The new Permanent Representative of Japan to UN-HABITAT, Mr. Shigeo Iwatani, on Monday presented his credentials to the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka.
Briefing the envoy on the activities of the organization, Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that Japan is a very important contributor to the activities and programmes of UN-HABITAT.
The Executive Director recalled that UN-HABITAT has been in the Japanese city of Fukuoka for ten years and that Fukuoka hosts the organization’s Regional Office for the Asia Pacific Region. She said that many UN-HABITAT activities in the Region were being managed from Fukuoka.
While appealing to Japan to take its place as one of the ten leading contributors to UN-HABITAT’s programmes as it was in the past, the Executive Director suggested that such support should be in the core area of organization’s activities.
She called for Japan’s help in slum upgrading in Kibera, Nairobi, and other parts of the world. She suggested that this could be done in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Executive Director stated that UN-HABITAT and Japan were working in the post-tsunami and post-earthquake projects in Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and northern Pakistan. She said that in addition to the post-disaster projects in the region, the post-conflict projects in Afghanistan have been increasing in size and number. Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that there were also projects in South Korea, Mongolia and the Philippines.
The Executive Director also informed the envoy that there were 18 partners from Japan in UN-HABITAT’s database and that these organizations have been in the forefront of human settlements development in many Asian countries.
With particular reference to Somalia, the Executive Director informed the envoy that the Japanese Government and UN-HABITAT were working to resettle internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country at a total cost of USD1.89 million; and that a total of US$4.03 million was also being spent on the protection, reintegration and resettlement of IDPs in Bossaso, Puntland, Somalia.
Mr. Iwatani thanked the Executive Director for the briefing. He gave the assurance that Japan would come up with core projects for funding in the near future.