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Seminar on pro poor housing, water and sanitation services held in Kathmandu

Posted 19 October, 05:40 pm

On the occasion of World Habitat Day 2009 UN HABITAT Nepal with cooperation of LUMANTI Support Group for Shelter, NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation, Municipal Association of Nepal, Habitat for Humanity, WaterAid Nepal and Freshwater Action Network (FAN) Nepal organized a seminar in Kathmandu on pro poor housing, water and sanitation services on 13 October, 2009. The day had been celebrated worldwide this year with a common theme “Planning for a better urban future”.

The local government, civil society organizations and local community in six cities including Biratnagar, Bharatpur, Birgunj, Hetauda, Itahari and Kalaiya are working together to plan and taking actions to make these cities a better place to live for all and particularly the poor. This seminar had been held to share successful experiences of these cities in housing the poor and improving access to basic facilities such as water and sanitation, with policy makers and other stakeholders so that lessons learnt would pave the path towards planning for a better urban future.

Addressing the inauguration programme, Assistant Minister for the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works Kalawati Devi Pasawan requested all the stakeholders to keep poor and backwarded groups in prime consideration while implementing their shelter programme activities. She assured that the government of Nepal and political parties will provide support to the activities initiated to provide shelter to target groups.

Director General of Department of Urban Development and Building Construction Indra Bahadur Shrestha informed that the government will re-establish the squatters by providing them an alternative shelters. According to him, the process has already been initiated in Siraha, Saptari and Kapilvastu districts. He further added that the government has allocated a separate budget for this purpose.

Prafulla Man Pradhan, Programme Manager of UN HABITAT Nepal, believed that poor management of water and sanitation, and increasing environmental pollution is the drawback of unmanaged urban growth in Nepal. In his opinion, unplanned urbanization is the root cause of increasing crime and corruption in these cities.

Chief Technical Advisor for South Asia Region, UN HABITAT Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha said that urban environmental pollution is a major factor contributing climate change, which is caused by uncontrolled and unmanaged urban development.

Karuna Paul, Country Director of Habitat for Humanity requested all stakeholders to implement shelter development activities in squatter and slum communities. Research and Advocacy Manager of WaterAid Nepal, Rabin Lal Shrestha told that the lessons learnt from experiences and challenges in big cities should be taken into consideration while planning for further urban development. At the programme, Executive Director of LUMANTI, Lajana Manandhar; Anil Sthapit of NGO Forum and Rajendra Aryal of FAN Nepal had also shared their opinion in regard of housing for urban poor.