December 2, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
The Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment last Friday validated the Habitat III National Report which provides benchmarks for the current state of urbanisation and human settlement in Sierra Leone.
The report provides a unique opportunity to establish a new urban agenda, which addresses the emerging challenges of rapid urbanisation in the 21st century, with the expressed goal of achieving sustainable and equitable human settlements and urban development.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Nancy Tengbeh, in her keynote address underscored the importance of shelter as a basic necessity of life, adding that the UN Habitat had contributed to the development of shelter.
She said the validation of the report served as a milestone in not only the housing and land sectors, but would grease the engine of infrastructural development.
Ms. Tengbeh expressed the ministry’s gratitude to UN Habitat, other partners and stakeholders and highlighted some of the accomplished projects of the ministry.
She said the ministry has initiated action in the area of capacity building by establishing more offices in the provinces to decentralise their activities.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the State Land Committee has been reconstituted, complaints and standards committee set up and a Land Recovery Unit established.
She highlighted some of the ministry’s challenges, including inadequate budget allocation, lack of vehicles, motor bikes, equipment, outdated laws, poor intra and inter ministerial collaboration and weak capacity to enforce land laws.