Remarks by Achim Steiner at the Opening of the 23rd Session of the Governing Council of the UN-HABITAT
Theme for this session is Sustainable Urban Development through Expanding Equitable Access to Land, Housing, Basic Services and Infrastructure.
Nairobi, 11 April 2011— H.E. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya;
President of UN-HABITAT Governing Council, Hon. Clifford E. Warmington
Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT
The Representative of the Secretary General Ms. Inga Bjork-Klevby
Secretary of the Governing Council, Chris Mensah
Colleague and friends; distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the UN in Africa, headquarters of UN-Habitat and UNEP and many country offices of UN agencies.
The theme of this Governing Council is broad, but at its heart is one word 'sustainable'.
A sub theme would be partnership.
For no one UN agency, government, NGO or private sector company can hope to address the multiple challenges or deliver on multiple opportunities out there in the world of today.
Both sustainability and partnership are the foundation and the cement of UN-HABITAT and UNEP's relationship.
Two weeks ago we had the pleasure to host UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Chief Executives Board of the UN which he chairs.
It was the opportunity for the UN Secretary-General, along with HE the President of the Republic of Kenya Mwai Kibaki, to formally open our two agencies' new office facility.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a highly visible example of UNEP and UN-HABITAT's ever closer cooperation.
Along with local architects and construction companies, alongside international technology companies and UNON, our two agencies have built and are now working in an energy neutral building in the heart of East Africa.
Many said it could not be done, or could not be done on time or on budget or incorporate the latest energy and water saving and renewable energy technologies.
I would urge you honorable delegates to perhaps find a little time during a coffee break or at lunchtime to go and look and see at first hand this remarkable edition to sustainable construction and building and meet the staff involved.
But the building is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of UN HABITAT and UNEP's joint work.
Often what we do together can be less visible, perhaps much is below the surface—but it is there: we just get on with it without the fan fare of a new office opening.
And this partnership, this cooperation is as we speak evolving to an even higher and potentially transformational phase.