BY EMMANUEL EDUKUGHO
THE United Nations (UN) Global Report on Human Settlements (GRHS 2011) has been launched at Covenant University, Ota, Lagos.

At a press briefing heralding the launch, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Aize Obayan, recalled the Covenant University UN-Habitat Collaboration when in July 2011, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) to promote joint collaborative research, students’ internship placement, solar energy provisions, professional training, technical assistance and other collaborative efforts that will be agreed by both parties in the areas of mutual interests.

“It is on this basis that the university is privileged to host the launch of the United Nations’ Global Report on Human Settlements (GRHS 2011) in collaboration with the UN-Habitat,” she added.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, The Global Report is usually launched only in world class universities in major power centres.

While Covenant University lays no claim to that status yet, the institution is however on a steady and conscious march towards becoming a world class university of reference and solid reputation not just in Africa but for the Black race.

Her words: “To date, no Nigerian or African university has hosted the launch. Covenant University is privileged to be the first. The GRHS 2011 has only been launched at the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom and Columbia university in the United States of America.”

She explained that the Global Report 2011 addresses “Cities and Climate Change,” providing the most current, insightful, decisive, authoritative and up-to-date assessment of conditions and trends in the world’s cities, urban centres and other human settlements with specific focus on areas of immediate and challenging concern.

It also raises awareness on human settlement issues, population crisis and the plight of the less privileged in developing societies.

She stated further that the Global Report 2011 provides current and conclusive information on the condition of urban centres, cities and trends around the world.

Giving an insight into the document, Professor Obayan said: “Written in a very clear non-technical language and supported by informative graphics, case studies and extensive already analysed statistical data, GRHS 2011 is an essential tool and reference for researchers, academics, development planners, architects, builders, non-government organisations (NGOs), public authorities and civil society organisations.”

She added that the GRHS is one of the UN-HABITAT’s two flagship report series prepared under a mandate from the United Nations General Assembly (Resolution 34/114).

In conclusion, the report argues that urban areas must play a significant role in addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The report also submits that urban centres must be at the forefront of every effort to mitigate both climate change and climate adaptation issues as well as identifies strategies and approaches for strengthening this important role.

Professor Obayan referred to UN-HABITAT’s GRHS 2011 press reviews which said:

“It is estimated that by 2050, there could be as many as 200 million environmental refugees worldwide, many of whom will be forced from their homes by rising sea levels and the increased frequency of flooding and drought.”

She summed up by drawing attention to the recent flooding situations in South West states like Lagos and Oyo (Ibadan) in Nigeria which have made this Report of strategic importance to the governments of those states.

“By launching this Report, we are raising awareness and consciousness on the need to tackle issue of climate change because there are no drainage in Lagos and if rain falls there will be flooding likely to sweep away homes. If we don’t come up with something like this cities may become extinct and businesses grounded. Our research will be tied to community development initiative.”

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