The first session of the Executive Board for 2023 of UN-Habitat opened in Nairobi with speakers seeing a brighter future for the organization. Among the key issues to be considered during the sessions is the financial status of UN-Habitat, including an update on the financial reserve and an updated model for the non-earmarked budget. The session will also hear a briefing on the second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly and preparations for the twelfth session of the World Urban Forum.
The chair of the Executive Board, Ambassador Silvio Alburquque, opened the meeting and expressed his satisfaction with the efforts made so far by UN-Habitat in improving its financial status from deficit to surplus.
In her speech, the Director General of UNON, Zainab Hawa Bangura, briefed the meeting on post-COVID measures taken by her management.
“We are keen and committed to making our complex a safe haven, which will enable you to meet and deliberate on your critical mandate with our colleagues in UN-Habitat, UNEP, and other UN agencies represented here,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the host country, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Zachary Njeru said the current meeting of the Executive Board demonstrated the commitment that member states have to strengthen the accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of this organization.
“I am delighted to recognize the efforts of the Executive Director in fundraising and note that for the first time in 12 years, UN-Habitat has realized a surplus of USD 5.5 million in the non-earmarked foundation funds and managed to repay some funds to the pending loan,” he said.
While saying that his country was committed to paying their regular annual voluntary contribution to UN-Habitat, the Cabinet Secretary, however, lamented the low contributions from member states to the agency.
“I wish to urge Member States to honour their commitments by providing the much-needed financial support, especially in non-earmarked contributions, which are vital for the normative work of the agency,” he said.
The President of the UN-Habitat Assembly and Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico, Martha Delgado, noted that the Executive Board meeting was taking place only two months away from the second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly that will take place in Nairobi.
“Today, this subject is more important than ever, as last year the world population reached 8 billion people. In this regard, we are facing a challenging global milestone making us re-evaluate our shared responsibility for people and our planet.
Therefore, we look forward to hearing your recommendations as to what should be considered a priority for the next UN-Habitat Assembly. The COVID-19 pandemic and the current global crises have clearly demonstrated that the mandate of UN-Habitat is needed to move firmly towards sustainable development and avoid a shortage of basic urban services,” she said.
UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Shariff told the meeting that although 2022 was particularly challenging, with the guidance of the Secretary-General and his team, as well as the Member States, UN-Habitat was able to strengthen its mandate. She stressed that UN-Habitat is needed now more than ever.
“Whilst we are rapidly urbanizing, we are also facing powerful storms and crippling droughts. Man-made disasters are also leading to greater urban crises. The people we serve need us to focus on delivering urban solutions to improve their quality of life. The younger generation is looking at us to do better,” she said.
Shariff said UN-Habitat would re-double efforts to ensure it helps the Member States deliver on their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. “We are now preparing the progress report on the implementation of SDG Goal 11, which will be presented at the High-Level Political Forum in New York in July,” she concluded.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Habitat.