The Government of Netherlands has given over EUR 7.8 million (US $ 8.4 m) to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme within the framework of a two year Partnership Programme. This increase in funding, from one of its major donors, explicitly recognises the success of UN-HABITAT's work in implementing the Habitat Agenda. At the same time, the Dutch Government has more than doubled its annual contribution from EUR 453,780 to EUR 1.3 m (US $ 1.4 m) from 2003 onwards.
In 2002, the Government of the Netherlands carried out an in-depth assessment of UN-HABITAT which concluded that the process of institutional revitalisation, started in 1998, had been a success. Moreover, given the massive process of urbanisation taking place in developing countries, it called for further strengthening of the Programme.
"Since 1978, the Government of Netherlands has been one of our strongest supporters and this renewed vote of confidence will be a major boost to our work programme and the implementation of our new strategic vision. Since its revitalisation, one of the major constraints confronting UN-HABITAT has been the lack of predictable and stable financing," said Mrs. Tibaijuka. "Through this unique partnership programme we hope to build the capacity of the organisation even further so that we can meet the challenges set by the Millennium Development Goals. Especially those targets concerned with improving the living conditions of over 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 and providing the poor with sustainable access to safe drinking water."
The new partnership funding will be used in the following priority areas: Urban Poverty Reduction, Urban Youth Development Policies, Slum Upgrading and improvements in Land Tenure Security, Improved Urban Governance, Monitoring the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and Urban Environmental Improvements including Water for Asian Cities. These priorities were set through a unique consultative process between UN-HABITAT and the Dutch Government.
H.E. Mrs. Tanya Van Gool, the new Dutch Ambassador to Kenya and Permanent Representative to UN-HABITAT and UNEP, said, "The new partnership programme marks the beginning of a new phase in what we hope will be a long standing relationship between my country and UN-HABITAT. In a rapidly, urbanising world, the successful implementation of the Habitat Agenda becomes ever more critical. And we are convinced that the revitalised UN-HABITAT is ready and able to take on the challenges set by the international community. These funds will help the Programme to work in important areas of urban development, especially in the provision of water and sanitation to the urban poor."