Insight from Ghana Ahead of its Fifth National Urban Forum
[24 August 2015] -- On 25 August 2015, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in Ghana will host the country’s fifth National Urban Forum with the theme “Building Resilient Cities: Deepening Spatial Planning and Land Value Capture for Development in Ghana.” Cities Alliance is supporting the national urban forum through a grant to GIZ, the German Organisation for International Cooperation.
Cities Alliance spoke to Mr Sylvanus Adzornu, Head of Urban Development Unit at the Ministry, to gain some insight in the run-up to the forum.
A: The theme is focusing on how we can better apply spatial planning and land value capture. Spatial planning looks at how we use our land and what improvements can be made to manage land more effectively. Value capture is public financing that allows the government to recover some, or all of the value that public infrastructure generates for private landowners. The revenue generated can be used as infrastructure finance development to improve infrastructure within urban spaces and to promote stronger cities that can deal with climatic shocks and ensure that all inhabitants, irrespective of their social standing, can enjoy the benefits of our cities. The urban space should promote equity and fairness and ensure inclusivity for citizens. However this is not the case.
I believe that committed implementation of urban plans by city authorities is also relevant to building resilient and inclusive cities: hence this forum to aid advocacy for widespread implementation of this approach in Ghana and other African countries.
A. In my opinion the previous National Urban Forums in Ghana led to a precedent of more advocacy in cities for the formulation and implementation of the Ghana Urban Policy and its Action Plan to improve city conditions. The Ghana Urban Agenda has been accepted and witnessed commitment at the level of the Presidency. H.E President John Dramani Mahama is now the champion of the new African Urban Agenda.
A. Ghana, together with the aforementioned countries, are Cities Alliance partners. This gives us great leverage to share knowledge and experience towards improving urban management and slum upgrading. We invited these countries to share their experience on urban planning. We hope their participation in the Ghana Urban Forum will be a platform for knowledge and experience sharing. These countries can adopt and implement similar initiatives and approaches in urban planning and land value capture as tools for slum and disaster prevention in African cities.
A. First and foremost we expect all urban actors such as the traditional authorities, politicians, city authorities, technocrats, academia, civil society and a cross-section of the urban poor to gain diverse perspectives of urban issues in the country. At the end of this forum, city authorities and the government should be able to appreciate the need to deepen spatial planning and land value capture of their local plans and schemes as a means of leveraging financial resources to promote infrastructural development to the benefit of all citizens, especially the urban poor.
Going forward, it is expected that this forum, and subsequent ones, will deepen the commitment of authorities to finding lasting solutions to urban challenges. We hope that this will be done with the continued support of key partners such as Cities Alliance and GIZ, in promoting the New Urban Agenda after the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016.