Research shows that there is a positive correlation between planned urbanization and development and that urban economies are more productive than rural economies. Well-planned urbanization can be a powerful tool for creating employment and livelihoods. This requires a mindset shift away from viewing urbanization as a problem towards viewing urbanization as a powerful tool for development.
The UN-Habitat Global Activities Report formally the Operational Activities Report is an historical progress report to the Governing Council that takes into account the development made in addressing the UN-Habitat’s project portfolio at the national, regional and global levels. The Agency’s work has been more focused on promoting national urban policy reforms alongside building institutional and human capacities, and including helping and supporting the governments with the implementation of the national urban plans.
Today and more than ever before, cities are home to humanity’s great expectations. The challenges are there for all to see day after day. Meeting those challenges would open up a wealth of opportunities for all.
Much as we should like to control them, the best we can probably do at this stage is to make sense of the forces behind urbanization, and try to steer them in the right direction.
Although sanitation has been hailed as “the most important medical advance since 1840”, over 2.5 billion people – most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – lack access to basic sanitation. The world is not on track to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation.
As a UN institution, UN-HABITAT was able yet again in 2008 to influence national government policies and help align these on the international agenda, it worked hard during the year to help central and local governments to strengthen their abilities in every aspect of urban life – legislation, policy-making and decentralization, along with the building of administrative, managerial, operational and financial capacities.
The year 2009 was a landmark for management as UN-HABITAT rationalized its organizational structure and became better aligned to deliver the results prescribed under its Medium-Term Strategic and Institutional Plan. In particular, resource mobilization was improved, including adopting a more systematic approach.
The results framework of the six focus areas was completed, enhancing convergence on strategic goals and improving programme planning. The associated performance measurement plans now provide a clear basis for accountability.
In response to an increasing emphasis of UN-HABITAT on documenting results rather than activities, an impact study on the activities supported by the Trust Fund was commissioned in the reporting year. Undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund’s impact in two sample countries (Nepal and Kenya) and of Water and Sanitation Trust Fund activities globally on the theme of “Gender Mainstreaming”, the study marks the first phase of a plan to regularly assess the impact of the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund’s.
UN-HABITAT’s country activities are focused on supporting governments in the formulation of policies and strategies to create and strengthen a self-reliant management capacity at both national and local levels.
Technical and managerial expertise is provided for the assessment of human settlements development problems and opportunities.
This report presents UN-HABITAT's main achievements in 2010. They range across the whole continuum of operatioa and normative projects, from post-conflict and post-disaster recovery to urban planning and climate change adaptation.
The efforts of UN-Habitat have been focused on building a brighter future for developing cities, which are most in need of support in guiding the process of urbanization. This catalogue of projects centres on three fundamental generators of wealth and employment in cities: planning and urban design, urban law and urban economy. It includes experiences in applying UN-Habitat's methodology of community participation in the provision of basic services, housing and urban reconstruction.