Saturday, December 16, 2006

Kalam tells nations to focus on rural development

Razen Manandhar
New Delhi, December 15 :

President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam today urged ministers and experts on housing development from 35 countries to stress on the development of rural areas, if they want to make their countries free from urban poverty.
“If you want to reduce pressure on urban areas bring more support and development in rural areas,” he said. President Kalam was addressing the inaugural session of the first Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Human Settlements today. Minister of state for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation of India Kumari Selja said that the countries must accept “inclusion” of the poor as part of core policy in all urban programmes. She said that the secretarial meeting held during the last two days has focused on four major themes — pro-poor urban governance and planning, slum upgrading, delivery of Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation and financing sustainable urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific.
Anna Kajumlo Tibaijuka, the under-general -secretary of UN and executive director of the UN-HABITAT assured that the new UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is ready to offer the Asia-Pacific region all support in the field of water and sanitation.
“We are now at a significant turning point in history. The year 2007 will be the year in which for the first time, half of human population will be living in towns and cities. It makes the beginning of a new urban area,” she said.

MoU signed

NEW DELHI: A memorandum of understanding between the government of Nepal and UN-HABITAT was signed on Friday. Kishore Thapa, the director general of Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, and Dr Anna Kajunmulo Tibaijuka, the under-secretary-general of UN and executive director of UN-HABITAT, signed the document, which will provide a grant of $2.5 million till the end of 2010. The money will be spent on development of infrastructure. Also present were Minister of Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha and the advisor to UN-HABITAT Nepal Office Dr Ros-han Raj Shrestha. — HNS