UN-HABITAT Governing Council Concludes With Call for New Thinking on Cities

UN-HABITAT Executive Director Joan Clos (right) welcomes Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (centre) and Kenyan Minister of Housing Soita Shitanda (left) to the 23rd Governing Council. Photo: UN-HABITAT
[18 April 2011] – UN-HABITAT, now under the leadership of Executive Director Joan Clos, former Mayor of Barcelona and President of Metropolis, concluded its 23rd Governing Council in Nairobi 15 April with a call for new thinking on cities.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Clos called for the city to be viewed as an asset rather than as a liability. He said UN-HABITAT would advocate encourage a positive view of cities and a new approach to urban planning.
He said cities without slums and job creation were “two big issues to be prioritised” because the world could not close its eyes to urban inequalities.
Dr. Clos also cited the importance of energy conservation in urban mobility and transport policies, as well as mitigation and adaptation measures to help cities cope better with climate change problems.
The Cities Alliance was represented by William Cobbett, Manager, and Mamadou Diagne, Regional Advisor for West and Central Africa. According to the Cities Alliance team, there is significant synergy between the approach outlined by Dr. Clos and the new business model and Charter of the Cities Alliance. Mr. Cobbett said that he expected closer collaboration between the Cities Alliance and UN-HABITAT following the appointment of Dr. Clos.
The Governing Council, which meets every two years, also gave Dr. Clos the green light to begin preparations for a Habitat III meeting in 2016. The first Habitat meeting in Vancouver in 1976 led to the creation of UN-HABITAT, and the second in Istanbul in 1996 – dubbed the City Summit – produced the Habitat Agenda, a global blueprint for sustainable urban development.

UN-HABITAT also used the occasion of the Governing Council to launch Urban Gateway, an online community to help cities and urban practitioners across the world unite to share knowledge and take action for sustainable cities in a rapidly urbanising world.
For more about the 23rd Governing Council, please visit UN-HABITAT’s website.
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