for the implementation of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s (UN-HABITAT) Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme(PSUP).
Mr. Warmington pointed out that under the PSUP, Governments and Local Authorities are guaranteed assistance, with the adaptation of innovative policy and advocacy programmes and capacity-building activities for improved living conditions.
“The programme also enables Governments to establish a platform to exchange views, information and experiences on policy changes and sustainable urban financing approaches. This is with the aim of bringing about improvements in our shelter conditions and access to basic urban services, while accelerating local economic development in a democratic, accountable and transparent environment,” Mr. Warmington explained.
The State Minister made the announcement at the opening of the regional training workshop on urban profiling at the Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston, Tuesday (August 11). The workshop will continue until August 14. It forms part of the first phase of the programme.
State Minister in the Ministry of Water and Housing, Hon. Everald Warmington (left) being greeted by Human Settlements Officer for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), John Hogan, when he arrived for the opening of the regional training workshop on urban profiling at the Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (August 11).
The Rapid Urban Profiling Study is currently being undertaken in three urban areas which fall under the first phase of the project- May Pen, Clarendon; Montego Bay, St. James; and Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine.
The analysis of the study will focus on the themes of governance, slums, gender and HIV/AIDS and the environment.
The PSUP was officially launched in Jamaica three months ago, and has been introduced under the auspices of UN-HABITAT and the European Commission.
Mr. Warmington, who is also President of the Governing Council, UN-HABITAT for the biennium 2009-2011, pointed out that in Jamaica there has been a steady growth in population over the past two decades, but that the provision of shelter has not kept pace.
“In addition to this, successive administrations have grappled with the issue of rapid urbanisation, driven by the high incidence of poverty, lack of employment and inadequate infrastructure and services, particularly in our rural areas,” he stated.
The State Minister noted that according to population figures in 2007, there were 2.7 million people living in Jamaica, with 53 percent living in urban areas. Additionally, there are over 750 informal settlements in the country.
State Minister in the Ministry of Water and Housing, Hon. Everald Warmington, addressing participants at the opening of the regional training workshop on urban profiling at the Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (August 11). Seated from left are: Human Settlements Officer for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), John Hogan; Co-ordinator of the UN-HABITAT’s Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), Kerstin Sommer; and Associate Training Officer at UN-HABITAT, Cynthia Radert.
“The inability to satisfy the demand for housing created by the influx of persons into our urban centres has, in turn, led to the growth of squatter settlements across Jamaica,” he added.
He said that, in that context, he was appreciative that Jamaica is one of the countries selected for the implementation of the programme.
“It is the aim of this Government to provide adequate shelter to satisfy the citizens of this country. But, in the region, we face similar problems, as we are limited by financial constraints. That is one of the reasons we are grateful to have been selected for the implementation of the PSUP,” he said.
The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme is being financed by the European Commission through its budget for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. It is supporting and co-ordinating the required first steps for a sustainable and long term approach to slum upgrading in three phases.
Phase one involves Urban Sector Profile Studies, based on the EU’s guidelines. Twelve African countries have already benefitted from the execution of this phase. Implementation is to follow in other ACP countries. Other Caribbean countries where the project will be implemented are – Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago.
In Phase 2, feasibility studies will be undertaken in priority slums identified during Phase One, aiming to address sustainable slum upgrading issues such as governance, social and economic development and environmental health.
There will be a follow-up in Phase 3, after action plans have been implemented. A total of 60 ACP countries are contributing to and participating in the project.
UN-HABITAT has the mission to make provisions for human settlements, and is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities, with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.