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close this bookJournal of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies - Volume 2, Number 4 (HABITAT, 1993, 66 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe Aim of the Network and its Journal
View the documentForeword
View the documentWorkshop of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies, Nairobi, Kenya, 6-8 September 1993
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View the documentPublications review
View the documentEvents
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Workshop on Computer Training for Counterpart Staff of the Eight Cities/Municipalities and Participating Government Ministries of the Kenya Pilot Project, Nairobi, Kenya, 29 November -10 December 1993

Cities are the centres of economic, social and cultural development in all countries. They play a critical role in the overall development of any country. In many developing countries, urban policies and strategies are based upon insufficient and/or poor socio-economic statistical information. These shortcomings have often resulted in costly urban policy failures.

To cope with the rapidly growing demand for comprehensive city-specific information and repository function for urban data among international agencies, through its City Data Programme (CDP). The national component of CDP is the Kenya Pilot Project (KPP) being undertaken in eight project towns in Kenya.

The immediate objectives of the DPP are to design a national data collection and dissemination system which will provide efficient statistical support to urban policy-making; and to strengthen the statistical capacity of the eight projects towns and the participating central government ministries.

One of the activities of the KPP is the computer training workshop which provides the counterpart staff with hands-on expertise in using the computer as an effective planning and management tool.

The workshop, organized by UNCHS (Habitat), had the following objectives;

- To give the participants an appreciation of the computer's capabilities and their relevance to urban planning and management needs;

- To introduce the participants to common PC applications;

- To introduce the participants to UNCHS-CitiBase, a PC-application software developed by Habitat, for the production of a global database on cities and for updating individual city databases.

About 20 participants attended the workshop and were trained in a variety of packaged software programs related to the areas mentioned in the objectives of the workshop.

Workshop on Housing and Urban Development, Nyeri, Kenya, 27-29 September 1993

The three-day workshop, organized by United States Peace Corps, Kenya, brought together more than 50 Peace Corps Small Town Planning Volunteers and their local counterparts. The volunteers, under the direction of the Ministry of Local Government of Kenya, currently provide technical support to approximately 20 secondary urban areas in Kenya. The purpose of the workshop was:

- To provide a range of factual information on development planning to Peace Corps planners and their counterparts

- To encourage participants to share strategies they have employed toward meeting individual project goals

- To bring together local officials, technical experts, and interested individuals and organizations to share information, propose solutions and formulate a plan of action to address the planning needs of participating local authorities

Based on a request received from the organizers of the workshop, two UNCHS (Habitat) staff provided inputs to the workshop by making presentations on "Affordability in housing" and "Low-cost innovative technologies in building materials and construction".

Seminar on Environmental Management, Nairobi, Kenya, 15 November - 3 December 1993

The three-week training seminar, organized by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), involved mainly high-level Government officials as well as UNEP and UNCHS (Habitat) staff. The purpose of the seminar was to provide a forum for the government participants to exchange views, national experience and outlook on environmental problems and, together with those conducting the seminar, to help improve the methodologies of solving these problems so as to promote integrated and sustainable development through upgraded environmental management skills.

In addition to contributions made by UNEP directors and senior programme specialists, a number of UNCHS (Habitat) staff also provided inputs on environmental aspects of human settlements, such as energy and environment linkages in urban areas, alternative and traditional sources of energy, environmental health, urban waste management etc.

UNEP is considering organizing a similar training seminar which is scheduled to be held in 1994.

For further information please contact: Chief, Environmental Education and Training Unit, UNEP, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya.

Workshop of Small-scale Building-Materials Producers and Businesses in the Next Decade and Beyond, Nairobi, Kenya, 2-3 December 1993

The two-day workshop, organized by the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and Fibre Concrete Producers Association of Kenya (FICROPAK), brought together about 50 small-scale producers of building materials from Kenya and a number of government official and representatives of UNCHS (Habitat) and Shelter-Afrique. The purpose of the workshop was to assess ways and means of how to improve the productivity and marketing of products and how to gain access to credit for expanding the enterprises.

The main areas of discussions and exchange of views were:

- Entrepreneurship development in Kenya;

- Financing small-scale businesses;

- Marketing new products in building materials sector;

- Development of new vibrated concrete products;

- Legal and institutional requirements for small-scale building-materials producer;

- Impact of building regulations on small-scale producers of building materials.

The representative of UNCHS (Habitat) made a presentation on the Centre's activities in the building-materials and construction sector and provided some information on the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies. He further outlined the major elements of a proposed programme for action on domestic capacity-building in the building-materials sector for sub-Saharan African and urged the participants to make use of the UNCHS (Habitat) specific technical publications on the production of building materials. A number of publications, data sheets and copies of the Journal of the Network were also distributed among the participants.

Forthcoming events

International Expert-Group Meeting on Urban Indicators, Nairobi, Kenya, 10-14 January 1994

The General Assembly of the United Nations has called for a second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, to be held at Istanbul, Turkey, in June 1996. This call is justified by the fact that despite considerable efforts at the local, national and international levels since the first United Nations Conference held in Vancouver in 1976, the global human settlements situation has continued to deteriorate. The objective of the Conference is to arrest this trend and to find effective ways of improving the living environments of all on a sustainable basis.

The Global Plan of Action to be adopted in 1996 at Istanbul will be designed with this primary objective in mind. It will also be based on specific subprogrammes with clear targets and a monitoring timetable. But this will prove impossible unless appropriate mechanisms are developed to assess the quality of the living environments of people, and find ways to ensure progress in this direction, through meaningful quantitative and qualitative indicators.

Unlike Vancouver, the Istanbul Conference will devote a lot of attention to urbanization and urban issues. The reason for this is clear. It is now universally recognized that as the twenty-first century dawns, the human settlements challenge will be won, or lost, in cities, Phenomena like the urbanization of poverty, rising crime and unemployment, and growing gowing environmental disruption are becoming increasingly associated with cities. On the other hand, cities are also places of hope and opportunity.

The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and the World Bank have agreed to develop indicators covering each of the two major themes proposed for the Habitat II Conference: "Sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world" and "Shelter for All". The collaborative effort in developing urban indicators is a further initiative by the two agencies to mobilize their respective expertise to contribute towards the success of the forthcoming Habitat II Conference, as well as its in-country preparatory process.

The objectives of the expert group meeting are:

(a) To identify key urban sub-sectors within which performance indicators need to be developed for regular monitoring of urban sector performance;

(b) To identify a preliminary list of indicators;

(c) To examine the data requirements, cost effectiveness and key methodological problems relating to the recommended indicators;

(d) To recommend a strategy and a framework for further development of the indicators for use in the preparation of national reports for Habitat II Conference and regular monitoring of the urban sector.

For more information contact UNCHS (Habitat) P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya.