The 2010 European celebration of World Habitat Day in Brussels last week was attended by senior European and Belgian officials.
The European celebration on Monday 4 October highlighted the importance of partnership between the European Union and UN-HABITAT. The partnership is symbolised in part by new European funding to the tune of euros 10 million (USD 13.3 million) announced last month to help improve the living conditions of slum dwellers in all the 79 Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Gracing the occasion as guest of honour was Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mrs. Isabelle Durant, a Member of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Substitute Member in the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport. She cited the importance of cities “at the heart of sustainable development”.
She also said there was a need to foster a better quality of life in cities through reducing the effects of climate change by adopting measures to lower energy and fuel consumption in urban areas, particularly carbon emissions by the transport sector in developed countries.
Calling cities “the hot spots” of climate change, she advocated change in consumption habits, lifestyle and practices, concluding that cities must adopt good urban governance policies, remain active in exchanging good urban practices and most importantly - develop innovative models of urban mobility.
Ms. Durant expressed her wish to continue cooperation with UN-HABITAT on these matters.
Keynote speaker, Mr. Pierre Valette, from the European Commission’s Research Directorate, delivered a presentation on the “World and European Cities – Insights from EU Research”, a publication co-authored by his Directorate and UN-HABITAT - another symbol of the longstanding tradition of partnership between the agency and the EU’s executive, the European Commission.
Mr. Valette spoke about the European Commission’s concept of Cities of Tomorrow and how to make them more sustainable and better places tin which to live in the face of contemporary urban and environmental challenges.
Mr. Jean Bakole, Director of UN-HABITAT Representation Office to the European Union and Belgium, inaugurated the event and Ms. Afsané Bassir-Pour, Director of United nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC), presented the message of the United Nations Secretary General.