POPULATION growth and rural-urban migration are challenges which governments worldwide must address through proper planning and management of cities as global estimates show that 50 per cent of the population will constituteurban dwellers by the year 2030.
In Tanzania, the number of people living in urban areas increased from just 2.2 million people in 1978 to 13.3 million people as per the population census of 2012, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Dr Moses Kusiluka, has explained.
"It is necessary therefore to have in place sustainable urban development plans; development of cities is closely associated with population growth," Dr Kusiluka stated, in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Urban and Rural Planning in the ministry, Prof John Lupala.
The remarks were made during a two-day land's stakeholders meeting held in Dar es Salaam yesterday ahead of the Ninth Edition of The World Urban Forum to be organized by UN-HABITAT in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next month.
It will be held under the theme 'Cities 2030 - Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda'. The New Urban Agenda was adopted in October 2016 at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development - Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador.
Dr Kusikula explained further that the local meeting being held at Karimjee Hall in the city sought to draw views from stakeholders in the land sector to prepare a national agenda to be presented at the global meeting in Malaysia.
"The World Urban Forum is a result of a unique consensus among all participating states. It sets out a common vision and global standards for urban development in the coming decades. "The agenda comes at a critical moment, when the first time in history over half of the world's population will be residing in urban areas. Cities, if planned and managed well, will become the main tool for sustainable development," he stated.
Dr Kusiluka explained that global estimates indicate that 600 urban centres across the world will contribute 60 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to their respective countries.
A representative from people living in unplanned settlements, Ms Hadija Nkingi, expressed concerns that their group was always left out when the government was undertaking planning of urban areas.
"People live in unplanned settlements not because they wish so but because they cannot afford to acquire land in surveyed and planed areas. It is high time our group was involved if the cities are to become sustainable," she stated.
An official from Temeke Municipality in Dar es Salaam, Ms Veronica Igogo, cited financial constraints as a drawback against proper land use planning in local government authorities, noting that most local authorities had strategies for planning and managing their areas but were impeded by lack of funds.