BY BEN BILUA
HONIARA has been described as one of the fastest growing cities in the Pacific.
The annual urban growth according to UN-Habitant – Urban profiling in Solomon Islands in 2011 was at 4.7 per cent with the number forecast to have increased over the past years.
The report states that the annual urban growth of 4.7 per cent exceeds the national population growth of 2.3 per cent, indicating the growing importance of the urban areas which is the heart of socioeconomic growth and future prosperity.
It states that increasing urban growth has and will continue to put immense pressure on urban service delivery, which is already in short supply and declining in urban centres.
“Obvious challenges can be seen in poor delivery of services such as roads, drainage systems, power, housing, health and education services, solid waste management, water and sanitation have deteriorated over the years due to minimal maintenance and improvement,” the report states.
According to the report, these problems have been exposed due to lack of urban policies or city development strategies, a lack of skilled human resources, poor management and weak governance at all levels of government in most towns.
It states that the rising growth of informal settlements and failing infrastructure in urban centres illustrate the need for leaders to establish proper mechanism that would unravel the issue.
The national urban profile for Solomon Islands is the first long-term documented advocacy tool that aims at encouraging policy shift towards improving the urban planning and management of towns to achieve desired outcomes for the country.
Achieving progress in resolving these key urban development issues will play a crucial role in transforming towns into productive and liveable places.