UN-Habitat needs more "efficient structure" as part of major reform: UN chief

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Over half of all people now live in urban areas – and 820 million live in slums like this one in Haiti. Credit: Julius Mwelu/UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat, the organization's urban development agency, needs a more "flexible, efficient structure" that delivers more to vulnerable city-dwellers.

That's according to UN chief António Guterres, responding to a major report on the agency, carried out by a High Level Independent Panel looking into ways of strengthening UN-Habitat.

More details from Matt Wells.

Around 54 per cent of the world's population already live in cities but that's likely to rise to nearly 70 per cent by 2050.

In April, the Secretary-General set up the panel at the request of the General Assembly, to look at how the increasingly important UN-Habitat agency could become more effective.

In a statement, the UN chief thanked the panel for what he called its "robust, evidence-based assessment," calling urbanization a "global mega-trend" that was putting pressure on communities, infrastructure and the environment.

Mr Guterres said he found many of the panel recommendations to be in line with his own proposals for major reform of the entire UN Development System.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

He also acknowledges the recommendations for changes to UN-Habitat's governance, and agrees that the agency must be equipped with a flexible, efficient structure that delivers for the most vulnerable residents of the world's cities…The Secretary-General considers rapid urbanization and its links with poverty, inequality, public health, migration, climate change and natural disasters to be one of the most pressing concerns of the UN. He therefore appreciates the strong relationship between the assessment of UN-Habitat and the overall reform of the UN Development System."

 In his statement, Mr Guterres said he was looking forward to further discussions with Member States to flesh out the details of reform, so that the great urban "tests of our time" can be met.

 Matt Wells, United Nations.

 Duration: 1'17"

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