UN-HABITAT has been invited to participate as a full member of the UN’s Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA) in a move that will strengthen its work in countries recovering from conflict or natural disasters like Afghanistan, Kosovo, Liberia, or Haiti and enable the agency to cooperate more closely with major UN bodies involved in humanitarian work around the world.
Mr. Jan Egeland, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator invited Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT to join ECHA citing the important role of shelter issues in humanitarian operations. UN-HABITAT is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
Key upcoming UN-HABITAT interventions include property rights protection, and shelter/infrastructure reconstruction work Liberia, reconstruction and infrastructure management in North Korea, water and sanitation assistance in Haiti, sustainable shelter reconstruction in Iran, shelter and land-use planning for disaster prevention in Mozambique, and regional disaster management programming in Central American States. Plans are also underway for a range of similar projects in Sudan, Chad, and regional disaster management programming for land use management in the Seychelles, Madagascar, the Comoros Islands, and Mauritius.
The perspective UN-HABITAT brings to humanitarian activities include ways of showing how disasters can provide opportunities for sustainable development, and how “Sustainable Relief” “Sustainable Relief in Post-crisis Situations: Transforming disasters into opportunities for sustainable development in human settlements©”, UN-HABITAT Dec. 2003 available at: WUF-Draft requires that emergency and rehabilitation efforts can, and should be integrated into long-term development strategies.