Government officials, urban sector stakeholders, and international partners gathered at the First Edition of the Kenya Urban Forum 2023 in Naivasha to discuss the future of urbanization in Kenya.

The forum, held under the theme "The Future is Urban – Strategic Pathways to Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanization in Kenya," concluded with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua announcing significant commitments from the National Government.

One of the key outcomes of the forum was the National Government's commitment to creating a framework for the establishment and operationalization of the National Urban Development Fund.

This move, in accordance with the National Urban Development Policy, aims to address the challenges faced by urban areas in Kenya. The collaboration between the National Government and the Council of Governors will ensure that the fund's implementation is carried out effectively.

During the two days of deliberations, participants emphasized the importance of the urban sector enabling legislation, policies, and global urbanization frameworks.

These include the resolutions of the 2nd United Nations Habitat Assembly, the New Urban Agenda, and the SDG11 Indicators.

The forum called for a comprehensive review and harmonization of urban sector legislations, such as the County Government Act 2012, the Physical and Land Use Planning Act 2019, and the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 (amended in 2019), to guide urban planning and development.

Housing Principal Secretary, Charles Hinga, stated, "The National Government, in collaboration with the County Governments and other urban sector stakeholders, shall review the Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2016 on the National Urban Development Policy to align with existing urbanization dynamics and realities."

This commitment reflects the government's determination to adapt to the evolving urban landscape.

Furthermore, the forum resolutions emphasized the need for County Governments to leverage their own-source revenue potentials, as identified by the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

Innovative funding mechanisms, such as Land Value Capture, will be adopted to support urban sector initiatives.

In the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable urbanization, the National and County Governments agreed to strengthen cooperation and multilevel climate action.

The aim is to enhance the inclusion of local-level contributions in national climate strategies and support the implementation of these strategies at the local level.

Another crucial resolution was the collaboration between the National and County Governments in providing adequate housing for all.

This includes integrating urban social rental housing into the Affordable Housing Program, ensuring that housing needs are met across the country.

To promote a harmonized approach to urban land management, the forum emphasized the importance of inventorying, planning, surveying, and titling all public land. This will support land banking for public-purpose developments and investments.

Hinga, reiterated the commitment to achieving the 13 resolutions of the forum, emphasizing that Kenya cannot ignore the challenges faced by the urban poor throughout the country.

The responsibility lies with the conveners to ensure that the resolutions are effectively implemented.

The National Urban Development Fund, along with the harmonization of urban sector legislations, the integration of affordable housing programs, and the sustainable management of urban land, represents a significant step forward in addressing the urbanization challenges faced by Kenya.

With these commitments in place, the government aims to create inclusive and sustainable urban areas for all citizens.