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Move to end Settlements in Port Moresby


The proliferation of slums in cities around the globe is inevitable.

It is putting tremendous pressure on local and higher governments on how best they can address it so that settlers can lift their livelihood and join others to enjoy quality of life.

It is a global issue which is being advocated by the United Nations Organizations, especially the UN Habitat which encourages governments around the world to implement its Settlement to Suburb Upgrade initiative.
Some 4.2 billion people out of the world’s population of 7.6 billion live in urban areas, according to a United Nations’ report.

The global rural population is 3.4 billion.
That means urban inhabitants account for 55 per cent of the global population. It has been projected that by 2030, over 70 percent of the people will have been urbanized.

Despite efforts, rural-urban drift has still become a major concern globally as no country has successfully stopped the trend due to slackness in governance and legal regime.

Lack of affordable housing, lack of security of tenure, lack of access to affordable land, social exclusion and other factors have pushed the urban dwellers to alternative homes at settlements.

The country’s capital city has its share of the problem long before Independence in 1975. Attempts have been made to deal with the issue since but to no avail.

The failure has not discouraged NCD Governor Honorable Powes Parkop who has been working very tirelessly to lift the city.

Despite the program being the National Government oriented, Governor Parkop has taken the challenge upon his administration and is piloting it since its launch on July 30 last year at the Sir John Guise Stadium.
The project has made impressive progresses to end settlements in the city by 2025.

The 9-Mile Quarry and 8-Mile Moitaka Ridge are the first two areas where surveying is underway following the approval of 200 allotments at the settlements by the NCDC Board.

The project obviously has a long way to go, but a notable milestone was achieved when the land title [The Special (Settlement to Suburb Program) Purpose Lease for Section 28, Lot 6 accounts for an area of 10.12 hectares.] for Kipo settlement was transferred to NCDC mid this month.

Jubilant residents of the settlement converged in hundreds to witness the occasion.

Speaking at the event, Governor Parkop said: “We have long way to go to upgrade settlements to suburbs but I was overwhelmed by the milestone today in getting the title for Kipo settlement. It was a long time coming! I’ve waited for 13 years. Governments have come and gone! Ministers have come and gone! Our people have waited for so long! Far too long! They have over the years unconsciously accepted the poor substandard conditions of settlements as normal. Today, even though, the tunnel is still very long, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“We will get there! We will end settlements and upgrade them to become developed planned suburbs! I am determined! We are determined! We will do massive dance and celebrations when we have upgraded Kipo. Today was only a dress rehearsal but worthy of the celebration and I could not hold back but joined everyone to dance and sing a bit! Tomorrow it’s time to work! Today we celebrate a small but giant step for Port Moresby and PNG. End of settlement is in sight. And also a better quality or life for our people awaits us now!”

Housing and Urbanization Minister Justin Tkatchenko said the title transferal was 2017 election promise which was finally honored.

“What an honor for me to be able to finally deliver on a promise and commitment that we made in 2017.

“I thank our champion Governor Hon. Powes Parkop for his support throughout the process right up to this occasion.

We had an obligation, a duty to ensure that our people are secure on their land - that where our people lived is where they will stay,” he said.

Mr Tkatchenko said his appointment as Lands Minister in 2017 facilitated the work towards achieving Governor Parkop’s vision to transform the city through the Settlement to Suburb Program, adding it was also his to look after his people, especially with regard to the security of their homes.

“Through the joint efforts of our Kipo community leaders, my office and Lands Department Management, our people of Kipo can now sleep easy. Our people of Kipo Settlement now have a certified, legal document that assures them that where they live is where they will continue to stay.

This achievement is not about any individual. It is not about Governor Parkop or myself, but it is about our People and their future,” he said.

The settlement is a home to the people of Eastern Highlands, Chimbu and Morobe who have lived there for ages.

If implemented successfully, it can achieve unprecedented levels of development addressing cross-cutting socio-economic issues-unemployment, crime, poverty alleviation, clean water and sanitation, electricity, road access and sewerage to name the seven.

Pictures by Minister Tkatchenko's Media Unit

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