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SALGA-UCLG President makes headway for local government in UN

Posted: 01 November 2017


The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed presentations lead by the South African Local Government (SALGA) and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) President Parks Tau on the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the UN-Habitat.

This comes after Tau was appointed to an eight-member UN High-Level Independent Panel which was established by Guterres earlier this year to enhance the effectiveness of the UN-Habitat programme.

Tau was subsequently appointed the Panel’s Co-Chairperson alongside Mexico’s Social Development Secretary Rosario Robles. The Panel’s final report which outlines how the UN-Habitat can be improved was handed over to the UN Secretary-General in August.

The Panel’s submitted report placed strong emphasis on the importance of the United Nations System and the UN-Habitat to be fit for purpose in cities – a stance Guterres welcomed and agreed that “the UN system must improve its delivery in urban areas”.
“It is imperative that we do so in close collaboration with local governments. I am committed to a United Nations System and a UN-Habitat that helps the Member States and local governments to develop equitable, safe, environmentally sustainable and vibrant cities, which must deliver for the urban poor and for those left furthest behind,” Guterres said.

In a letter addressed to Tau, Guterres further recognised Tau’s distinct leadership of the Panel, and wrote: “I would like to thank you for serving on my High-Level Independent Panel to assess and enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and for your strong leadership as the Panel Co-Chair.”

Guterres further recognised the Panel’s diligence in how it did its work within the timeframe it was given. “You and the Panel members faced a very challenging task – to assess the UN-Habitat and to provide bold and concrete ways forward to reform the programme,” he said.

“Throughout your work and consultations, the Panel navigated sensitive issues and dynamics and maintained a consistent, impressive focus on substantive results. The timeframe in which the Panel worked also required members to sacrifice both time and previous commitments, for which I am very grateful,” said Guterres.

He added that he looked “forward to our continued work and partnership to develop a strong United Nations fit for the New Urban Agenda”.
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