Meeting UN Habitat in Rio de Janeiro

On 18 June, I visited the Latin American headquarter of UN Habitat, the urban programme of the United Nations. I was received by Manuel Manrique, journalist working as communication officer at UN Habitat.

UN Habitat plaque

The Latin American regional office is located in Rio de Janeiro. It is in constant relation with the main headquarter in Nairobi. It also works closely with its related country offices covering Latin America and the Caribbean: in Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Equator, Haiti, and Mexico.

Together, they tackle a wide range of issues and I went away with a seriously heavier bag, given the wealth of resources that they produce. For my own record I shall list the reports I read following my visit:

– State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009: Harmonious Citiesimage state of the world cities 2011

– State of the World’s Cities 2010/2011: Bridging the Urban Divide

– Estado de las ciudades de América latina y el Caribe 2012 – Rumbo a una nueva   ransicion urbanaonuhabitat-estado-de-las-ciudades-de-america-latina

– Brazil: Law, Land tenure and Gender Review: Latin America (2005)

– Planificacion de ciudades sostenibles: orientaciones para politicas (2009)

– Lignes directrices internationales sur la décentralisation et l’accès aux services de base pour tous (2009)

– Cities and Climate Change: policy directions (2011)

This small sample of the UN Habitat library provides a good overview of the wide range of issues tackled by the UN programme for human settlements.

During our interview, Manuel Manrique and I talked about such issues as:

– Raising awareness on the importance of urban planning and master plans in Latin American cities

– Evictions and lodging as a major urban issue in Latin America

– Local democracy, governance, participatory budgets and the right to the city

– The current brazilian demonstrations related to the urban development trio: mobility/security/basic services provision

So much food for thought could not fit in just one post in this blog. I shall leave it here with only one more piece of information: looking forward to the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia: 5-11 April 2014.

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