A high-powered Norwegian delegation led by Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik visited UN-HABITAT headquarters on Tuesday and signed a Framework Agreement with the Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka aimed at improving the lives of slum dwellers and urban poor.
During the colourful ceremony, Prime Minister Bondevik congratulated Mrs. Tibaijuka and UN-HABITAT for their work in addressing shelter issues across the world, and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to supporting the agency in its work. Later, Mrs. Tibaijuka and the Norwegian Minister for International Development, Ms. Hilde Frafjord Johnson signed the Frameowrk Agreement.
The new Agreement is a milestone towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, in particular Goal 7 Target 11, in which world leaders committed themselves to achieving a “significant improvement” in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020.
While Norway has always been an important supporter of UN-HABITAT’S mission and its activities, the partnership has been strengthened with recent contributions increasing from about US $ 130,000 in 1986 to almost US $ 2,000,000 today.
This new agreement will further enable the organization to address a large number of normative and operational activities in developing countries in areas such as tenure rights, shelter and infrastructure improvement, and the engagement of women and youth. Activities are also planned to monitor urban development with a view to providing policy guidelines for local authorities and national governments.
The objective is to support the realization of the Habitat Agenda and the Millennium Development Goals in developing countries through the work of UN-HABITAT with particular emphasis on meeting the twin goals of the Habitat Agenda: adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world.
The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai joined Mr. Bondevik and Mrs. Tibaijuka when they planted a tree at UN-HABITAT’s headquarters to commemorate the visit.