The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, has praised the good relationship between the organization and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mrs. Tibaijuka was speaking today while receiving the credentials from the new Saudi Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat, Mr. Ghorm Said Malhan.
Mrs. Tibaijuka and Mr. Malhan.
The Executive Director noted that the Committee for the Palestinian People Relief (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) provided USD6.3 million for improving housing and living conditions in Palestinian occupied territories – a project being undertaken in collaboration with UN-Habitat. The objective of the project is to improve the livelihood of poor women and their families through the construction of 100 housing units and income-generating projects in Hebron.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also noted that in another agreement between the Committee for the Palestinian People Relief (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and UN-HABITAT, the committee provided USD1.59 million for the establishment of the technical and vocational centre also in Hebron.
She said that UN-Habitat Global Urban Observatory in cooperation with UNDP Saudi Arabia supported the Medina AlMounawara Authority to establish its urban observatory. The Medina Observatory cooperated with UN-Habitat in building capacity of various other Arab Cities Observatories and jointly translated and disseminated guidelines for establishment of observatories into Arabic.
Mrs. Tibaijuka noted that due to its efforts that were fully recognized and appreciated by various Arab cities, the Medina Observatory was awarded the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour in 2009.
However, the Executive Director called on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to increase its core support to UN-Habitat, without which the organization would be handicapped to carry out its other mandates.
While noting that Saudi Arabia is a great supporter of the UN System and with very high profile within the international community, she observed, sadly, that this is not being fully extended to UN-Habitat. She informed the envoy that the Governing of Council of UN-Habitat has been calling on countries to adopt the voluntary assessed contribution and appealed to Saudi Arabia to do so.
She also called on the country to support the Urban Safety Programme of UN-Habitat, its youth activities, and the hosting of the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF6) to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2012.
Mrs. Tibaijuka congratulated Mr. Malhan on his appointment and wished him a successful tenure. She presented the envoy with some important publications of the organization, including her own book entitled: “Building Prosperity.” She said that she wrote the book as a capacity building tool when she discovered that many educational institutions neglect the teaching of housing finance.
Responding, Mr. Malhan assured the Executive Director that he would take up the issues raised with his Government. He pledged his country’s continued support to the projects in the Palestinian Territories.
Mr. Malhan informed the Executive Director that his country has a new committee charged with the responsibility of building houses for all citizens and added that his country was also working with the private sector in this area.