UN-HABITAT and the Russian Federation signed a new cooperation agreement on Tuesday aimed at achieving sustainable development of human settlements, implementing the Habitat Agenda and meeting the relevant Millennium Development Goals.
The agreement, under which Russia will provide at least 400,000 US dollars annually, part of it in non-earmarked funds, was signed by the Deputy Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Ms. Inga Bjork-Klevby, and Mr. Sergei Kruglik, Head of the Federal Agency for Housing, Construction and Utilities in Russia.
UN-HABITAT and Russia will cooperate in the areas of sustainable urban planning and development; accountable urban governance in compliance with the Global Campaign on Urban Governance, the protection of citizens’ housing rights in compliance with the Global Campaign for secure tenure, as well as the strengthening of local authorities through capacity building and effective decentralization.
Other areas covered by the agreement include the sustainable housing and urban development financing, private-public partnership for urban infrastructure and development, the sustainable development of Arctic region cities, the monitoring of urban conditions and trends through a network of urban observatories. It also covers publication of the Russian Cities Report on a biennial basis and the Russian version of the quarterly magazine “Habitat Debate”.
Part of the long-term objective of the agreement is to establish in 2008 a UN-HABITAT regional office in Russia to coordinate cooperation projects in Russia and possibly other members of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) subject to an agreement with interested CIS countries.
It was also agreed that a post of Habitat National Officer be established in Russia and that the officer will act as a representative of UN-HABITAT in the process of implementation of joint programmes and projects until a regional UN-HABITAT office is established in Russia.
The agreement replaces one signed in 1992.
Ms. Bjork-Klevby said she was delighted that for the first time in many years, Russia had decided to make part of its contribution non-earmarked. She said she was also delighted that Moscow would provide a contribution to the Palestinian Fund, ensure funding for Russian interpretation and some networking events at the Third Session of the World Urban Forum in Vancouver, and join the UN-HABITAT Junior Professional Officers (JPO) Programme.
Mr. Kruglik, said that housing, education and agriculture were among the greatest priorities for his country.