Local, regional and international groups and entities are presently participating in a four-day workshop in Guyana to address the burning issue of slum improvements and their prevention in Caribbean countries.
The training that is being held at the Princess Ramada Hotel, Providence, East Bank Demerara is focused on financial mobilisation by authorities to target the prevalence of informal settlements such as slums, which are negatively affecting the progress of countries within the Caribbean.
Minister within the Communities Ministry with responsibility for housing, Annette Ferguson explained on Tuesday at the opening ceremony the seriousness of the situation, stating that financing for the upgrading of informal settlements remain a major challenge globally.
“This is a challenge that must be frontally addressed if our people are to be afforded the basic right of dignified living. Each person is entitled to this right regardless of their social or economic strata; they define themselves … in the absence of proper planning, this can contribute to our cities and towns being less resilient to external shocks,” Ferguson said.
Meanwhile, Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Chief Executive Officer Lelon Saul, in his address, noted the importance of such training.
“The three objectives of training are to give a broad overview of the issues related to upgrading of slums and informal settlements such as data collected, etc, to discuss the financial requirements for the slum upgrade in the Caribbean and lastly to present international case studies and explain their approach of upgrading informal settlements … participants will be afforded to visit an informal settlement here in Georgetown and learn from our experience what we are doing to improve lives. Participants take lessons learnt to their respective institutions, share with colleagues, etc…,” he said.
He further explained that universally, a “slum household” is defined as a group of individuals living under the same roof lacking access to improved water, access to improved sanitation, sufficient living area, and durability of housing.
Saul reminded that most importantly, the goal by 2030 is to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing, basic services, and slums upgrade.
“This initiative would provide guidance as to how a country can address the issue of slum improvements and their prevention at the local and national level … the information learnt and shared over the 4 -day period will aid countries with realistic, innovative finance mobilisation information that can assist with city-wide upgrading strategies.”
He noted that this much-needed training workshop would provide guidance on how to address slum improvements and prevention at both the local and national level as it would function as a toolkit that aided countries with realistic, innovative finance mobilisation with citywide upgrading strategies.