UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, on Monday received the new Permanent Representative of Belgium to UN-HABITAT, Mr. Igor Haustrate.
Briefing the envoy on the activities of UN-HABITAT, the Executive Director stated that Belgium has been a great supporter of the organization even during its very difficult years. The Executive Director recalled that Belgium has been supporting UN-HABITAT continuously for the last 28 years in Training programmes, like mid-career human settlements professionals in Africa and Asia (1979-1993); Secure Tenure Campaign (2000-2003); and Localising Agenda 21 Programme (1994-2007).
She thanked Mr. Haustrate and his country for this kind gesture, particularly for the country’s contribution to the Secure Tenure Campaign.
The Executive Director observed that Belgium is one of the most highly represented countries in UN-HABITAT and that it had been playing a key role in the introduction of the Medium-Term Strategic and Institutional Plan (MTSIP) and the Experimental Reimbursable Seeding Operation (ERSO). She noted that UN-HABITAT has been working with the Belgian Government and with universities in the country, in the area of human settlements development and with the European Union, which has its headquarters in Belgium.
Mrs. Tibaijuka noted that of the 304 organizations accredited to UN-HABITAT from across Europe, 20 are from Belgium. She stressed that these organizations provide technical assistance to social development programmes for improving the living environment, by promoting and executing research in housing, urbanization and human settlement issues in the developing world. According to Mrs. Tibaijuka, “They aim to enhance peoples’ participation in the decision-making processes and for the improvement of the quality of life and the living environment of the low-income sectors of the society.”
The Executive Director stated that partnerships have also been established with Belgian organizations that are working to empower the youth and women groups to fight against social exclusion. She called for further dialogue in order to identify further areas of cooperation between Belgium and UN-HABITAT.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also called for participation in and support for the Fourth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF4) scheduled for Nanjing, China, 03-07 November 2008.
Responding, Mr. Haustrate gave the assurance that his country will implement Agenda 21 in 2008 and stressed that he is “committed to supporting UN-HABITAT.” He also assured her that whatever UN-HABITAT presents on Central African countries and Senegal will be taken seriously.