NGO Forum Celebrate the World Habitat Day

“Changing cities, building opportunities” was the theme used during the celebration of the 27th World Habitat Day the NGO Forum on Cambodia hosted in, Kompot and Sihanouk province on October 9th, 2012. The event was made possible in collaboration with network members and partners, namely Community Managed Development Partners, Cambodia National Research Organization, CVS and GIZ. Preside over by the Vice provincial governor in Sihanoukville and the Municipal Governor in Kompot province, the event was  joined by more than a thousand participants from  local authorities, local NGOs, Community Representatives and Medias.

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all, to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat. UN-Habitat wants to underscore the need to plan our cities better because as has also been stated, unplanned growth of cities leads to chaotic development and urban sprawl. When well planned, cities can continue to afford opportunities to both the current and future residents. This dovetails with the new UN-Habitat campaign, “I am a city changer,” which seeks to involve all in making their cities a better place to live.

Speaking at the event in Sihanouk Ville, Mr. Chhith Sam Ath, Executive Director of the NGOF on Cambodia referred to a study showing the Cambodia population growth1.7% a year and by this, the Cambodian population will reach 19 million by 2020. This will require the government to have a better plan to meet the needs of this growth.  He also noted that the migration from provinces to urban areas causing the emergence of slump or the settlement of the people on the right of way. And again, this has caused challenges to the government and other parties to respond to those issues.

Mr. Chhith Sam Ath, as the representative for NGOs, supports the government on the implementation of Circular 03 where the participation from community and CSO is included in the process. However, he noted about the need to have full participation from all stakeholders on Urban Development to ensure that the development is for all.