Welcoming address by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka,
and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT
at the reception co-hosted with
the Government of the Federative Republic Brazil
at 22nd session of the
Governing Council of UN-HABITAT,
Nairobi, Kenya, 30 March 2009.
Your Excellency the President of the Governing Council, Mr. Clifford Warmington;
Your Excellency Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Brazil Mrs. Ana Maria Sampaio Fernandes,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors, Permanent Representatives and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Your Worship, President of United Cities and Local Governments, all Mayors and your delegations,
Representatives of Professional Habitat Agenda Partners, the Private Sector and Civil Society Representatives,
Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to say a big word of welcome to you all this evening. We are holding this event with thanks to the wonderful generosity of the Government of the Federal Government of Brazil, and the City of Rio de Janeiro, hosts to the fifth session of the World Urban Forum.
So I ask you all to raise a glass of CAIPIRINHA, and join me in a special toast to Her Excellency, Mrs. Fernandes, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Brazil.
For those of you who are tasting this drink for the first time, the caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil! It is every bit as interesting and exciting as the wonderful logo that Brazilian artists have designed for the Forum. Those of you who get a chance to browse our exhibition in the main lobby will be able to see it prominently displayed.
And so we say OBRIGADO – which means thank you or much obliged to be exact - to Brazil and to the City of Rio de Janeiro where the Forum will be held next year!
As most of you are aware, the World Urban Forum has become, in a few short years, the world’s pre-eminent gathering of minds, of ideas and of actions to make our cities greener, cleaner, economically vibrant and socially more inclusive.
Our friends from Nanjing are here with us and tonight we, symbolically we are passing the torch from Nanjing to Rio, not for the Olympics but for something that touches all of our hearts and our minds – Better cities for better lives!
We are deeply honoured to greet you all this evening, especially those who have travelled from so many countries to be here for our important deliberations.
Indeed, I am informed that as of this afternoon more than 600 delegates from 101 countries are already here and more are coming. This is indeed wonderful! It is testimony to the seriousness with which you all take the cause of better cities for better life!
And now, as we enjoy the wonderful Brazilian food on offer tonight, I welcome back again our GC22 entertainers, the Albino Revolutionary Dancing Troupe from my home country, Tanzania. I hope you will enjoy their show and the special performance also being put on here by the Pillars of Kibera Dancers Troupe.
Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
With so much work still ahead of us in coming days, I invite you all now to take some time off to relax and enjoy a special evening. And do not forget to take a closer look at the painting, “Bridging the urban divide”