First UN-Habitat Assembly opens Monday

Written By: Christine Muchira
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First UN-Habitat Assembly
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UN-Habitat, the United Nations Agency and focal point on sustainable urbanization, will officially open its first UN-Habitat Assembly on Monday.

The week-long event will be attended by four Heads of State, over 40 ministers and high-level representatives from 116 countries. This first UN-Habitat Assembly will be attended by over 3,000 delegates.

The UN-Habitat Assembly, held at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, will run for five days with a Ministerial Declaration expected on Friday.

Joining senior representatives of national and local governments are civil society and NGOs, business leaders, academics, experts and other United Nations agencies.

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The UN-Habitat Assembly was established by the United Nations General Assembly through a resolution endorsed on 20 December 2018, to help strengthen UN-Habitat’s mandate. The Assembly will meet every four years.

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The UN-Habitat Assembly is the highest-level decision-making body focused on sustainable urbanization and human settlements. It has universal membership of all 193 United Nations Member States who will be meeting in Nairobi to frame the global urbanization agenda, pass resolutions and provide strategic guidance to UN-Habitat in its work.

Kenya’s President, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, will officially open the UN-Habitat Assembly on Monday.

He will return on Wednesday and take part in a High-Level Strategic Dialogue with other Heads of State and Government, including the President of South Sudan and the Prime Ministers of Fiji and Yemen.

There will be several special events around the Plenary meeting of national governments including a Ministerial Roundtable on mobilising commitments for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit 2019, a Partnership and Pledging Conference in support of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, a Local and Regional Governments’ Forum and a Gender Breakfast with the First Lady of Kenya, H.E. Margaret Kenyatta.

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In addition, there will be over 50 side events on topics including affordable housing, the blue economy, livable Somali cities, safe cities for girls, climate action and frontier technology as well as press events on urban displacement.

Other activities include youth dialogues, media training on virtual reality, a hackathon, receptions and concerts.

Driver of change

The UN-Habitat Assembly will also feature a special promotional exhibition on next year’s World Urban Forum 10 in Abu Dhabi.

The theme of the UN-Habitat Assembly, Innovation for a better quality of life in cities and communities, will be evident throughout the United Nations compound from the Urban Expo featuring innovations from over 40 companies, a look at 40 milestones of innovation in UN-Habitat’s 40 year history, a chance to

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use a version of the computer game Minecraft to redesign the United Nations compound alongside four different eco-houses.

“The UN-Habitat Assembly provides a fantastic opportunity for us all to inspire each other with new ideas and examples of how we have used innovation to maximize the opportunities offered by urbanization and overcome the challenges,” said the UN-Habitat Executive Director, MS. Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

“This UN-Habitat Assembly will be a driver of change.”

UN-Habitat is a focal point on sustainable urbanization and human settlements within the United Nations System and has programmes in some 90 countries with its headquarters in Nairobi.

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