UNGA Second Committee Considers Human Settlements and Climate Change

UN-HABITAT Chief, in Second Committee, cites ‘Rapid and Chaotic' Urbanization, Shortage of Affordable Housing as Causes of Global Financial Crisis 28 October 2008: The Second Committee on Economic and Financial issues, of the 63rd UN General Assembly (UNGA), considered the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) (document A/63/291).

The report contains a section on cities and climate change, which indicates that UN-HABITAT analysis shows that: consumption patterns and lifestyles with regard to land-use and urban sprawl are key determinants of quantity of greenhouse gas emissions; and rational land use planning, green building codes, waste recycling practices and energy-efficient transport are among the most effective mitigation measures. The report also highlights: the opportunity to bridge global and local efforts in emissions control to improve the quality of life and the productivity of cities; and the need for adaptive urban planning to reduce vulnerability and prevent loss and destruction of lives and properties. The report outlines how the medium-term strategic and institutional plan for 2008-2013 addresses the adaptation and mitigation challenges of climate change in the context of urban development and planning. Addressing the Committee, Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, noted that while cities are the engines of economic growth and will host two thirds of the global population by 2030, they also consume 75% of energy and generate an equally significant proportion of all waste, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In other business, the Committee concluded its general discussion on sustainable development, with speakers highlighting their national efforts to, inter alia, promote sustainable forestry management, reverse the spread of desertification, and better manage and prevent natural

disasters. Several speakers stressed the need to build on the momentum begun at the Bali Climate Change Conference, and some called for special support for small island developing States (SIDS) to increase their resilience vis-à-vis climate change risks. [UN News Release] [Document A/63/291]