Leader Profile: Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, UN-HABITAT

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the UN agency for human settlements, mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. Anna Tibaijuka heads this agency.

UN-HABITAT operates two major campaigns, one called the Global Campaign on Urban Governance, which seeks to provide security for the millions around the world that live in city slums, and the Global Campaign on Urban Governance, which aims to improve urban governance. "Habitat's Campaign for Secure Tenure is an advocacy instrument of the United Nations designed to promote secure forms of tenure for the poorest populations, especially those living in informal settlements and slums in cities", said Anna. Provision of shelter for all is a key element of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). "In many cities, slum dwellers number more than 50 percent of the population and have little or no access to shelter, water, and sanitation", she added.

Anna is currently the highest-ranking African woman working within the United Nations. A Tanzanian national, she graduated from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden with a Doctorate of Science in Agricultural Economics. In 2003 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree by the University College London. From 1993 - 1998, when she joined UNCTAD, Anna was Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. She speaks English, Swahili, Haya, Swedish and some French.

Anna has worked within the UN for a number of years, and is convinced that human settlement issues are vital to achieving overall improvements to the conditions of the poorest and most vulnerable groups in society. She asserted, "Economically efficient, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable development - all of which are fundamental to the reduction of poverty - can actually be achieved when we squarely address the deteriorating living environment in and around our cities and towns".

In the future, UN-HABITAT will continue to operate its programs, within the context of the MDGs. Anna is keen to promote the aims of UN-HABITAT and ensure that the agency remains relevant and up-to-date on the challenges and changes globalization brings to the urban landscape. "In September 2005, the General Assembly itself will meet to review the Millennium Development Goals", she said, "Despite some outstanding examples of cultural pluralism in cities, we do not yet have agreement on how to approach the fundamental issues of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies in an increasingly globalizing and urbanizing world".

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