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Embu, Kenya, 3 Oct 12

Sounds and faces of joy as the Embu residents join in celebrating the World Habitat Day in Embu, Kenya 2012 © UN-Habitat / Julius Mwelu

Traditional dances, songs by a local a choir as well as a march past by a Kenya's National Youth Service Band marked the international celebrations of this year's World Habitat Day that were marked in Embu town, some 110 kilometers to the east of the capital Nairobi.

In a message read on his behalf by the Director of UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Africa Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher , the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said good practices of managing urban development existed in all regions.

"But we are a long way from turning the ideal of sustainable inclusive cities into reality. Urban areas are responsible for most of our waste and pollution…and while we have achieved the Millennium development Goal target of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers in 10 years in advance of the 2020 deadline, absolute numbers continue to grow," he said.

The Secretary General said that with predictions showing that at least 60 percent of al urban dwellers will be under the age of 18, it was essential that those young people have access to decent employment and quality education.

In his message, UN-Habitat executive Director Dr. Joan Clos said UN-Habitat chose the theme "Changing Cities, Building Opportunities" for this year's event because cities are the engines of growth. "It is in the cities that million realise their dreams of a better life. Even if they fail, cities still attract thousands more seeking the same goal. Some achieve this by either getting jobs or by starting businesses which benefits employers and employees thus creating jobs, "he said.

In a message read by his assistant Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Kenya's Housing Minister Soita Shitanda said the theme of this year's celebrations was important as his country was embarking on devolving government functions to the county level. "It therefore accords us an opportunity to the city and urban area managers to reflect on how to make our urban areas livable in a sustainable manner," he said.
Kenya's deputy Permanent Representative to Un-Habitat Ms. Wanja Michuki said that Kenya expected half of her population to live in cities by 2050. "For this reason, the development and management of cities affects national prosperity and the wellbeing of all Kenyans, no matter where they live," she said.

On his part the Embu Mayor Peter Muriithi Nyaga promised to be in the forefront of ensuring that the residents' rights are respected, in line with the country's constitution.

Traditional dances, songs by a local a choir as well as a march past by a Kenya's National Youth Service Band marked the international celebrations of this year's World Habitat Day that were marked in Embu town, some 110 kilometers to the east of the capital Nairobi.

In a message read on his behalf by the Director of UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Africa Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher , the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said good practices of managing urban development existed in all regions.

"But we are a long way from turning the ideal of sustainable inclusive cities into reality. Urban areas are responsible for most of our waste and pollution…and while we have achieved the Millennium development Goal target of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers in 10 years in advance of the 2020 deadline, absolute numbers continue to grow," he said.

The Secretary General said that with predictions showing that at least 60 percent of al urban dwellers will be under the age of 18, it was essential that those young people have access to decent employment and quality education.

In his message, UN-Habitat executive Director Dr. Joan Clos said UN-Habitat chose the theme "Changing Cities, Building Opportunities" for this year's event because cities are the engines of growth. "It is in the cities that million realise their dreams of a better life. Even if they fail, cities still attract thousands more seeking the same goal. Some achieve this by either getting jobs or by starting businesses which benefits employers and employees thus creating jobs, "he said.

In a message read by his assistant Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Kenya's Housing Minister Soita Shitanda said the theme of this year's celebrations was important as his country was embarking on devolving government functions to the county level. "It therefore accords us an opportunity to the city and urban area managers to reflect on how to make our urban areas livable in a sustainable manner," he said.
Kenya's deputy Permanent Representative to Un-Habitat Ms. Wanja Michuki said that Kenya expected half of her population to live in cities by 2050. "For this reason, the development and management of cities affects national prosperity and the wellbeing of all Kenyans, no matter where they live," she said.

On his part the Embu Mayor Peter Muriithi Nyaga promised to be in the forefront of ensuring that the residents' rights are respected, in line with the country's constitution.

 
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