Mr. Vice Chancellor, Honourable Ministers and Parliamentarians, Members of the Diplomatic Community, Your Worship the Mayor, Representatives of the Civil Society and the Private Sector, my friends and colleagues from the University and members of my family,
I cannot tell you how deeply touched I am by this gathering of all my old friends which has been organised by my boss and friend Professor Mathew Luhanga, Vice Chancellor and all my professional colleagues from the University and the students as well.
I am honoured to be here but, quite honestly, this honour must be shared because I would not be here without the support of so many people. So I would like to begin by thanking the Government of Tanzania for supporting my candidacy and in particular for their constant support for the Habitat Agenda. Whether at the General Assembly or here in Dar es Salaam, the government has always been supportive of UN-HABITATs efforts. And I would like to thank all my old friends and colleagues from Civil Society, especially the women's groups, from whom I have learnt so much.
I would like also to thank all the members of the UN, in particular, UNDP, and the rest of the diplomatic and international community for their support of UN-HABITAT. In particular, I am grateful that, two years ago, Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General chose me to be Executive Director of UN-HABITAT at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. Most recently, I was honoured when he nominated me again for the position of Under-Secretary-General. Mr. Kofi Annan has always been supportive of the Habitat Agenda and has been instrumental in it being upgraded from a Centre to a full Programme.
Finally, I would like to thank members of my own family, especially my children who have supported me through all my professional and our personal struggles. Without their commitment and sacrifices, I would not be here today.
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, the upgrading of UN-HABITAT, and indeed my own position, is a reflection of how seriously the UN takes the problems of urbanisation. In fact, the millennium development goals are very clear. World leaders, including His Excellency President Mkapa, have not only committed themselves to reducing poverty by half by 2020, but have also committed themselves to cities without slums, more specifically to improving the conditions of 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2015.
The rationale behind these commitments is that the world, and especially the developing world, is going through a major transformation. Whereas Europe, North America and Latin America's urban population has stabilised at about 75%, Africa and Asia will see a major demographic shift. Africa which is urbanising faster than any other continent, is already more urbanised than Asia. This has a number of reasons including the failure of rural development and the regional conflicts on the continent.
The result is that in the developing world, everyday 180,000 people are added to the population of cities and few city authorities in the developing world are equipped to handle this kind of influx. Most of the city councils do not have the resources to provide shelter and basic services like water. So in many cities, between 50-70% of the population live in spontaneous settlements without basic services. It is estimated that there are about 1 billion poor people living without adequate shelter and basic services in the slums and squatter settlements in the world. This is a tragedy of major proportions.
This is exactly why the international community has committed itself to the Habitat Agenda and why UN-HABITAT was upgraded. The world at large and the Group of 77 in particular are aware that overcoming the problems of rapid urbanisation is one of the major challenges of the 21st Century. For those of us who despair and think that we will never live in cities without slums, let me remind everyone that, though they still have urban ghettos, the cities of Europe and the United States were all once surrounded by the most appalling slums and tenements. The living conditions in these cities were improved through a very complex package of innovative management policies. This is exactly why UN-HABITAT exists, to help city authorities to improve the management of their cities and towns. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, we at UN-HABITAT believe that together we can improve the living conditions in our cities and make them sustainable. In fact, Dar es Salaam is an excellent example of a sustainable city.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here not just to celebrate my election as Under-Secretary-General but also to honour another citizen of Dar es Salaam who has been instrumental in turning around the city of Dar es Salaam. The work of transforming any city is complicated and requires exceptional leadership qualities to set up a team to develop complex institutional arrangements.
The person who met the challenge of transforming Dar es Salaam was Honourable, Charles Keenja, now the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, who was Chairman of the then Dar es Salaam City Commission from 5 July 1996 to 31 January 2000. Today he is being awarded the Scroll of Honour. This award is the highest recognition given by the international community and it is being awarded to Honourable Keenja for his work in transforming Dar es Salaam city.
Under the leadership of Hon. Charles Keenja, the City Commission collaborated with UN-HABITAT on the Sustainable Dar es Salaam Project. This began with a series of stakeholder consultations in 1992 that prioritized what needed to be done. I believe that the top priority was solid waste management and the upgrading of unplanned settlements. A solid waste management system was soon established that was based on partnership between the private sector and local communities. At the same time, unplanned settlements such as Hananasif were upgraded through a process of partnership and community development.
During the years of Hon. Keenja's tenure, the Sustainable Cities Project expanded to include the establishment of the four municipal authorities - the City of Dar es Salaam and the Municipalities of Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke. Hon. Keenja's serious approach to work, responsibility and accountability saw the City increase its revenue eight times in a space of two year from TSHs. 900 Million in 1996 to TSHs. 7.4 Billion in 1998. The Strategic Urban Development Plan (SUDP) which is guiding the development of the City was also prepared during Hon. Keenja's tenure of office.
The Dar es Salaam Safer Cities Programme was also launched during his term of office. This programme has changed the social life in the city and made Dar es Salaam one of the safest urban areas in Tanzania and Africa. Earlier this week, I visited the SunguSungu groups and heard from the community how their areas are now much safer. In Tabata, the community assured me that they no longer feel threatened by thugs; their houses and possessions are not only safe but their young people also have some form of employment. This project has been made possible with funds from the Governments of Sweden, for which we are grateful.
Finally, it is due to the success of the SDP project under the leadership of Hon. Keenja that the programme is now being replicated in the city of Mwanza and 9 municipalities across Tanzania. This ensures that the smaller towns in Tanzania will also improve their management. In fact, I may also go so far as to say that the launch of many of the initiatives tonight would not have been possible without the very solid foundation built between the then City Commission and UN-HABITAT.
So before I hand over the scroll of honour, I would like to say a few words about the Water for African Cities Programme for Dar es Salaam and the Institutional Capacity Building Programme for which we are signing letters of collaboration today.
Briefly, as most of us are aware, most African cities are unable to provide water for all their citizens. The poor often pay up to 20 times more than the rich for water; what is worse is that in many cities in Africa over 50% of the water is being wasted or is unaccounted for. This is why, UN-HABITAT established the programme Managing for African Cities in the cities of Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lusaka and Nairobi .
The aim of this programme is to help local authorities to improve their capacity to manage the delivery of water. With greater efficiency, it is then possible to expand the coverage to meet the needs of the urban poor. All over Africa, the project has involved the training of municipal officials, technological improvements and public awareness campaigns to reduce wastage and public awareness campaigns. There are 8 cities which are now part of the network of cities participating in this project and tonight we will sign a letter of intent with the Ministry of Water and Livestock development making Dar es Salaam the ninth city in this project .
At the same time, we are signing a letter of collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam's College of Lands and Architectural Studies to collaborate with UN-HABITAT on Institution Capacity Building. Since the inception of the original Sustainable Dar es Salaam Programme and its successive national replication, UCLAS has been involved in varying capacities and has provided technical assistance to the core teams in government ministries and the municipalities . In fact UCLAS has included in its curriculum, a course on environmental planning management. Therefore, we are proud to announce that UCLAS will work on the regionalisation of the programme and provide training and capacity building for the many new officials from local authorities that wish to replicate the successes of this city.
Ladies and gentlemen, the success of Dar is there for all to see. However there is still much to be done. If the human settlements' environment in this town and in the other parts of the country are to improve, there is much work to be done. If the problems of slums and squatter settlements are to be resolved then we are ready to work with you on designing comprehensive city development strategies. UN-HABITAT is now working with the city of Dar es Salaam to present projects for slum upgrading to the Cities Alliance, a joint UN-HABITAT and World Bank Initiative.
At the same time, in order to improve the housing market, UN-HABITAT is working with the Ministry of Lands and Human Settlements Development and the Treasury to establish a task force on the Establishment of Effective Housing Finance Mechanisms in Tanzania. It is very worrying that there are few sustainable housing finance mechanisms in the countries of Africa. To the best of my knowledge, there have been none in Tanzania since the Tanzanian Housing Corporation collapsed.
These are some of the ways in which I hope UN-HABITAT can participate in the development of Dar es Salaam and Tanzania. Already this city is a best practice that attracts Mayors from all over the region. Recently, UN-HABITAT organised an exchange visit between the city council of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. The Mayor of Nairobi came to see the development under the SCP programme and the Safer Cities Programme. And I hope that more and more people will come to visit this haven of peace. Which brings me round to the person who made much of this possible. In other words, let me now come to the main point of the evening, the presentation of the Scroll of Honour to Honourable Charles Keenja.
Honourable Minister, it gives me great pleasure to thank you and the team that worked with you for your excellent work and your constant support in implementing the Habitat Agenda. I am honoured to present you with the Habitat Scroll of Honour Award. Thank you.
We will now sign the Letter of Collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Livestock Development. Mr. Mahiza, the Permanent Secretary, will sign on behalf of the Ministry.
We will now sign the Letter of Collaboration with the University College of Lands and Architectural Studies. Professor Kironda will sign on behalf of the University.