Twenty-third Session of UN-HABITAT Governing Council Opens

11 April 2011: The 23rd Session of the Governing Council of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT GC 23) opened on 11 April 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya, and will conclude on 15 April. GC 23 is focusing on the theme "Sustainable Urban Development through Expanding Equitable Access to Land, Housing, Basic Services and Infrastructure."

During the opening plenary, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message delivered by UN-HABITAT Deputy Executive Director Inga Bjork-Klevby, stated that "Our collective challenge is to stimulate sustainable urban development and the transition towards a green economy." He added that the session's deliberations constitute "an important opportunity to ensure that the urban development agenda is fully reflected at next year's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20."

In his opening statement, Joan Clos, Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN-HABITAT, underscored the impacts of inadequate urban planning during the last 30 years. He emphasized that, in developed countries, "a process of slow decentralization of the urban population through urban sprawl is taking place, leading to excessive energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change." Looking ahead, he stressed the need for governments and local authorities to be well-equipped to address a set of new urban challenges, such as climate change. [IISD RS Coverage] [UN HABITAT Press Release] [Clos' Statement]