The new Permanent Representatives of Indonesia and Bangladesh to UN-HABITAT this week presented their credentials to UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. They are Mr. Budi Bowoleksono of Indonesia and Mr. A.K.M. Shamsuddin of Bangladesh.
Briefing Mr. Bowoleksono on the activities of UN-HANITAT in Indonesia, Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that for many years, UN-HABITAT provided Technical Assistance to the Indonesian Government on issues of housing, urban development and land administration. She informed the envoy that in the past 10 years, the organization focused its support on issues of local governance and local economic development.
Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that UN-HABITAT is also actively supporting the setting up of a network of municipal Housing Resource Centres for the advocacy of community-based neighbourhood and housing development. UN-HABITAT is also introducing a component of the Water for Asian Cities Programme in the country, she stated.
The Executive Director further stated that the organization is working, in partnership with the Cities Alliance and UNDP, to ensure that localizing MDGs takes root in poor urban areas; promote urban environmental governance and urban forestry; expand the cities development experience into capacity building for pre-feasibility support for investments in urban amenities; and capacity building for training local authorities in Aceh.
Mrs Tibaijuka also stated that UN-HABITAT is working on post-tsunami early recovery activities in the country.
Also briefing the envoy for Bangladesh, Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that UN-HABITAT will soon start a US$120 Million project for the urban poor in Bangladesh. The project will be in cooperation with UNDP and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and aims to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of 3 million urban poor and extremely poor people, especially women and girls.
She stated that the project, entitled: “Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction (UPPR)”, will benefit 30 cities and towns, including Dhaka, the capital city. It will also support local capacity for the development and implementation of poverty-reduction strategies at town level, she said.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also informed the envoy that at present, there are 147 partners from Bangladesh in UN-HABITAT database and that 28 of these organizations have working relations with UN-HABITAT and were accredited to the Habitat II Conference held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996.
She said that these organizations work, among other areas, to enhance peoples’ participation in the decision-making processes through development of advisory services and for the improvement of the quality of life and the living environment of the low-income sectors of the society.
The Executive Director congratulated the envoys on their appointments and stated that she would be happy if the countries fulfilled their obligations to UN-HABITAT.
She presented the envoys withsome UN-HABITAT publications, including the flagship reports: “Global Report on Human Settlements” and the “State of World’s Cities Report”.
In their response, both Mr. Bowoleksono of Indonesia and Mr. Shamsuddin of Bangladesh expressed appreciation for the various UN-HABITAT activities in their countries and gave the assurance that their Governments would continue to support UN-HABITAT and its programmes.