by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – St. Kitts and Nevis, along with the international community, observed World Habitat Day (WHD) facilitated through UN-Habitat, a venture that supports matters of Urban Development, on October 03.
Urban Development is the social, cultural, economic and physical development of cities, and according to Dr Joyelle Clark, Minister of Sustainable Development; Environment and Climate Action with responsibility for Urban Development, through Urban Development, the creation of jobs is possible, which would lead to improved livelihoods, economic growth, increased social inclusion, the promotion of advanced living standards and reduce rural and urban poverty.
World Habitat Day 2022 is being commemorated under the global theme “Mind the Gap. Leave No One and Place Behind.”
According to United Nations, World Habitat Day 2022 draws attention to the growing inequalities and vulnerabilities exacerbated by the triple ‘C’ crises – COVID-19, climate and conflict.
“The pandemic and recent conflicts have reversed years of progress made in the fight against poverty. Therefore, tackling urban poverty and inequality has become an urgent priority. Governments play a front-line role in responding to crises and emergencies as well as in planning for an inclusive, resilient, and green future. To prepare urban areas for future catastrophes, we need to start with our cities. Thus, action and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals are more important than ever.”
The Minister indicated that the Urban Development Unit had designed policies and projects that act as a road map to develop the Federation’s Urban spaces, Basseterre, Sandy Point, Canyon and Charlestown.
The government has to rethink how the country plans, manages and lives in urban centres.
Dr Clarke outlined seven principles for improving Urban Development in the country:
“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, through the Urban Development Unit, is Committed to seven principles;
providing basic services for all citizens, including housing, water, sanitation, and health care;
Ensuring that all citizens have access to equal opportunities and face no discrimination;
Promote measures that support a cleaner St. Kitts and Nevis;
Strengthen resilience in cities to reduce the risk and impact of disasters.
Fully respect the rights of migrants. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has recognised that migration poses challenges, but it also brings significant contributions to urban life. We appreciate the Latino, Jamaican, Haitian and Guyanese communities, especially those well-established right here in Basseterre;
Improve connectivity and support innovative and green initiatives;
Promote safe, accessible and green public spaces. In other words, human interaction should be facilitated by urban planning, which is why Urban Development calls for an increase in public spaces such as sidewalks, gardens, squares and parks. Independence Square is an ideal example of a green space, and the Urban Development Unit, along with other partners, will commit to managing and maintaining this important heritage site.”
The Federation will commemorate World Habitat Day with Urban Development weeks – a week of activities geared toward improving Urban Development from Oct 2-7 which includes Clean-up campaigns at adopted spaces in an Urban centre, media appearances, a professional career day with secondary school students and the week ending with a demonstration project at the Independence Square.
See Minister Clarke’s full address here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFfMahQOFaI