l-r: Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and Mr. Mr. Luis Javier Campuzano Piña of Mexico.
Two new envoys today presented their credentials to the Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. They are the Permanent Representative of Mexico, Mr. Luis Javier Campuzano Piña, and his counterpart from the Philippines, Mr. Domingo D. Lucenario, Jr.
Meeting the envoys separately, Mrs. Tibaijuka briefed them on the activities of UN-HABITAT worldwide with particular emphasis on what the organization was doing in their respective countries.
The Executive Director informed the Mexican envoy, Mr. Piña, that the Habitat Country Programme Document (HCPD) for 2008-2009 had been approved and signed by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Ministry of Social Development and that the new HCPD for 2010-2012 was in progress. She stated that the cooperation framework for 2010-2011 was also in progress.
The Executive Director stated that UN-HABITAT and the Mexican Government were also working on technical cooperation on violence prevention through the design and building of public spaces in poor communities. She added that the organization coordinated the participation of the Mexican Delegation to the World Forum of Youth at Risk held in South Africa in 2008.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also stated that UN-HABITAT was working with various states and municipalities of Mexico on observatories, local urban plans, local economic development and working in Cities and Climate Change Initiative. She noted that the City of Aguascalientes has made major efforts to integrate climate change concerns in planning, budgeting and service delivery.
The Executive Director stated that a national Dialogue on Decentralization and Governance took place in September 2009 with the Mexican institution, INAFED, and that several municipal associations now follow UN-HABITAT Decentralization Guidelines.
She informed the envoy that UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award 2009 was given to the Mexican cement company, CEMEX, for its achievement in the project “Crece tu Casa y Tú Patrimonio Hoy.”
She recalled that in 2008, Mexico was also one of the 12 winners of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices, and that the prize went to a social movement to protect Balandra Bay, an ecological resource in Northwest Mexico.
Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that there are currently 13 organizations from Mexico, which have working relations with and are accredited to UN-HABITAT.
Some of these organizations, she stated, are dedicated to research and are also providing technical assistance to social development programmes for improving the living environment.
The Executive Director expressed gratitude to Mexico for increasing its financial contributions to UN-HABITAT since she took over the leadership of the organization. She congratulated Mr. Piña on his appointment and wished him a successful tenure.
Responding, Mr. Piña assured the Executive Director of Mexico’s continued commitment to the objectives of UN-HABITAT. He expressed appreciation to UN-HABITAT for helping the prevention of violence and encouraging safer cities in Mexico. He also noted that UN-HABITAT’s observatories in Mexico were helping the country to develop urban planning policies.
l-r: Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and Mr. Domingo D. Lucenario, Jr. of the Philippines.
Also briefing the Pilipino envoy, Mr. Lucenario Jr., the Executive Director stated that there are at present 45 organizations from the Republic of the Philippines that work with UN-HABITAT. These organizations work in different areas of development, including improving the living conditions of the poor by prov
iding and promoting the sharing of experiences and policies for better housing programmes.
Others, she said, assist in developing integrated housing information and technologies and carry out socio-economic, technical and physical studies on urban housing in specific fields of planning, urban development and construction, including building low-cost houses. She said that partnerships have also been established with organizations from the Philippines that are working to empower youth and women’s groups to fight against social exclusion.
Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that UN-HABITAT was also carrying out water and sanitation programme in the Philippines. These are located in the municipalities of Hinatuan, Jabonga, Cabusao and Siruma, and Sorsogon City
She informed the envoy that UN-HABITAT, together with other partners, is also helping to strengthen the capacity of Sorsogon City to address the impact of climate change. The project is funded by the Government of Norway.
She said that UN-HABITAT also completed cities without slum initiative for six cities in the country and helped the cities identify and implement high impact shelter projects and policies through legislative support and budget approvals.
Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that the organization was also involved in the Integrated Shelter Recovery Project in Albay, which involved the resettlement of 400 households, including provision of basic community infrastructure, selected from high risk areas rendered homeless by a landslide initiated by typhoons. The development partner for this project was the Government of Luxemburg.
While expressing appreciation to the Executive Director for the briefing and for the organization’s projects in the Philippines, Mr. Lucenario Jr. gave the assurance that his country will meet its obligations to UN-HABITAT.
Mrs. Tibaijuka presented the two envoys with some UN-HABITAT’s flagship publications and copies of her latest book entitled: Building Prosperity – Housing and Economic Development.
She invited the envoys and their countries to participate actively at the Fifth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF5) to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 22 to 26 March 2010. In particular, Mrs. Tibaijuka appealed to Mexico to sponsor the participation of some least developed countries to WUF5.