Manama 8 December 2015— A strategic partnership meeting between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and UN-Habitat was held in Manama on Monday.
UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kacyira-Kirabo represented the agency in the meeting with His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain. The meeting examined the progress and notable achievements made through the long-running partnership between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and UN-Habitat, reviewed the key events and milestones related to Habitat III, and discussed preliminary core competency areas within the relevant ministries in Bahrain that could be shared with partner countries through facilitated support of UN-HABITAT.
Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Minister Essam Abdulla Khalaf thanked the Prime Minister for his support, crediting UN-Habitat cooperation with the Government of Bahrain. Housing Minister Basem bin Yacoub Al-Hamer underlined Bahrain's landmark strides which earned the Kingdom UN and international acknowledgement, stressing particularly the Government's keenness on enhancing citizens' living standards.
On his part, HRH Prince Al Khalifa noted "Bahrain has so far pumped $9 billion to construct 100,000 housing units which benefited 65 per cent (65%) of citizens over the past forty years.” Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for International Affairs Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa stressed Bahrain's keenness on bolstering partnership with the UN Habitat
In an audience with HRH the Prime Minster, the DED held detailed conversations on the partnership that has lasted for over 20 years between UN Habitat and the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The Prime Minister commended the efforts of UN Habitat in supporting countries to attain sustainable urban development goals and boost peoples welfare worldwide. He underscored the importance of concerted international efforts to back UN humanitarian projects to carry our sustainable development goals in poor and most needed countries. The Premier hailed the UN Habitat delegation’s visit to the Kingdom, praising strong ties binding Bahrain and UN Habitat.
The Deputy Executive Director expressed her sincere appreciation for the long running collaboration and the continual personal support of the Prime Minister, and noted the many successes that have been achieved; some of the significant results have included the awarding of the 2006 Habitat Scroll of Honor to the Prime Minister, bestowed on him by UN Habitat through the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon; the establishment of the Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa UN Habitat Award and its subsequent issuance; and the Arabic translation and dissemination of UN Habitat flagship reports.
Dr. Kirabo also warmly welcomed the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s leadership role in the formulation process of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and emphasized how the past results have set a strong foundation for future action to support implementation of new development agenda, with specific reference to SDG 11, make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
The Deputy Executive Director also personally thanked the Prime Minister for his support to UN Habitat’s Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People and shared with him how the contribution of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain has been catalytic, allowing UN Habitat to mobilize over USD 30 million in projects, representing a 30:1 return on the investment made in the programme.
The Deputy Executive Director also commented that through the programming leveraged from the contribution of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain, 55,000 Palestinians have been spared eviction and displacement, 700 Palestinians provided housing, 10,000 Palestinians mobilized participatory spatial planning processes to determine the shape and design of their future built environment, and 6 policy and strategy papers have been produced in collaboration with the Government of the State of Palestine.
Looking ahead, the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and UN Habitat emphasized the importance of their continued joint co-operation in the area of sustainable urban development in support of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with specific reference to Goal 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, the Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People and advocating for sustainable urbanization through the launching of the Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa Award during the Habitat III Conference to be held in October 2016.
It was agreed that the lessons learned from the long-standing partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and UN Habitat will be presented to the Arab Ministerial Forum on Housing and Urban Development to be held in Cairo on 22 December 2015 and to Habitat III conference to be held in Ecuador in October 2016.