The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, has said the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, renewed its commitment to partner the government of Ghana in attaining sustainable urbanisation and improving climate change adaptation.
The minister disclosed this when he met the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, at the ongoing World Urban Forum (WUF11) in Katowice, Poland, held under the theme "Transforming Our Cities for a Better Urban Future."
As part of the engagement, the two leaders explored, among others, possible collaborations geared towards addressing both national and global issues.
These, Mr Asenso-Boakye said, included climate change adaptation, rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities and economies, as well as the provision of sustainable human settlements aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 11, that is, "To make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable".
Mr Asenso-Boakye re-echoed the need to prioritise affordable housing, not only to address housing shortage for a larger segment of cities, but also to ensure that cities were planned and built in a more sustainable and inclusive manner, which was in line with the theme for this year's World Urban Forum.
He noted that Ghana had currently developed a framework that sought to provide housing in a more organised and sustainable manner to address housing challenges facing the country.
"To achieve this, I believe there is the need to create a robust institutional framework to develop and implement Affordable Housing Programmes across the country, hence our decision to establish a Ghana Housing Authority," he said.
The Minister stated that "the National Housing Authority (NHA) will not only serve as a regulator in the sector, but also plan, develop, and manage housing development in Ghana.
"As a Ministry, we have resolved to lead the process to engage key stakeholders within the sector to set up the NHA and also find ingenious ways of creating the enabling environment, especially for the private sector to lead in the provision of safe, decent affordable housing, especially for the low-to-medium earning Ghanaian."
Mr Asenso-Boakye, who led Ghana's delegation to this year's event in the Polish city of Katowice, was also expected to take part in a Ministerial Roundtable as part of the global event.
Ms Sharif congratulated Ghana for being part of the few countries that have prepared and submitted their report on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, and expressed the need to prioritise affordable housing in cities, since it was linked to the provision of basic and essential services such as water, sanitation and public health.
"The provision of affordable housing is one of the surest ways to ensure that cities are planned and developed in a more sustainable manner, which ultimately impact on a larger segment of the society," the UN-Habitat boss said.
She lauded plans by Ghanaian authorities to institute a national urban forum, a platform to engage local stakeholders across various levels, to investigate opportunities to strengthen cities' resilience and deepen the understanding of the relationship between national urban policies and contemporary crises.
Ms Sharif urged the government of Ghana to provide a platform for high-level discussion on the potential of national urban policies to address challenges in the fields of environment, housing, mobility, spatial planning and innovation and technology.