Botswana, Nairobi: Botswana government is committed to ensuring its citizens live in habitable smart cities and environmentally viable sustainable rural dwellings, in line with the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
These were the sentiments expressed by Vice President Slumber Tsogwane while making an address to the Second Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday.
Vice President Tsogwane said the government was committed to the transformation of cities and human settlements into inclusive, connected and prosperous communities through the provision of infrastructure, including energy, health facilities, transport, water and sanitation, something he said requires proper planning, governance and financial arrangements.
He told the assembly that the theme, “A Sustainable Urban Future Through Inclusive and Effective Multilateralism,” and sub-theme “, Achieving SDGs In Times Of Global Crises,” were aptly given that the world was grappling with an environmental crisis while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President Tsogwane said there was a need to develop global solidarity for states and multilateral institutions to work on improving the conditions of cities and urban human settlements, where people are highly concentrated.
In addition, Tsogwane pleaded with the global community that it could not be business as usual, as the world needed to mitigate challenges brought about by rural to urban migration triggered by issues such as climate change and financial challenges.
He noted that Africa had experienced rapid urbanization, with half of the continent’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2030, an urban transition he said offers challenges and opportunities, stressing the need for governments and communities to work together to ensure resilient human settlements.
The Vice President further thanked Kenyan President William Ruto, who had extended the invite to President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to attend the event in Nairobi, indicative of the two countries’ cordial relations and Botswana’s position in the multilateral diplomatic field.
Vice President Tsogwane conveyed to the assembly that President Masisi had a family bereavement, with the untimely death of his mother this past Saturday, and as such was unable to attend the event, but had sent a delegation led by the Vice President to represent the country in his stead.