The new Permanent Representative of Djibouti to UN-HABITAT, Mr. Aden Houssein Abdillahi, on Wednesday presented his credentials to the Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka.
|Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and Mr. Aden Houssein Abdillahi|
The Executive Director informed the new envoy that the cooperation between Djibouti and UN-HABITAT started more than 15 years ago during which two projects have been executed in the country.
The first project was the implementation by UN-HABITAT of a social housing construction programme in Balbala in the city of Djibouti, with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). This project provided about 1,000 houses with basic infrastructure for the low-income members of the population.
She told the envoy that, as a result of the high recovery rate of 90% from this programme, the Government had created a "Development Fund for Social Housing". With input from other financial partners in the country, this fund is currently carrying out extensive housing programmes in the country.
She stated that UN-HABITAT has also helped Djibouti develop a national housing policy, which led to the harmonization of legislation governing urban development, housing construction and the revitalization of the real estate sector.
Mrs. Tibaijuka further stated that the creation of a reliable institutional environment has resulted in the mobilization of significant resources for housing programmes that are currently going on in Djibouti with funding from Arab partners.
She said that Djibouti now wants to further strengthen its cooperation with UN-HABITAT and called on the envoy to help make this a reality.
Noting that the idea of free housing is not possible, Mrs. Tibaijuka informed the envoy that UNHABITAT was introducing the Experimental Reimbursable Seeding Operation (ERSO) as an innovative housing finance system for the poor.
The Executive Director congratulated the envoy on his appointment and took the opportunity to call on Djibouti to participate fully at the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum to be held in Nanjing, China, from 3-6 November 2008.
She also called on all Permanent Representatives to UN-HABITAT to personally attend the Forum, noting that it is mainly through the participation of the Permanent Representatives, who work on UN-HABITAT issues on a daily basis, that the objectives of the Forum can be fully achieved.
Responding, Mr. Abdillahi said that housing is a big challenge in Djibouti and gave the assurance that he would work hard to further strengthen the existing relationship between UN-HABITAT and Djibouti. He invited the Executive Director to visit Djibouti to see for herself how UN-HABITAT can assist the country in its efforts to house the population.