The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, last week received credentials from two new envoys to the organization, the Permanent Representative of Denmark, Mr. Bo Jensen, and the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, Mr. Syeed Ahmed. Mrs. Tibaijuka thanked the Government of Denmark for its support to UN-HABITAT and called for closer collaboration between the partners. She said that the support given by Denmark in the past had greatly helped to raise the profile of the organization.
The Executive Director also pointed out that, following the reforms introduced in UN-HABITAT in recent years, many donors have started to increase their level of funding to the organization. She appealed to Denmark to follow suit.
Mrs. Tibaijuka stressed the importance of UN-HABITAT’s activities worldwide, pointing out that without shelter and water it would be difficult to improve other areas of development like health and education. “We cannot deliver health to homeless people. We cannot provide education to homeless people. Where there is no water, there can be no proper education for girls,” she said.
She said UN-HABITAT was collaborating with many NGO partners in Denmark. She also pointed out that UN-HABITAT was also trying to set up a rapid response programme to reduce the effects of human-made and natural disasters.
Mr. Jensen said that a reduction of funding by his Government was affecting many United Nations agencies, but promised to look into the matter.
During her discussion with the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that the country was very important to UN-HABITAT as it is a very active member of the organization’s Governing Council. She explained that Bangladesh had been consistent in its financial contributions to UN-HABITAT and that she had been closely following events in Bangladesh ever since she worked with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), where she dealt with issues affecting Least Developed Countries.
She said UN-HABITAT had always had projects in Bangladesh, including the current US$20 million project for urban poverty alleviation in the country. Mr. Ahmed thanked the Executive Director for her long-standing interest in Bangladesh. He said the Bangladeshi capital, a mega city with 11 million inhabitants, was prone to earthquakes and flooding.
In response, Mrs. Tibaijuka informed the envoy that the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation is fully recognized by UN-HABITAT, and that Bangladesh being a developing country it is very important to UN-HABITAT and its work with developing country governments and other Habitat partners. She said that UN-HABITAT is currently working with 39 partner organizations in Bangladesh.