The 24th Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) will be held from 15 to 19 April 2013 at the UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi, Republic of Kenya, under the theme of Sustainable Urban Development: The Role of Cities In Creating Improved Economic Opportunities For All, With Special Reference To Youth and Gender.
The Governing Council is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly (GA) and serves as the intergovernmental decision making body of UN-Habitat. It reports to the GA through Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Governing Council is composed of 58 members who are elected by the ECOSOC for a term of four years divided along regional lines as follows: Africa, Asia and Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean States and Western Europe and other States.
At the commencement of the first meeting of each regular session, the Governing Council elects a President, three vice Presidents and Rapporteur. These officers constitute the Bureau of the Governing Council whose function is to assist the President in the conduct of the business of the Governing Council.
When the Governing Council meets, it is divided into: i. a Plenary, which is assisted by a sessional committee of the whole and a drafting committee and, ii. a High-level segment and dialogue on a special theme. The Proceedings of the Governing Council, subsequent to its sessions are forwarded to ECOSOC for transmittal to the General Assembly
The objectives, functions and responsibilities of the Governing Council pursuant to resolutions A/RES/56/206 are set out in resolution A/RES/32/162 of 19 December 1977, which is the resolution that originally established UN-Habitat as a Commission and also in paragraph 222 of the Habitat Agenda.
The Governing Council generally has the following:
- Promote integral and comprehensive approach to human settlements;
- Assisting countries and regions with human settlements problems;
- Strengthening co-operation and co-participation in all countries on human settlement issues.
Functions and Responsibilities
- Develop and promote policy objectives, priorities and guidelines with respect to the Organization’s programme of work;
- To study new issues, problems and solutions in human settlements at national, regional and international level;
- Provide policy guidance and supervision of the Foundation;
- Review and approve the utilization of funds of the Organization;
- Provide overall direction to the Organization;
- Promote effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
- Approve UN-Habitat’s biennial Work Programme and Budget.
The Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was established under the United Nations Charter as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the agencies, functional Commissions and regional commissions. The Council also receives reports from other United Nations funds and programmes including UN-Habitat. An annual Secretary General’s Report on the Coordinated Implementation of the Habitat Agenda is submitted to ECOSOC which coordinates follow-up to all the major UN Conferences and Summits. In addition, the Proceedings of the sessions of the Governing Council are forwarded to ECOSOC for onward transmittal to the General Assembly. ECOSOC is also the body which elects the members to the Governing Council.
The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the United Nations Charter. The Assembly meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required. The Governing Council of UN-Habitat is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly. An annual Secretary General’s Report on Follow-up to the Habitat II Conference and the Strengthening of UN-Habitat is submitted to the GA as a follow-up to GA Resolutions 56/205 and 56/206 which elevated UN-Habitat to Programme status.