The Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Mrs. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, has stressed the need for nations to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Mrs. Tibaijuka made the call today in Alexandria, Egypt, in a keynote address she presented while declaring open the Global Sustainable Cities Meeting and the Local Agenda 21 Programme 2003.
The Executive Director emphasized the urgency and the moral obligation for all nations to implement the MDGs and stated that it cannot be business as usual any more, especially in light of the increasing magnitude of poverty in urban areas. She called on all nations both from the north and south to jointly mobilize resources to better address the emerging urban poverty challenges, especially in the areas of urban environment improvement and poverty eradication.
Earlier, Mrs. Tibaijuka held a meeting with the First Lady of Egypt, Mrs. Suzanne Thabet Mubarak, with whom she discussed the concern for urban slums in the country. Also present at the meeting were the Egyptian Minister for Housing, Utilities and New Communities, Engineer M. I. Soleimann; and the Minister for Planning, H.E. Osman M. Osman.
The Global SCP Meeting in Alexandria was attended by over 200 participants from more than 32 cities from around the country and was addressed by eminent persons including the Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, H.E. Dr. M Riad; and Minister for Local Government, H. E. Mr. Mustafa Abdel Kader.
Representatives of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also addressed the opening ceremony.
Egypt’s former Vice-President of the World Bank and currently the Director of the World-famous Library “Bibliotheca Alexandrina,” Dr. Ismail Serageldin, also addressed the meeting. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in which the 2300-year-old history of the City of Alexandria is captured, was the venue of the SCP-LA21 Conference. It was also the venue of the 2002 Global Youth and Employment Summit (YES).
Also speaking at the meeting, the Governor of Alexandria, H. E. Abdel Salam Al Mahgoub, thanked UN-HABITAT for its long-term technical support to the Sustainable Ismailia Project, which has provided the framework for national replication currently underway. He emphasized the important role of communities in local development and called on development partners to support and empower such communities through further technical assistance.
The three-day meeting is focusing on three thematic areas of urban environmental planning and management, namely: capacity building, sustainable basic services, and sustainable urban mobility.