By Jude Njoku(with agency reports)

Kogi State has signed a memorandum of understanding MoU, with the United Nations Human Settlement Programme, UN-Habitat for the development of a city structure plane for selected cities and towns in Kogi state.

The agreement which was signed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi by the Kogi State Deputy Governor  Mr. Yomi Awoniyi and UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Aisa Kcyira, will see a to better integrate physical, spatial and social aspects of the state.

The MoU, will also seek to improve the quality of water and sanitation in major cities of the state as well as developing waste management for the state.

The agreement is aimed at improving the understanding of urban law and norms and their relationship to institutional structures leading to empowered  local authorities able to efficiently guide and manage urban development.

Vanguard Homes & Property learnt that the MoU will further aim at developing safe cities to address social inclusion, improved integration, mobility and connectivity and better service delivery.

It will also seek to develop an urban observatory programme to address the state-wide base of urban knowledge to support the government, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and civil society in applying policy-oriented urban indicators, statistics and other urban information.

Meanwhile, the UN agency has kicked off the search for this year’s winner of the world’s most prestigious human settlements award. UN-Habitat’s Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos announced the call for entries for the award, winners of which are expected to be announced on World Habitat Day on 7 October 2013. The award presentation ceremony will be held during the closing of the 7th session of the World Urban Forum, to be held in Medellin, Colombia, on 11 April 2014.

“Individuals, organisations, initiatives and projects are eligible to be nominated for their achievements and best practices in innovation, impact and sustainability in the following areas: urban legislation, land and governance; urban planning and design; urban economy; urban basic services, housing and slum upgrading; risk reduction and rehabilitation; and urban research and capacity development,” Dr. Clos said in his statement.

The UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour award was launched by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in 1989. It is currently the most prestigious human settlements award in the world. Its aim is to acknowledge initiatives which have made outstanding contributions in various fields such as shelter provision, highlighting the plight of the homeless, leadership in post conflict reconstruction and developing and improving human settlements and the quality of urban life.

The award, a plaque engraved with the name of the winner and their achievement, is presented to the winners during the World Urban Forum.

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