Like a river, 2018 has been washed away and 2019 is here. Like a river, 2018 was turbulent in some parts and tranquil in other parts. I am very happy that we accomplished much in building a new UN-Habitat that is trusted, transparent and focuses on improving people’s lives in an increasingly urbanizing world.

2019 offers great opportunities to position UN-Habitat as a centre of excellence and innovation. These include:

  • Exploring and strengthening ways of working better together at all levels, from Headquarters to regional offices and to project and liaison offices;
  • Developing approaches to identifying and rolling out integrated flagship programmes as we prepare to implement our strategic plan 2020-2025 and strive to provide a better quality of life for all;
  • Improving the way we do business, as we build a flexible, agile, efficient and effective UN-Habitat; and
  • Heavily investing in talent management as a highly motivated workforce will always be the cornerstone of our organization.

In addition, in 2019 we will organize the first-ever session of the UN-Habitat Assembly and prepare for the World Urban Forum 2020 in Abu Dhabi.

Capitalizing on these opportunities will require commitment, determination and unwavering professionalism from staff. These same attributes I had the pleasure to observe in 2018, will be needed again in 2019, only threefold.

2019 offers 365 opportunities, one each day. Humility, civility, integrity, transparency and professionalism must be the pillars on which we should serve humanity in 2019. Gratitude for what we achieved and a profound appreciation of the road that lies ahead will be the cornerstone of success.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of UN-Habitat family and I look forward to working for a successful 2019.

As we celebrate the beginning of a new year full of promise, I would like to wish every one a fulfilling and prosperous 2019 and beyond. May it be a tapestry of richness in health, spirit, love, joy and happiness.

Best wishes,

Maimunah Mohd Sharif