Global perspective Human stories

To boost its human settlements effort, UN upgrades Habitat centre in Nairobi

To boost its human settlements effort, UN upgrades Habitat centre in Nairobi

Seeking to improve the lives of the world's 100 million slum dwellers, the United Nations has upgraded its shelter-related operations in Nairobi, Kenya, to a fully-fledged UN Human Settlements Programme, to be known as UN-Habitat.

Stemming from a December 2001 UN General Assembly resolution, the move aims to strengthen the role and status of the two predecessor entities - the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), and its governing body, the UN Commission on Human Settlements.

As result of this institutional transformation, UN-Habitat will be in a better position to help governments and other partners to implement the Habitat Agenda adopted by the 1996 UN conference in Istanbul, Turkey. UN-Habitat will be called upon not only to do its statutory work, but also to help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of cities, towns and villages recovering from conflicts in different parts of the world.

“The year 2002 begins with a new Habitat for a new Millennium” said Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat. “Improving the state of human settlements, housing and urban infrastructure is critical if we are to help over one billion poor people who are deprived of the basic fundamental attributes of human dignity – a decent home and an acceptable living environment.”

The UN Human Settlements Programme will continue to operate out of the UN Office at Nairobi, which also hosts the UN Environment Programme. The institutional upgrading of Habitat is considered to be a key component of strengthening the Nairobi location - one of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's long-standing goals for UN reform.

UN-Habitat's governing body, to be known as the Governing Council, will report to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with the Committee of Permanent Representatives to Habitat to serve as the Governing Council's inter-sessional subsidiary body.