Nairobi, 29 May – UN-Habitat recently hosted a two day ‘United Nations Standing Committee’ (IASC) Principals’ Meeting in Kenya at the United Nations Offices in Gigiri. This is the first time that the ‘Principals’ meeting has been held in a developing country.

The meeting was attended by the in-coming Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), Stephen O'Brien, who will be taking up formal duties from 1 June 2015 when he takes over from Valerie Amos. The IASC Principals are the heads of all IASC member agencies or their representatives and they meet twice a year.

In order to deal with emergencies, the IASC Principals schedule ad-hoc meetings whenever required. Their role includes: making strategic and policy decisions which have system-wide implications; bringing issues to the attention of the Secretary-General and the Security Council, through the ERC; endorsing major operational decisions; advocating common humanitarian principles, collectively or individually, on behalf of the IASC; and designating Humanitarian Coordinators and selecting coordination arrangements for countries in crisis. Discussions included strategies for addressing the increasingly complex urban dimensions of humanitarian crises.