The 26th Governing Council of UN-Habitat came to a successful conclusion on Friday. Highlights included a USD 11 million commitment for improving life in slums and a new housing profile for Afghanistan to cope with the influx of IDPs.
The 26th Governing Council of UN-Habitat was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 8 to 12 May. Attended by some 650 delegates representing governments, partners and stakeholders, it was the first meeting of the Governing Council to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, which sets the global strategy around urbanisation for the next two decades, according to a UN-Habitat statement.
One of the session’s first tasks was to elect the president of the governing council. India was unanimously elected to the two-year post, and the country’s housing and urban poverty alleviation minister, Venkaiah Naidu, will serve on behalf of his country. Naidu called his election recognition of India’s efforts in the field of inclusive and sustainable urban development such as the Smart Cities Mission, a government programme to develop 100 cities across the country that are citizen friendly and sustainable.
During the session, a new USD 11 million was secured for a programme to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The will cover the years 2017-2021. UN-Habitat estimates that one billion people live in slums worldwide, and that number could rise to more than 3 billion by 2030 if no action is taken.
Other highlights from the week-long session include an Urban Peace Lab Program to offer training to former youth combatants in Colombia, and a new housing profile for Afghanistan to create around 40,000 new housing units to cope with the rapid urban population growth brought about by the influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), a growing number of returnees and rural migrants, and natural population growth. The housing profile will focus on building a housing finance market that caters to the actual needs and capacities of Afghans, while also targeting the reintegration of returnees and IDPs to build sustainable communities.
Image credit: UN-Habitat