At the end of a two-day visit to the Iranian capital, Mr. Daniel Biau, Director of UN-HABITAT’s Technical Co-operation Division, announced that a Disaster Mitigation Office of UN-HABITAT will start its activities in Tehran at the beginning of 2008.
This preparatory mission was a follow-up to the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and UN-HABITAT signed in April 2007 by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT and the Iranian Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Mohammad Saeidikia.
Entirely funded by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new office will focus on disaster mitigation, including earthquake resistant technologies. During his visit, Mr. Biau met with the National Habitat Committee, chaired by the Vice Minister Mr. Manoochehr Khajehdalouee and with the United Nations Resident Co-coordinator, Mr. Knut Ostby. Both insisted on the need for more regional exchanges on disaster mitigation, which should be facilitated by the new office. Mr. Ostby emphasized that the office will also be able to provide UN-HABITAT inputs to the UN Country Team, particularly to the UNDAF Theme Group on Sustainable Development, Disaster Management and Energy Efficiency.
In view of the rapid urbanization of Iran (68% urban now, 78% forecast by 2030) UN-HABITAT is expected to contribute to policy implementation in the area of sustainable urban development, in co-operation with the Ministry and concerned municipalities.
Iran has expressed the wish that the new office be opened on the occasion of the meeting of Asian Ministers of Housing and Urban Development, scheduled in Tehran during the second quarter of 2008.