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
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.
21 May 2013