Mrs. Tibaijuka and Mr. Macharia Kamau of Kenya.
Three new Permanent Representatives today presented their credentials to the Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka.
They are: Mr. Macharia Kamau, Mr. Zdravko Bisic; and Mr. Christian Hasenbichler from Kenya, Serbia and Austria respectively.
The Executive Director separately briefed the envoys on UN-HABITAT’s projects in their respective countries and the organization’s activities globally. She recalled that UN-HABITAT was supposed to be a loan account but that this was never capitalized. She stated that this situation is currently being corrected through the Experimental Reimbursable Seeding Operation (ERSO) and the Medium Term Strategic and Institutional Plan (MTSIP).
Briefing the Kenyan envoy, the Executive Director commended Kenya for its support for UN-HABITAT’s work both in Nairobi and in New York. She gave the background to the transformation of UN-HABITAT from an agency to a fully-fledged United Nations programme and noted that the organization had experienced tremendous growth since she was appointed the head of the institution nine years ago.
Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that UN-HABITAT has a strong presence in Kibera, Nairobi, where the organization is participating in the slum upgrading project. She said that organization also provided technical and financial assistance to the municipalities of Kisii and Homa Bay in the development of their Strategic Urban Development plans. The Executive Director pointed out that there were several Kenyan staff working in UN-HABITAT.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also stated that the UN-HABITAT was supporting the Cities in Climate Change Initiative (CCCI) in Mombasa; the Dallas Integrated Basic Urban Services (BUS), Dallas Village, Embu District; the Mashariki Innovations in Local Governance Award Programme (MILGAP) for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, which aims to alleviate poverty and promote excellence in public service delivery, good governance, enhanced local democracy and decentralization. The CCCI does this by recognizing, rewarding and promoting innovative practices in local governance that bear testimony to local efforts to improve the conditions of the poor.
Mrs. Tibaijuka and Mr. Zdravko Bisic of Serbia.
Continuing, the Executive Director stated that UN-HABITAT also supports the Nairobi River Basin Project, where it contributes to the vision of the joint project with UNDP and UNEP aimed at rehabilitating, restoring and managing the Nairobi River ecosystem. The overall aim is to provide improved livelihoods especially for the poor, enhanced biodiversity, and a sustainable supply of water for domestic, industrial, recreational and emergency use for the people of Nairobi and environs.
A former staff of the United Nations with several years of experience as a United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative, among others, Mr. Kamau stated that he understood the experiences and difficulties confronting the head of an organization like UN-HABITAT. He assured Mrs. Tibaijuka that he would play “a strong and supportive role” in dealing with the affairs of the organization.
Mr. Kamau noted that the future of Kenya was bright because of the active civil society and a free and vibrant press.
Briefing Mr. Bisic, Mrs. Tibaijuka noted that UN-HABITAT was now on very sound foundation and that all that was needed was to strengthen it. She stated that the UN-HABITAT Office in Belgrade was opened November 2001.
The Executive Director stated that on-going projects and activities include the Settlement and Integrated Local Development (SILD) programme in Serbia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina; and provides support to national efforts for promoting peace building in Southern Serbia.
Mrs. Tibaijuka Mr. Christian Hasenbichler of Austria.
In her briefing to Mr. Hasenbichler, the Executive Director expressed appreciation for the country’s financial support to the organization. She noted that the city of Vienna, Austria’s capital is a long-standing and very active member of the Best Practices Steering Committee.
She recalled that the Best Practices Hub in Vienna was established in 1999 to serve as a regional focal point for Central and Eastern Europe. The Hub also identifies and documents best practices on environmentally sustainable infrastructure and technical solutions including their implementation and transfer.
Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that a project proposal entitled, “Sustainable local water governance in Africa” has been developed and called on the envoy to help ensure that the project takes off soon.
The Executive Director presented the envoys with some UN-HABITAT’s flagship publications and invited them to participate fully at the Fifth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF5) to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 22-26March 2009.