Nairobi, Kenya, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to UN-Habitat Governing Council [delivered by Mrs Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General, United Nations Office in Nairobi]
I am pleased to send greetings to the 24th UN-Habitat Governing Council. You have an important role in building a sustainable future. With more than half the global population living in towns and cities, urbanization continues unabated. Most urban growth is in developing countries, where infrastructure is often inadequate, and meeting the needs of rapidly expanding urban populations, especially the young and the poor, presents formidable challenges.
Experience has shown that these challenges can be overcome. The Millennium Development Goals target of improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 has already been surpassed. However, because of rapid urbanization, there are more slum dwellers now than in 2000, often living without adequate sanitation or affordable access to safe water. As we look forward to the period post-2015, we must build on successes and attend to unfinished business so towns and cities can become models and drivers of sustainability.
Urban centres provide a major opportunity to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. Governments recognized this in the Rio+20 outcome when they stated that, “through integrated planning and management approaches, cities can promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable societies.”
UN-Habitat can provide critical support to Member States to realize these opportunities. I am encouraged that UN-Habitat’s proposed Strategic Plan for 2014-2019 and biennial Programme Budget for 2014-2015, which the Governing Council is considering at this session, address both the challenges and opportunities of urbanization.
I hope, too, that the Governing Council will provide guidance to the Secretary-General of the Habitat III conference, as requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 67/216, and that the Council will advance the reform of the governance of UN-Habitat.
Please accept my best wishes for the success of your deliberations.
Statements on 15 April 2013
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at the ceremony to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at ceremony for handover of paintings by Chinese Artist Wang Linxu
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on attacks in Mogadishu, Somalia
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council on prevention of conflicts in Africa: Addressing the Root Causes
- Oslo, Norway, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's video message to the Oslo Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Gaborone, Botswana, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [delivered by Mr. Muburi-Muita, Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union]
- Johannesburg, South Africa, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to the Global Newborn Health Conference [delivered by Dr. Agostinho Zacarias, Resident Coordinator in South Africa]
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to Dubai Global Energy Forum