Nairobi, 29 March 2022—The Executive Board of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is convening its first session in 2022. The session takes place in Nairobi, Kenya from 29 to 31 March 2022.

Since we last met in November 2021, in the space of four months, the world has changed dramatically. We are in the grip of political uncertainty worldwide. Let me reiterate the statement of the Secretary-General that it is never too late for peace,” said Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif at the opening of the first Executive Board session in 2022.

The Executive Board exists to provide the oversight of UN-Habitat by Member States including overseeing the implementation of normative and operational activities, ensuring the accountability, transparency and effectiveness, and reviewing and approving the work programme and budget of the organisation. It comprises of 36 Member States elected by the United Nations Habitat Assembly. The board convenes two to three times a year.

At its current session in Nairobi, members of the Executive Board will deliberate on financial, budgetary and administrative matters of UN-Habitat. They will review UN-Habitat’s draft annual work programme for 2023, as well as selected activities of the agency. The Executive Board will also discuss preparations for the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly to assess the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, to be held on 28 April 2022 in New York, and preparations for the eleventh session of the World Urban Forum to be held in Katowice, Poland in 2022.

In a message read by Hugo Isaak, Urban General International Coordinator, on behalf of the President of the UN Habitat Assembly and Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico, Martha Delgado congratulated Maimunah Mohd Sharif on her election for a second term as Executive Director. “This reflects the good work she has done during her first term and the need for continuity, it recognizes her vision that focuses on housing, localization of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the implementation of New Urban Agenda.”

In her welcome address, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Director-General of UNON Zainab Hawa Bangura also congratulated Ms. Sharif on her re-election as Executive Director of UN-Habitat for a second term stating that she looked forward to working with her.

“The focus areas including housing, climate adaptation and localizing the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in Asia and Africa, are very much needed,” she said. She also assured that UNON is ready to support UN-Habitat to achieve these noble goals despite financial constraints and the challenges associated with the COVID-19.

On behalf of the host country, the Principal Secretary for Kenya’s Department of Housing Charles Hinga stated that the world was urbanizing rapidly with urban areas being home to over half of the world's population. Projections showed that by 2030, the world would have 43 mega cities with over 10 million inhabitants. By 2050, two thirds of humanity will be living in urban areas. “The role of UN-Habitat is, therefore, crucial in promoting sustainable cities and human settlements, and enabling Member States to effectively harness the transformative power of urbanization,” he said.

The Principal Secretary said the continued decline of the non-earmarked contributions was a matter of concern and the meeting needed to provide strategic direction to enable UN-Habitat to effectively implement its Strategic Plan 2020-2023.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the session is taking place in a hybrid format combining an online participation with in-person presence of delegations.