UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka has said the agency would continue to support the Cuban government’s drive to provide decent housing for the country’s poorest people.
|Mrs. Tibaijuka with Mr. Moreno Fernández|
“Cuba continues being an example to the world,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka, when she arrived in the Caribbean nation 17 June on her first visit to the country in 30 years. UN-HABITAT, she said would continue to support government policies aimed at housing the poorer segments of society.
UN-Habitat runs technical projects that aim to aid rural and urban development, reduce poverty, establish infrastructures and help with water management.
Mr. Abelardo Moreno Fernández, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed that UN-HABITAT initiatives and support to the UN-HABITAT Revolving Fund be brought to the agenda of the Nonaligned Countries next year when Cuban will hold the revolving presidency of the movement.
In other meetings between the Cuban officials, the UN-HABITAT Executive Director examined ongoing social projects in urban areas.
Mr. Victor Ramirez, the President of the Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda, explained to her the successes in 2006 when the construction of 100,000 new homes was completed, and new plans implemented to provide better protection against natural disasters like hurricanes.
Mrs. Tibaijuka described Cuba as one of the only countries to have achieved such impressive results in the construction of housing for those people on lower salaries. A programme that, she affirmed, no-one has managed outside of the Caribbean Island.
“On coming to Cuba, I have confirmed what they had told me. I have seen it with my own eyes,” she said. “Cuba is a country with great knowledge on the subject of sustainable development and we want to see how we can share their experiences and ideas with the rest of the developing world.”
The President of the Provisional Assembly of the City of Havana (equivalent to a Mayor), Mr. Juan Contino, presented her with the Order of Distinguished Visitor at a reception in her honour. On departure, Mrs. Tibaijuka expressed her condolences at the death of the Cuban heroine, Ms.Vilma Espin Guillois.