"Sri Lanka's urban-rural linkages have been getting stronger during the last few decades owing to the village-based programmes of the government. Sri Lanka's population growth is one of the lowest in the region and urbanization in terms of increase of persons living in areas designated as 'urban' is low with population of Colombo City actually decreasing.
Sri Lanka is one of the first countries to commit to the implementation of an "enabling strategy" in human settlements development. We have played an active role in the deliberations of this august agency – the UN – Habitat for many years and were responsible for mooting the declaration of an International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (IYSH) in 1987. Therefore, we in Sri Lanka are proud to be associated with the new moves and strategies developed and launched by UNCHS."
This was said by L.S. Palansuriya, Chairman of National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) at the 3rd Session of the Preparative Committee (PrepComIII), for the United Nations conference on housing and sustainable urban development (Habitat 3) held on 25th to 27th July in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Muhammed Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of Republic of Indonesia has inaugurated the PrepCom3 ceremony said "There are three important things to be highlighted in relation to Cities. They are People, People, and People. We are now living in urbanized world where 54% population of people live in City. Cities are made for People and by People. This is the place for us. We grow up in Cities. We meet each other in Cities, and Cities happened because of us."
PrepComIII put the city of Surabaya in the global spotlight of sustainable urbanization for three days. In 27 parallel events and 39 side events, United Nations member states, representatives from Intergovernmental Organisations, local and regional governments and stakeholders discussed, how a new model of urban development would be able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare, and shared prosperity.
The important role of PrepComIII as the key arena for Member States to discuss the New Urban Agenda before the Habitat III conference in Quito was also reflected in an extraordinary high turnout. Nearly 5000 participants were participated for the PrepCom3, among them 860 international participants from 142 different countries were there during the 3 days of this meeting.
At the inauguration ceremony of Habitat PrepComIII Chairman of NHDA further said "Access to adequate housing has been a Sri Lankan government priority and the programmes aimed to shelter & Settlement programme uplifting the living conditions of people centered on housing development. The availability of drinking water, sanitation, drainage, clean energy and accessibility to urban amenities is higher than many countries in the region. There is room for many improvements, especially in regard to community housing, housing finance and land market. The National Housing Policy identified several non-conventional areas of housing such as rental housing, over-night stays, etc. "
Chairman, NHDA Further said " The New Urban Agenda needs to consider moving up to the next level of development where quality of housing is to be enhanced. The Sri Lankan approach to a New Urban Agenda would also consider the inclusion of some essential aspects of being a human."
During the 3 days of this PrepComIII, the final draft for the new urban agenda was published by the United Nations Habitat with the agreement of the participants and this will be submitted to the Habitat III United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development that will take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17th – 20th October, 2016.
The United Nations General Assembly decided to convene the Habitat III Conference to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, in order to focus on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda, building on the Habitat Agenda of Istanbul set in 1996.
In resolution 66/207 and in line with the bi-decennial cycle (1976, 1996 and 2016), the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene Habitat III Conference to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, to focus on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda, building on the Habitat Agenda of Istanbul in 1996.