Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has urged the United Nations and other agencies to take the lead in ensuring that developing countries like Kenya are adequately compensated for loss and damage caused by climate change.
Speaking at a cocktail reception for delegates during the second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly at the UN Complex in Gigiri, Nairobi, Mr Gachagua said he believes this will help emerging economies to take adequate climate action measures.
“As we fight climate change, which is mainly caused by global pollution, we urge the UN and other mandated bodies to take the lead in ensuring that developing countries, especially in Africa, are adequately compensated for loss and damage,” he said.
The DP added that he hoped that discussions on issues such as universal access to affordable housing, urban climate action, urban crisis and localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will lead to concrete proposals for achieving SDG targets.
“We call for more technical and financial support from the UN and other stakeholders to implement long-term measures to restore the Nairobi rivers and other water bodies in Kenya,” he said.
He further told delegates that the meeting comes at a time when Kenyans are engaged in a vibrant debate on the provision of adequate and affordable housing.
“We believe that the provision of housing for all is key to promoting the good health, dignity, security, inclusion and social well-being of our citizens. Kenya has therefore prioritised the achievement of the affordable housing agenda,” he said.
Noting that housing is a key mandate of UN-Habitat, he asked that as deliberations continue, members should explore ways to strengthen the agency’s mandate to address housing challenges.
He added: “With an urbanisation rate of 3.4 per cent per annum, Kenya needs at least two million housing units over the next four years or so for our people to live in dignity, as currently about 50,000 housing units are being developed annually, leaving us with a deficit of about 200,000 units over the same period.”
Mr Gachagua also pointed out that of the new formal housing units being developed, only 2 per cent are targeted at people at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid, which partly explains why over 60 per cent of urban families in Kenya live in informal settlements.
He went on to say that the situation is similar in developing countries, where between 40 per cent and 75 per cent of the population, especially in cities, lives in slums or squatter settlements.
“The high cost of land, construction logistics and other factors make housing units expensive and therefore unaffordable for many. For poor and unemployed families, mortgages are not on the menu,” he said.