President of Kenya William Ruto on Wednesday November 30, 2022 met with Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the UN Under-Secretary and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, at the State House in Nairobi. They discussed ongoing collaboration and endorsed commitments to cooperate on critical urban development projects and efforts to advance the implementation of the Kenya Vision 2030 and the New Urban Agenda.
Next year, UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency responsible for sustainable urban development, will mark 45 years of its presence in Kenya. In June 2023, Member States will gather in Nairobi for the second United Nations Habitat Assembly that will set the strategic direction for the normative and operational work of the agency.
“The Government of Kenya is our key partner in advancing the issues of sustainable urbanization and the New Urban Agenda in Africa and globally. They are also instrumental in helping us revitalize and reposition UN-Habitat to help respond to the ongoing urban crises,” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat.
“Kenya attached special significance to the UN-Habitat’s presence in Nairobi and as a global focal point on urbanization and human settlements. We are grateful to the agency for its cooperation to the fast and urbanizing world,” said President of Kenya William Ruto.
UN-Habitat is working with the local governments in Kenya, jointly with UNEP and with the financial support from the EU, to develop coastal cities. This work is part of the ‘Go-Blue Economy’ project to guide municipal authorities in caring for the natural environment, oceans and mangroves, the built environment, fishing communities, and coastal neighborhoods.
Recently, UN-Habitat has also joined the Nairobi River Committee set up by the Deputy President of Kenya. Over the years, the Nairobi River has been exposed to different pollution levels, affecting the quality of urban dwellers in the capital city. The Government of Kenya is committed to working with all partners to clean the river and restore its environment. In 2021, UN-Habitat signed an agreement with the Government of Kenya to provide technical expertise and support the Nairobi River Regeneration project.
Kenya and UN-Habitat also cooperate in the RISE UP: Building resilient settlements for the urban poor flagship programme to support the most vulnerable urban dwellers and transform slum communities. UN-Habitat also fully supports the President’s initiative for an affordable housing programme for Kenyans. Annually, the country needs at least 250,000 housing units to ensure decent and affordable housing for its residents.