Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea at the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur

One billion people worldwide live in slums. The numbers of slum dwellers continue to grow. Today, one in eight of us live in slums and informal settlements globally. This is a revealing discovery as I am finding out at the World Urban Forum here in Kuala Lumpur.

This is our 3rd day and we are already meeting many interesting people and making contacts and connections to garner support to implement the Settlements Upgrading to Suburbs back home.

I am here as Head of Delegation representing Papua New Guinea and with me are John Makop, Project Coordinator, Vincent Pyati, Project Manager for Settlement to Suburbs Upgrading/Conversion Program and Kenneth Atasoa, Deputy City Manager Regulations which deals with Physical Planning in NCDC.

The World Urban Forum (WUF) is the world’s premier conference on Sustainable Urban Development, held every 2 years in different parts of the world. Last 2 years, I attended the conference in Quito and this is a follow up on it and it is themed “Cities 2030, Cities For All”. It coincides with my dream of creating one City, One Port Moresby for all, with modern amenities to create a city that is inclusive yet sustainable for the various tribe that are migrating daily into the city including a city that is safe and peaceful. I will soon make an announcement of a Safe City Zone within the city premise as it is still at a work in progress at the moment.

The issue of informal settlements is not unique to Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea as a whole. Every city has its challenges, just like Port Moresby. With all our efforts both at National level and Provincial level to do whatever we can to break exclusion and improve living conditions, the scale of urban migration remains enormous, resources scarce as well as the capacity of our people to improve their living conditions, lifestyle habits and thinking patterns remains a big problem within our city. Not to mention crime and unemployment.

As a Governor of our capital city, I am focused on delivering on my key priority areas which is to upgrade all settlement to suburbs, modernizing of the Motu Koita villages and creating a safe city for all. Change does not happen overnight and I know this is an enormous task trying to navigate in a city with 1000 tribes and 760 languages. The Sustainable Development Goals for Safe, Resilient, Sustainable, Smart and Prosperous City (SDG 11.1) targets that, “by 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums”. I feel that we can get there sooner, that every suburb is equipped with basic services, infrastructure, housing, safe public space and mobility as well as with the current agenda, including resilience to climate change. It is crazy what one big rain can do to our city. All this has to be fixed and improved. And I am focused and determined to get us there.

Today I will be speaking at a special session on panel of discussion with notable dignitaries from the world over on the topic of Informal Settlements and Slum Upgrading and I will present on “Perspective from Local and Provincial Authorities”.

We all have to do our part, the corporates, governments, churches, schools, NGO’s, communities and individuals as well. Change in a city is everyone’s responsibility. I am looking forward to realize change to where it matters in our beloved city, Port Moresby.

Top day everyone. 
Thank you.

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