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UNCHS (UN-Habitat)

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Multilateral development institution providing technical assistance and funding throughout the world.
Brief Overview
Building Partnerships and Solutions in an Urbanizing World

The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) was established in 1978, two years after the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held in Vancouver, Canada. The Centre serves as the lead agency for the human settlements development activities of the United Nations family, as well as for the global exchange of information about human settlements conditions and trends.

Habitat's integrated programme of policy advice, operational research, technical cooperation, capacity-building and awareness-raising focuses on priority areas defined by Governments through the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements, its governing body, and contained in the Centre's Work Programme. These areas are:

  • Shelter and social services;
  • urban management;
  • environment and infrastructure; and
  • assessment, information and monitoring.

Currently, Habitat has 235 operational programmes and projects underway in 80 countries, focusing on capacity-building, human settlements management and development, basic services and infrastrucure, and housing. The Centre's principal collaborating partners in the UN system are: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Health Organization (WHO). Habitat also closely collaborates with bilateral and external assistance agencies, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), associations of local authorities, parliamentary associations, women and youth organizations and private sector bodies.

At present, Habitat is in the process of re-organization which will enable it to effectively spearhead the global implementation of the Habitat Agenda -- the Global Plan of Action adopted at the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held in Istanbul, Turkey in June 1996. To execute the key functions outlined in the Habitat Agenda, and to meet the expectations of partners and national Governments alike, the existing organizational structure and working methods of the Centre are being re-focused to converge on its new strategic tasks and responsibilities. The Centre's medium-term plan for 1998-2001, approved by the UN General Assembly at its fifty-first session, has the implementation of the Habitat Agenda as its primary goal.

Contact Information
website: http://www.unhabitat.org/
telephone: (254-2) 621234
fax: (254-2) 624266/7
e-mail: habitat@unhabitat.org
executive officer: Dr. Klaus Töpfer,
Director-General, Head
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

Stated Goals
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