Representatives of Palestine and Iran, amongst others, congratulated UN-HABITAT on its activities and programs in their respective countries. Member States, including Australia and the United States, congratulated UN-HABITAT for its relentless support during the negotiations at 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
Delegates at the special meeting also cited their concern at the rate of urbanization that was causing considerable strain on natural resources (land, water) and food resources. They suggested that particular attention should be paid to improving housing finance, seeking balanced territorial development, promoting equitable access to land and better land use planning, considering gender dimension, and improving rural and urban infrastructure.
The 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development focused on food, agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.
In her keynote address to the session, she said: “Cities are fundamental to the food security issue and that without putting them into the equation we will not solve the food security problem.”
Mrs. Tibaijuka’s statement during the meeting, along with other high level interventions contributed significantly to final text of the the 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Other UN-HABITAT inputs brought to the attention of the delegates during two weeks negotiations were adequately reflected in the final document. Besides urban and local matters, they include youth, governance, gender and Africa.
Four side events of particular interest to UN-HABITAT were: (1) ‘Urban food security’ for all - possibility or wishful thinking?’ by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a keynote address, Erik Berg, Senior Advisor at the the ministry, cited a lack of political will, social solidarity, and a commitment to urban sustainability., (2) ‘Urban-Rural Linkages for Food Security and Vibrant Markets – Regions Feeding Cities’ organized by the International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture, (3) ‘Sustainable and Efficient Water Use in Agriculture’ sponsored by the government of Sweden, and (4) ‘Securing Women’s Rights to Land and Livelihoods: Implication to Land Policies in Nigeria’ organised by the NGO Women Environmental Programme.