The proposed launching of Habitat as the City Agency is part of a revitalisation proposal undertaken by the Acting Executive Director to make Habitat an effective UN agency capable of responding to the challenges or urbanisation in the next millennium.
"With already one half of humanity living in cities, one of the principal challenges facing the international community is how to achieve sustainable development in urban areas", said Toepfer. "It is, therefore, of the utmost urgency for the Commission and the Centre to address urban problems such as urban poverty, environmental degradation, crumbling infrastructure, crime and unemployment."
The Commission on Human Settlements, Habitat's governing body, approves the Centre's overall policy, priority and action plan. It meets every two years and comprises 58 countries, each elected for a four year term. This session is expected to bring in over 600 delegates representing Governments, local authorities, non-governmental organisation and other partner groups from all regions of the world.
Mr. Toepfer emphasised the importance of including partners such as local authorities in the work of the Commission and of the Centre, adding that such a partnership would be fundamental to the success of United Nations efforts to support local sustainable development and to facilitate the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
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