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Antananarivo, 3 Apr 13

© Daniel Biau

The Government of Madagascar with the support from UNDP and UN-Habitat organized the first National Urban forum from 27-28 March with the theme:  "Building together the future of our cities" following extensive consultations at local and regional levels from 27 February to 26 March 2013.

The Forum was opened on by the Vice Prime Minister in charge of Development and Territorial Planning Mr. Hajo Andrianainarivelo. In his speech the Vice Prime Minister he highlighted the urbanization challenges facing Madagascar: urban population growth, lack of planning, urban sprawl, lack of access to adequate housing and basic services.  He highlighted the need for a national urban policy to address these challenges

Joseph Guiebo, Senior Human Settlement Officer, Regional Office for Africa, on behalf of UN-Habitat also addressed the meeting with a message highlighting the importance of urbanization as the engine of growth and the need for better urban planning. He also highlighted the good relationship with the government of Madagascar and the technical support provided by UN-Habitat over the past 15 years. He praised he government for organizing this first national urban forum and calls for an active preparation for Habitat III to take place in 2016

© Daniel Biau

The forum was attended by about 700 participants from central government, municipalities, private sector, academia, civil society and development partners. Participants deliberated during plenary sessions as well as in working groups following presentations done by national and international experts on issues related to urbanization challenges and Policies in Africa; access to urban basic services, urban mobility, competitive and innovative cities; urban governance and decentralization; country experiences from Morocco and France on urban policies and territorial planning etc..

The forum adopted the declaration with sound recommendations to consider urban sector as a national priority and call  for better urban planning and management and the need for active participation of local authorities, the private sector and civil society. The participants also recommended the organization of further urban forum towards the preparation of HABITAT III.

In his closing remarks, the Vice Prime Minister praised UN-Habitat and specially thanked the Habitat Programme Manager and the UN-Habitat team in Madagascar for the valuable support provided to the Government to face urban challenges.

Mr. Andrianainarivelo will be reporting the outcomes of the Forum to the AMCHUD special session on 14 April and to the GC 24 what other countries can learn from Madagascar and create national urban forums towards HABITAT III.

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