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Nairobi, 19 Apr 13

The twenty-fourth biennial meeting of governments in the Governing Council of UN-Habitat came to a close in Nairobi on Friday with a broad consensus on the relevance of sustainable urban development and the important role the agency is playing in the United Nations system.

Several resolutions were adopted after five days of intense discussions and negotiations impacting positively on the work of UN-Habitat and the lives of millions of urban dwellers.

A total of 1144 delegates from 107 countries attended the meeting representing national governments, local authorities, private sector, civil society as well as media.

The work programme and budget of the agency for the next two years was approved. There was also a resolution to give full support for the preparations of the Habitat III conference to be held in 2016 where a new global urban agenda will be formulated.

The Governing Council whose theme was ‘Sustainable Development: The role of cities in creating improved economic opportunities for all, with special reference to youth and gender’ recorded several firsts.

It was the first major gathering Kenya’s newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta was presiding over and it was also the first Governing Council in the history of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) whose opening was broadcast live on national television. The meeting also saw two live broadcasts of the exciting Urban Talk series.

The two live TV shows were relayed by Nation TV and attracted good viewership as urbanisation experts, including UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos discussed the matter.

The conference also implemented the paper smart initiative, a United Nations system initiative where it discourages use of papers and prefers going online. It saw major savings on money that could have been used on papers. This also translates into a reduced impact on the environment.

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