The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, has expressed the organization’s willingness to cooperate with the Government of Ethiopia to establish a proactive urban policy and urban planning in the country. Dr. Clos praised Ethiopia for its emphasis on the development of secondary cities in the country, which is part of its decentralization policy.
The Executive Director was speaking today while receiving the credentials from the new Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to UN-Habitat, H.E. Mr. Shemsudin Ahmed Roble.
Dr. Clos noted that UN-Habitat and Ethiopia have had many years of good relationship and called for further strengthening of ties between them.
Ambassador Roble thanked Dr. Clos for his offer of continued cooperation with his country and also for the support provided to his country in the area of land registration, which has made it possible for many Ethiopians including women to have certificates of their land.
He stated that the country’s emphasis is on agriculture, health care, transport, communication and infrastructural development with special emphasis on the development of the rural areas where most of the population live.
Ambassador Roble also stated that the country was working towards the reduction of slums through the Integrated Housing Development Programme (condominium housing) and other measures. He noted that the construction industry provided a lot of jobs for the citizenry. The envoy also informed the Executive Director that the country has a national urban policy, which is in line with its decentralization policy, and noted that “the urban situation in Ethiopia is improving.”
Ambassador Roble noted that Ethiopia is a very stable country and invited Dr. Clos to visit the country to explore how cooperation between UN-Habitat and the country can be further strengthened – an invitation Dr. Clos accepted.
The two also discussed the possibility of engaging a Habitat Programme Manager (HPM) for Ethiopia to ensure better coordination of the organization’s activities in the country.
It would be recalled that UN-Habitat is currently cooperating with Ethiopia in several programmes and projects, such as Water and Sanitation for African Cities, Youth and Women, Global Land Tool Network as well as slum upgrading programme through pro-poor housing policies.