News > Press releases > A new Habitat for the ...

Press releases

A new Habitat for the new millennium

General Assembly resolution elevates the Commission on Human Settlements to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, to be known as UN-Habitat

General Assembly resolution elevates the Commission on Human Settlements to
the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, to be known as UN-Habitat

Nairobi, 2 January, 2002: As of 1 January, 2002, The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and its governing body has been elevated to a fully fledged United Nations Human Settlements Programme, to be known as UN-Habitat. The General Assembly of the United Nations transformed the status of the Commission during its fifty-sixth session, in its resolution A/Res/56/206: Strengthening the mandate and status of the Commission on
Human Settlements and the status, role and function of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.

The adoption of the resolution means that the new United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, will be in a better position to help governments and other partners to implement the Habitat Agenda, and to meet the Millennium Declaration's goal of improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. 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 all over the world in post-conflict situations.

"The year 2002 begins with a new Habitat for a new Millennium" said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat. "Our challenge is now to use its enhanced institutional profile to better serve its core mission of prioritizing the brown agenda. 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."

Earlier last year, in June 2001, governments called for the strengthening of the Commission on Human Settlements and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements in the Declaration on Cities and other Human Settlements which was adopted at the Special Session of the General Assembly, commonly known as Istanbul + 5. In response to this request, the Secretary-General's
report 'On reviewing and strengthening the mandate and status of the Commission on Human Settlements and the status, role and function of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)' (A/56/618) outlined the rationale for the elevation of Habitat to the rank of a United Nations Programme. The report set out the main accomplishments of the Commission on
Human Settlements and of its secretariat since the establishment of the Centre in 1978. It further states that because of its long experience in discharging its role and functions in the field of human settlements, the Centre had acquired the traits of a full programme. The adoption of the
resolution brings to a conclusion the process of revitalization that was started over 2 years ago by Mr. Klaus Toepfer, then Acting Executive Director of Habitat, and successfully continued by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka since her appointment as Executive Director in October 2000.

The resolution goes beyond the designation of the new programme UN-Habitat. It contains many provisions aimed at improving its operational capability. The governing body, to be known as the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, will report to the General Assembly through ECOSOC, with the Committee of Permanent Representatives to Habitat to serve as the Governing Council's inter-sessional subsidiary body. The Centre as it has been known so far will retain its present role, mandate and functions and shall operate as the Programme's Secretariat. But by virtue of its elevation to programme status, Habitat will be better able to enhance its co-operation with all other agencies of the United Nations system, which operates under the leadership of the Secretary-General within the framework of the Chief Executives Board for Co-ordination. The programme will be headed by an Executive Director at the level of Under-Secretary-General to be nominated by the Secretary-General and
elected by the General Assembly.

The resolution also encourages the Executive Director to strengthen the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation in order to achieve its primary objective of supporting shelter, related infrastructure development programmes and housing finance institutions, particularly in
developing countries. It invites all governments to increase their contributions to the Foundation to enhance the capacity of the Programme, and encourages the Executive Director to continue her fund-raising appeals and initiatives for substantive increase of Foundation resources. And it
requests the Secretary-General to continue to support the programme through the provision of adequate regular budget resources.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme will continue to operate out of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, which also hosts the United Nations Environment Programme. The institutional upgrading of Habitat will also strengthen the Nairobi location, in line with the report of the Secretary-General on UN reform.


For further information, please contact:
Sharad Shankardass
Spokesperson
Press & Media Relations
Office of the Executive Director
United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat
P O Box 30030
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254-2-623153; Mobile: 254 (0) 733 760332
Fax: 254-2-624060
Website: http://www.unchs.org, http://www.un-habitat.org

Wednesday 02 Jan 2002
All (1051)
2014 (3)
2013 (13)
2012 (7)
2011 (29)
2010 (34)
2009 (54)
2008 (48)
2007 (31)
2006 (31)
2005 (38)
2004 (44)
2003 (85)
2002 (104)
October (10)
August (13)
July (3)
June (11)
May (7)
April (4)
March (6)
January (11)
2001 (114)
2000 (71)
1999 (143)
1998 (119)
1997 (76)
1996 (7)