UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and Prof. Martien Molenaar, Rector of the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, recently signed an agreement to cooperate in the field of training and use of geo-information science and earth observation tools. The signing ceremony took place in the Hague on 29 June 2007.
“In an era where over half of humanity will live in urban centres, and with the impending demographic shift of people from rural to urban areas especially in developing countries, there is an urgent need for improving the capacity of local authorities to manage the process of urbanization,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka. “We are grateful to ITC for working with us to ensure that planners everywhere will be able to take advantage of the latest GIS technologies. This collaboration will help us avoid a future of chaotic cities; more importantly it will help us deliver affordable housing and basic services to the urban poor.”
“The ITC’s niche is the production and use of spatial information which is seen as one of the important building blocks for sound urban management practices in relation to land management, environmental issues, housing, transport, service delivery and poverty alleviation amongst others,” said Prof. Molenaar. “Our expertise in spatial information management is very complimentary to the concerns and expertise of UN-HABITAT. We look forward to a long and fruitful cooperation with UN-HABITAT in this important field.”
The aim of this agreement is to capitalize on the relative strengths and concerns of each organization and to collaborate on future research projects and training programmes. The substantive areas of common interest range from pro-poor land and basic services management tools, land administration through to hazard and disaster management.
UN-HABITAT will join with ITC to create application-oriented solutions for strengthening civil society in addressing issues of local, national and global dimensions such as the multifunctional use of scarce resources, including urban space, the problems of rapid urbanization, the effects of climate change and environmental security.