United Nations Human Settlements Programme

United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Abbreviation UN-Habitat
Formation 1978 (1978)
Type Programme[1]
Legal status Active
Headquarters Nairobi, Kenya
Executive Director of UN-Habitat
Maimunah Mohd Sharif[2]
Parent organization
United Nations
Website http://www.unhabitat.org

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development. It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I) held in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976. UN-Habitat maintains its headquarters at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.[3] The mandate of UN-Habitat derives from the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996. The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.

Since January 2018 the Executive Director is Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who had served as the Mayor of Penang Island prior to her appointment in UN-Habitat by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.[4]


The UN-Habitat mandate is also derived from General Assembly resolution 3327 (XXIX), by which the Assembly established the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation; resolution 32/162, by which the Assembly established the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat); and resolution 56/206, by which the Assembly transformed the Commission on Human Settlements and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), including the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation, into UN-Habitat. The mandate of UN-Habitat is further derived from other internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration (Assembly resolution 55/2), in particular the target on achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by the year 2020; and the target on water and sanitation of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which seeks to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Through Assembly resolution 65/1, Member States committed themselves to continue working towards cities without slums, beyond current targets, by reducing slum populations and improving the lives of slum-dwellers.

Work and projects

UN-Habitat works in more than 70 countries in five continents focusing on seven areas:

  • Urban Legislation, Land and Governance;
  • Urban Planning and Design;
  • Urban Economy;
  • Urban Basic Services;
  • Housing and Slum Upgrading;
  • Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation;
  • Urban Research and Capacity Development.

Governing Council

The Governing Council of UN-Habitat is the intergovernmental decision-making body for the Programme. Every two years, the Governing Council examines the UN-Habitat's work and relationships with its partners. It is a high-level forum of governments at the ministerial level during which policy guidelines and the organization's budget are established for the next two-year period. The Governing Council meets in Nairobi.

World Urban Forum (WUF)

The World Urban Forum is an international conference dedicated to urban issues, organized by UN-Habitat. It was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanization and how to ensure a sustainable urban development.It is organized biennially in the years between the UN-Habitat governing councils.

World Urban Campaign (WUC)

The World Urban Campaign is the world living platform on cities for sharing and learning on initiatives, actions and policies driving positive change towards sustainable urbanization. Coordinated by UN-Habitat, it is a global coalition of public, private and civil society partners seeking to raise the urban agenda. The campaign is UN-Habitat's partners' platform for the preparation of the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held in 2016.

World Habitat Day

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. This is an occasion to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of human habitat.

UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award

The UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award is an award given by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in recognition of work carried out in the field of human settlements development. The aim of the award is to honour individuals and institutions instrumental in improving the living conditions in urban centres around the world.

World Habitat Award

The UN-Habitat World Habitat Award is presented in recognition of "projects that provide practical, innovative, solutions to current housing needs, with a particular focus on decent, affordable, adequate and sustainable housing". Established in 1985 by UN-Habitat in partnership with the Building and Social Housing Foundation, each year two awards are presented to recipients at the annual session of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat at the United Nations office in Nairobi. The goal of the award is to identify, celebrate and promote "good practice in housing projects that seek to further affordability and sustainability in housing globally".[5]


  1. Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
  2. International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

See also


  1. "Funds, Programmes, Specialized Agencies and Others". www.un.org.
  2. "Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif of Malaysia elected new Executive Director of UN-Habitat". UN-Habitat. February 22, 2018.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  4. "Maimunah listed in MBOR as first Asian to helm UN-Habitat". Malaysiakini. 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  5. "Housing projects feted at Governing Council." UN-Habitat. 12 May 2017. Web.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.