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Briefing Note
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Briefing Note   Summary
18 April 2011   HTML version PDF format
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Twenty-third Session of the Governing Council of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT GC 23)

11-15 April 2011 | Nairobi, Kenya

On Friday morning, the closing plenary of GC-23 convened. Delegates heard reports from the COW and the Drafting Committee on their work during GC-23. The plenary then adopted the draft reports of the COW (HSP/GC/23/CW/L.1 and Add.1) and of GC-23 (HSP/GC/23/L.12 and Adds.1-2). The plenary also adopted 18 of the 19 draft resolutions before GC-23, with one of the resolutions (HSP/GC/23/CRP.7/Rev.1) having been withdrawn by the proposing country.

The 18 resolutions adopted by GC-23 were on issues relating to: gender equality and empowerment of women in sustainable urban development; human settlements development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; support for pro-poor housing; access to quality urban public spaces; the World Urban Forum; the implementation of the Bamako Declaration and Action Plan and strengthening of the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development; urban youth development; the third UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development; strategies and frameworks for improving the lives of slum dwellers beyond the MDGs target; future activities of UN-HABITAT in urban economy and financial mechanisms for urban upgrading, housing and basic services for the urban poor; UN-HABITAT’s work programme and budget for the biennium 2012-2013; implementation of the Guidelines on Access to Basic Services For All and the Guidelines on Decentralisation and Strengthening of Local Authorities; governance of UN-HABITAT; safer cities and urban crime prevention; country activities by UN-HABITAT; formulation of a global housing strategy; expanding equitable access to land, housing, basic services and infrastructure; and natural disaster risk reduction, preparedness, prevention and mitigation.

GC President Vincent Karega (Rwanda) gaveled GC-23 to a close at 12.10pm.

View of the UNEP Headquarters, venue for the forum.
Daily Highlights
Monday, 11 April- Tuesday, 12 April- Wednesday, 13 April- Thursday, 14 April- Friday, 15 April- Summary
Joan Clos, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, giving his closing remarks.
Delegates congratulated Inga Björk-Klevby, Deputy Executive Director, UN-HABITAT, at the end of her 5-year tour of duty.
GC-23 President Vincent Karega, Rwanda, gaveled the meeting to a close at 12:10 pm.
UN-HABITAT Executive Director Clos shakes hands with GC-23 President Karega at the end of the session.

On Thursday morning, the COW met to consider the provisional agenda and other arrangements for GC-24, and also to receive an update from the drafting committee on the status on the discussions on the draft resolutions. The drafting committee also met throughout the day to continue consideration of the draft resolutions before GC-23.

In addition, parallel events were held on topics such as: safer public spaces for women and girls; the “SymbioCity” approach; women and urban housing; land, property and housing in the Muslim world; slum upgrading in the Kibera Soweto-East area of Nairobi; a new global housing strategy to the year 2025; and sustainable urban development. The Habitat Agenda partner groups also convened to follow up on the Partners’ Platform, and representatives of private sector companies held a working group meeting.

To view web coverage of the day's events, click here.


Fodé Sakho, Senegal

GC-23 Vice President
Sergey Trepelkov
Russian Federation

Chris Mensah, UN-HABITAT

Drafting Committee Chair
Konrad Paulsen, Chile


Throughout Wednesday, delegates conducted dialogues on the special theme of GC-23. In the morning, the dialogue focused on “sustainable urban development through expanding equitable access to land and housing,” and in the afternoon, the dialogue focused on “sustainable urban development through expanding equitable access to basic services and infrastructure.” The drafting committee also met throughout the day to consider the draft resolutions before GC-23.

In addition, parallel events were held on topics such as: women and human settlements; sustainable urban development through the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries; and renewing the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development’s commitment to implementing the Bamako Declaration and Action Plan. The Urban Gateway, a global online knowledge exchange platform, was also launched, as well as two youth reports: the UN Sports and Development Report Literature Survey of Youth; and the background paper for the State of the Urban Youth Report 2012-2013.

To view web coverage of the day's events, click here.

Dialogue on the Special Theme of GC-23
The panel during the afternoon dialogue on sustainable urban development through expanding equitable access to basic services and infrastructure.
Dhamikka Wijaysingha, Ministry of Construction and Engineering Services,
Sri Lanka
Muchadeyi Masunda, Mayor of Harare and Co-President of the United Cities and Local Governments
Stéphane Quéré, Co-Chair, Urban Infrastructure Initiative, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Jane Nyakairu, UN-HABITAT
Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-HABITAT
Participants during the launch.
Kosit Chatpaiboon, Thailand, said certain elements are needed for effective urban planning, such as ensuring the inclusiveness of the urban planning process, in particular by including city dwellers, the private sector and youth in the process.
Priscilla Beukes, Namibia, described a special fund set up to provide financial assistance to local authorities.

Ayman H.A. El Hag, Sudan, drew attention to his Government’s urban development fund, a percentage of which is allocated to fund housing projects for the underprivileged.

Vincent Dabilaou, Burkina Faso, expressed support for
UN-HABITAT’s new vision, saying he hoped that this vision would be carried out so that
UN-HABITAT will continue to be an institution that can assist when disaster strikes.

Gian Luigi Faure, EU Council
Bettina Lorz, EU

Drafting Committee Chair
Konrad Paulsen, Chile

Vinson Hailulu, Namibia


The 23rd Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) opened on Monday, 11 April. Delegates met in a morning plenary to hear welcoming and opening statements. Delegates were treated to a musical presentation titled “My Musical Korogocho” performed by Ghetto Classic, youth from a low-income residential area in Nairobi, and also watched a video presentation of UN-HABITAT's contribution to the rebuilding of Haiti after the earthquake, through a musical competition for reconstruction in Haiti, titled “My neighbourhood as I dream it.”

In the morning and afternoon, the high-level segment addressed: activities of UN-HABITAT, including coordination matters; the special theme of GC-23; and the work programme and budget for the biennium 2012-2013. The Committee of the Whole met in the afternoon to discuss activities of UN-HABITAT, including coordination matters.

To view web coverage of the day's events, click here.

Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-HABITAT, presented his new vision for UN-HABITAT.
Kenya's President H.E. Mwai Kibaki officially opened the 23rd Session of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council.
Outgoing GC-22 President Clifford Warmington, Jamaica, welcomed delegates to the session.
Ana Maria Sampaio Fernandes, Brazil
Gerardo Carrillo, Venezuela

Tirop Kosgey, Kenya

Nerissa Cook, US

Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, UN-HABITAT
COW Chair Liu Guangyuan, China
Mohamed Halfani, UN-HABITAT


Delegates from Iran.

Part of the Kenyan delegation.

Messengers of Truth for water performed at the closing plenary.


Sharad Shankardass, UN-HABITAT moderated the session.
The dais during the press conference.
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