GIS - 10 September, 2015: “I will ask you to go deeper in your endeavours to alleviate the life of the poor, as the approach that consists in dealing with poverty by sitting at the office and looking out through the window is not the right one.”
The strong plea to fight poverty more effectively was made this morning by the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Lands, Mr Showkutally Soodhun, at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre, Bell Village, at the official launching ceremony of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), Phase II, in Mauritius. The ceremony was held in the presence of the Minister of Social Integration and Economic empowerment, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, the Representative of the European Union, Mr Eric Vanhalewyn, the Representative of the UN-Habitat, Mr David Mann, and other personalities.
According to Mr Soodhun, poverty is not defined simply by what is spelt out in a dictionary. Stressing that poverty is about human beings, the Vice-Prime Minister pointed out the necessity for stakeholders to go out of their way and meet the poor in their dire social and economic conditions.
Highlighting Government’s commitment to combat poverty and enable the low-income groups to live with dignity, the Vice-Prime Minister recalled the integrated approach adopted by the National Housing Development Company (NHDC) Limited in providing them with access to a decent place to live with the adequate local environment. In the same vein, Mr Soodhun mentioned other measures such as the increase in the size of the new housing units which will now be 50 m2 instead of 39 m2, the increase in the grant for casting of roof slab scheme from Rs 65 000 to Rs 75 000, as well as the broadening of the categories of households eligible for the grant for casting of slabs. Mr Soodhun is also of the view that the findings of the PSUP could contribute to helping the Mauritian Government in its Marshall Plan for the eradication of poverty.
PSUP in Mauritius
PSUP is an initiative of UN-Habitat and is funded by the European Commission. It is implemented in collaboration with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat in some 35 countries of ACP Group of States including the Republic of Mauritius. Its objectives are to strengthen the capacity of local, central, and regional institutions and key stakeholders in settlement and slum improvement through the use of good governance, management approaches and pilot projects, as well as develop policies and carrying out institutional, legislative, financial, normative, and implementation frameworks.
The Government of Mauritius and UN-Habitat signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010 to implement PSUP in Mauritius. Phase 1 of the programme, which comprised three urban profiling namely those of Port Louis, Beau‐Bassin, and Black River and the elaboration of a National Urban Profile through participatory consultative approaches, has been completed in 2011.
Phase 2, which was officially launched this morning, aims at selecting a list of “slums” from the three urban profiles wherein demonstration pilot projects can be developed and implemented in Phase 3, using the full multi-stakeholder participatory approach recommended by UN Habitat and centred on the empowerment of beneficiaries. Hence, three deprived settlements were identified as priority areas during a national Multi-Stakeholder Validation Workshop which took place in October 2011: Karo Kalyptus for Port Louis, Cité EDC for Black River and Barkly for Beau-Bassin/Rose-Hill.
The UN-Habitat has appointed a consulting firm to produce five outputs (Slum situation and stakeholders analysis; Review of urban and housing policy and regulatory framework; City‐wide slum upgrading and prevention strategy; Resource mobilisation strategy; and Concept notes and/or project documents) that are required for the implementation of the Phase 2 of PSUP.
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