The twenty-third biennial meeting of governments in the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT closed in Nairobi on Friday with top officials describing it as a resounding success for the agency.
The governments, which approved the work programme and budget for the coming two years, also gave the Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, the green light to begin preparations for a Habitat III meeting in the year 2016.
The 2016 meeting is a major summit of world governments on cities that has so far met every twenty years. The first in Vancouver in 1976 led to the creation of the agency, and the second in Istanbul in 1996 produced the Habitat Agenda, a global blueprint for better, more sustainable, equitable, greener cities better able to manage the huge growth of urban populations around the world.
Dr. Clos thanked governments for supporting UN-HABITAT, saying in closing speech the city had to viewed and considered as an asset rather than as a liability.
He said he would encourage a positive view of cities, and push for a new approach to urban planning which was properly applicable. He citied the importance of energy conservation in urban mobility and transport policies, as well as mitigation and adaptation measures to help cities cope better with climate change problems.
Dr. Clos said cities without slums and job creation were “two big issues to be prioritised” because the world could not close its eyes to urban inequalities.
Mr. Vincent Karega, Rwanda’s Minister for Infrastructure who chaired the weeklong deliberations, said in closing the 23rd session of the Governing Council that it had been “very fruitful”. Representatives of the regional blocs passed a vote of confidence in the agency and Dr. Clos.
All paid tribute to Inga Björk-Klevby, who steps down this month as the agency’s Deputy Executive Director. Dr. Clos paid special tributes to Daniel Biau, who retired this month as Director of UN-HABITAT’s Regional and Technical Cooperation Division, and the agency’s outgoing spokesman, Mr. Sharad Shankardass. For details, click here.