The Governing Council is responsible for making decisions concerning the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). It meets every two years, and from May 8th through May 12th, the Governing Council hosted its 26th conference, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya. Any state that pertains to the UN is invited to participate in the Governing Council, but it is also open to certain organizations and groups that dedicate themselves to habitat agendas.
Why is this important?
Each conference begins in a similar way: the first two days are nonstop with activities, while the third day focuses on action and negotiations between governments, law enforcement, and groups. There was a particular focus—or theme—for the conference that just took place, which was to focus on the aftermath of the New Urban Agenda that was implemented during the Conference on Housing and Development. That particular conference took place in Quito, Ecuador in October of 2016.
Strong emphasis was placed on sustainability, but also on the importance of comfortability when it comes to housing. As such, the focus was on creating a plan of action that would allow for sustainable housing and space. Sustainable urbanization was also of major interest, which naturally brought about the question of affordable opportunities and financing. In attempting to create a path toward sustainable urbanization, there was also an emphasis on integrated human settlements.
Less pertinent, but just as important to discuss, the Governing Council also discussed matters concerning UN-Habitat—activities, in particular, and the budget that the UN-Habitat would have to plan around during the 2018-2019 period. Each conference focuses on the overall theme of sustainability, regardless of the particular issues that arise prior to each conference.
The overall message that the Governing Council hopes to get across during each conference is of utmost importance, because the message is basically an encouraging reminder that this work matters. It must get done, and this is a way to reflect on progress—as well as errors—and design pivotal next steps to keep moving forward. Ultimately, the objective is to create a plan of action that will enable the Governing Council and affiliates to encourage—and enable—the spread of sustainable urban development and relevant issues.
Learn more about Governing Council and UN-Habitat: https://unhabitat.org/gc26/