News in 2013

24th Session of UN-Habitat’s Governing Council

Nairobi, Kenya 15 - 19 April 2013


The 24th Session of UN-Habitat’s Governing Council held between April 15th and 19th 2013 has the theme ‘Sustainable Development: The role of cities in creating improved economic opportunities for all, with special reference to youth and gender’. The 24th Session was officiated by His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s recently elected President. The Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) meets every two years to review and examine its activities and programs. It is a high-level forum for governments at the ministerial level during which policy guidelines and the organization's budget are established for the next two-year period.

UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon (whose speech was read on his behalf) said that since 2007, when urban population surpassed fifty percent of the world’s population, urbanization has continued unabated. The UN Secretary General noted further that “the majority of the world’s urban growth is taking place in developing countries, where many urban centers already have inadequate infrastructure and where many authorities are looking for ways to respond adequately to the demands of their rapidly expanding urban populations, especially the young and the poor”.

UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos reminded the governing council “how we develop our villages, towns and cities in the near future will have a significant impact on the quality of life of millions of citizens’

The governing council began is business on April 15th with the election of Ms. Amal Pepple, the Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development for the Federal Republic of Nigeria as President of UN-Habitat’s 24th Session of the Governing Council. She replaced Mr. Albert Nsengiyumva, the Minister of Infrastructure of Rwanda who was the president of the 23rd Session of the Governing Council.

The 24th Session was attended by approximately 1150 delegates from about 110 countries that included observers. FIG was represented by President CheeHai Teo at the 24th Session and during the week, he also participated in the meetings of the Habitat Professional Forum (April 15th), the World Urban Campaign (April 18th) where FIG is a Lead Partner by virtue of its existing MoU for collaborative activities with UN-Habitat. FIG President also facilitated a side event on “securing land tenure in the context of women empowerment” on April 16th. At the side event, President CheeHai Teo remarked that it is FIG’s privilege, as part of the Global Land Tool Network, to work with civil society organization and their grassroots groups and for FIG, the journey to secure land tenure in the context of women empowerment is a journey worth taking. This side event is organized by Huairou Commission, a partner within the Global Land Tool Network, supported and facilitated by GLTN Secretariat. The event began with an opening statement by the Government of Norway (Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development) and followed by a presentation, an overview of key characteristics of secure tenure and developments to date, from Dr Clarissa Augustinus, Unit Leader: Global Land Tool Network, UN-Habitat. The event was closed with closing remarks from Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-Habitat.

During the week, the FIG President also had a series of meetings with GLTN Secretariat on various collaborative activities including the Surveyor Generals/Director Generals of national cadastre, survey and mapping agencies roundtable at FIG’s 2013 Working Week in Abuja, Nigeria. FIG President, as chair of GLTN Professional Cluster, attended the GLTN International Advisory Board Meeting held on April 19th. The IAB considered and deliberated on various issues concerning the Network as well as opportunities. FIG will host a breakfast meeting at its Working Week in Abuja for other partners within GLTN’s Professional Cluster as a follow-up activity. The IAB also decided to hold its 2013 Partners Meeting in The Netherlands with Dutch Partners within GLTN playing host.

In his policy address, UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos observed a change in urbanization that is no longer driven by industrialization, as was the case in the previous centuries. Urbanization is taking place without parallel industrialization and this presented, he opined, a new set of challenges that need to be addressed. Internal prioritization of UN-Habitat’s program, he reported, focus on three aspects. The first is urban legislation because urbanization cannot be addressed without rule of law. It should be noted that GLTN sits within Urban Legislation, Land and Governance Branch of the UN-Habitat. The second is the relevance of urban planning and the third is urban economy.

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CheeHai TEO
April 2013

21 May 2013