About Maimunah Mohd Sharif
Prior to this appointment, Ms. Sharif was the Mayor of the City Council of Penang Island, Malaysia. In 2011, she became the first woman to be appointed President of the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai. As mayor, she led the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai to achieve its vision of a “cleaner, greener, safer and healthier place to work, live, invest and play.” She is a champion of Gender-Responsive Participatory Budgeting and Planning, integrating gender perspectives into the governance process. During her tenure, the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai was the first Local Authority to implement and achieve six quality-based management ISO certifications.
Ms. Sharif began her career as a town planner at the Municipal Council of Penang Island in 1985. In 2003, she was promoted to Director of Planning and Development, a position she held until November 2009. As Director, she was responsible for the preparation of structure and local plans and was directly involved in the development management of Penang City’s projects and landscape. She also led a team which planned and implemented urban renewal projects in George Town. In November 2009, as its General Manager, Ms. Sharif established George Town World Heritage Incorporated and managed the George Town World Heritage Site, which was inscribed by UNESCO in July 2008.
Born in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, on 26 August 1961, Ms. Sharif holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Town Planning Studies from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, UK and a Master of Science in Planning Studies from the Malaysia Science University. She has received several awards, including, “Planner of The Year 2014” by the Malaysian Institute of Planners, the 2016 Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award during Habitat III in Quito, for her contribution in sustainable planning in Seberang Perai and from the Penang State Government. On 11 January 2018, she received an award from the Malaysia Book of Records recognizing her for being the first Asian woman to be appointed as Executive Director of UN-Habitat. She is married to Mr. Adli Lai and has two daughters.
"During my time as a Mayor of Seberang Perai and later Penang, Malaysia, I was afforded the opportunities to witness, address, and try to resolve first hand, urban challenges faced by cities and their communities. Rather than being discouraged, these challenges were opportunities to ensure inclusivity and public participation and address the concerns of all citizens. Today, in Nairobi, my new home, I am sometimes overwhelmed at the tasks before us. Moving from local and national to global is no easy task; I am fully committed to giving it my all. "
Past Executive Directors
Dr. Joan Clos was Executive Director from October 2010 to December 2017. He was elected Mayor of Barcelona, serving two terms from 1997 until 2006.
Dr. Anna Tibaijuka was the Executive Director of UN-Habitat from 2000 to 2010. She was the second highest ranking African woman in the UN system until her departure.
Dr. Klaus Toepfer was the Acting Executive Director from 1998 to 2000. He also served as the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from 1998 to 2006.
Mr. Darshan Johal was the Acting Executive Director from 1997 to 1998.
Dr. Wally N'Dow was Executive Director from 1994 to 1997. He served as the Secretary-General during the Habitat II assembly in 1996.
Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell was Acting Executive Director from 1993 to 1994. From 1992 to 1998, she led the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Dr. Arcot Ramachandran was the Executive Director from 1978 to 1992. He was also the Administrator of the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation.
Statements and speeches
|Message from the UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif World Cities Day 31 October 2021||Sunday 31 October, 2021|
|Message from the UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif World Cities Day 31 October 2021||Wednesday 27 October, 2021|
|UN-Habitat Executive Director’s Statement on the latest IPCC Report on Climate Change||Thursday 12 August, 2021|
|Statement by the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021||Wednesday 11 August, 2021|
|EGM Towards a New Generation of Voluntary Local Reviews: Connecting VLRs and VNRs - Opening Remarks||Tuesday 3 August, 2021|
|UNEP Science Policy Business Forum||Tuesday 3 August, 2021|
Articles and Op-Eds
|Name||Publishing outlet||Date of publication|
|New York, With 8.5 Million People, Among Cities Heading for a Sustainable Future||INTER PRESS SERVICE News Agency|
|Time to create safe spaces for the young generation of Kenyans||The Standard Digital|
|Blue economy forum will boost water’s potential||The STAR Newspaper|