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Major Swedish support for UN-Habitat

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Nairobi, 19 Jan 12

UN-Habitat and the Government of Sweden signed a new collaboration agreement on Wednesday whereby Stockholm will provide USD 14 million over the next four years to support the agency's work programme.

The funding will be allocated towards UN-Habitat's new medium-term priorities – urban planning, equitable and inclusive urban land legislation, urban poverty reduction, gender, democracy and human rights are some of the medium-term priorities.

The agreement was signed by UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, and the Ambassador of the Government of Sweden to Kenya and Permanent Representative to UN-HABITAT, Ms. Ann Dismorr.

"We express our most sincere gratitude to the Government of Sweden for its vision in understanding the increased relevance of urban issues in the current and future economic, political and social agenda," Dr. Clos said in a statement welcoming the agreement.

He cited "the valuable partnership with Sweden in the medium-term that allows us to work together to improve the lives of millions of citizens facing new challenges for sustainable urban development." He also recalled "the importance of the Swedish cooperation, especially in the last ten years, to a wide range of UN-Habitat activities and projects at local/municipal, national, regional and international levels".

The agreement also includes the strengthening of transparency, efficiency and excellence in management. In this context, UN-Habitat will continue to introduce results-based management and work on a pilot project on open data and transparency following the Swedish Government's experience with www.openaid.se.

In December 2011, UN-Habitat became a signatory to the International Aid Transparency (IATI) making it the fourth UN agency to join the initiative along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United nations Capital Development (UNCDF) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Some of the funding will also go towards exchange knowledge and experience.

Ambassador Dismorr stressed Sweden's commitment to UN-Habitat, saying its mandate in relation to the high degree and speed of urbanization in the world was growing more important, especially given the growing impact on the lives of the urban poor.

She further noted the central role the agency could have in multilateral cooperation to address these challenges.