India’s engagement with United Nations Human Settlements Programme

India has been engaged with United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) since its inception. Dr. Arcot Ramachandran, an Indian, was the first Executive Director of the UN Commission on Human Settlements (UNCHS) from its inception in 1978 to 1993.
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is the nodal ministry dealing with India’s engagement with UN-HABITAT. India’s High Commissioner to Kenya is accredited as the Permanent Representative of India to UN-HABITAT.
India hosted the 11th session of UNCHS in 1988 during that period and the first Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Human Settlements (APMCHHS) in 2006.
UN-HABITAT has an Information and Liaision Office in Chennai. India hosts the Permanent Secretariat of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) in New Delhi.
Hon’ble Minister for State  for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja was elected as the President of the 21st Session of the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT in 2007. India chaired the Group of 77 plus China in Nairobi during 2010 and 2001.
Hon’ble Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri Ajay Maken led the Indian delegation at the 24th session of the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT which was held in Nairobi from 15-19 April 2013. He also attended the APMCHUD meeting on 14 April 2013 in Nairobi.
An exhibition was organised by HUDCO at the UN premises during the 24th session of the Governing Council.
Dr. Joan Clos, present Executive Director, visited India during September 23-30 2011. He met the then Hon’ble Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja and Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development Shri Kamal Nath during the visit.   
Dr. Joan Clos again visited India from 12-15 November, 2014 to participate in the Urban Age Conference hosted by London School of Economics in New Delhi from 14-15 November, 2014 and to attend the Municipalka + CAPEx 2014 Conference held on 13 November, 2014 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.  During the visit, Dr. Clos met Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development and Secretary (ER & DPA), MEA.  

Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, UN-HABITAT visited India from 31 August to 3 September, 2014 to visit a youth project in the State of Chattisgarh.  During her visit she called on Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Addl. Secretary(IO), MEA.
India makes an annual financial contribution of US$ 100,000 to the General Purpose Funds of UN-HABITAT.
UN-HABITAT is among the four implementing agencies to implement a US$ 270 million housing project funded by Government of India to build 43000 houses for internally displaced persons and northern and western provinces of Sri Lanka. Agreements to award work to the agencies were signed at the High Commission of India, Colombo in July 2012. An MoU had earlier been signed between the governments of India and Sri Lanka in January 2012.
UN-HABITAT’s report ‘The State of Cities 2012’ was formally released in India at an event on October 17 2012 in New Delhi. Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, was present at the event.
UN-HABITAT activities in India


11th Session of UN Commission on Human Settlements (UNCHS) hosted in Delhi. Inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi.


Sustainable Chennai programme launched.
Two projects developed with cooperation with UNDP as a follow-up to the Campaign included ‘National Strategy for Urban Poor: Urban Livelihoods Project’ and ‘Capacity Building for Good Urban Governance’.


Sustainable Cities Programme in Maharashtra


Joint pilot project on ‘Community Approach to Integrated Basic Services Promoting Health and Livelihood for the Urban Poor’ was launched in Lucknow, Rajkot and Vishakhapatnam (Acting ED, UN-HABITAT, Mr. Darshan Johan visited India for opening of the project).

1998 - 2003

Urban Management Programme launched (Surat, Hyderabad, Delhi, Indore, Bangalore, Pune, etc.) on the themes of poverty alleviation, environmental management and participatory governance.
All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG) engaged as the anchor for this programme. The programme also initiated capacity-building activities for the All India Council of Mayors (AICM).


Inaugural launch of the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure in Mumbai.
Strengthening UN Support for Decentralisation of Development with UNDP


National Campaign for Good Urban Governance (ED, UN-HABITAT, Dr. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka visited India for inauguration of the Campaign).
Global Campaign on Urban Governance launched in India at national level. Human Settlements Management Institute (HSMI) was the national partner. HSMI has collaborated regularly with UN-HABITAT in conducting training of trainers. Other collaborating institutions include Administrative Staff College of India, Kerala Institute of Local Administration. HSMI has also provided documentation on Best Practices programme on Human Settlements to UN-HABITAT.
Local Partnership for Poverty-focused City Development Strategy, Hyderabad


Regional consultation on ‘Water for Asian Cities’ Programme (with ADB support).
Ministry of HUPA and HUDCO participated in an exhibition on Water and Sanitation during World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.


Water for Asian Cities Programme programme launched during 3rd World Water Forum. Minister for Urban Development participated at the launch.
UN-HABITAT was responsible for Capacity Building component of ‘Water for Asian Cities’ programme for provision of water and sanitation infrastructure in 6 cities of Madhya Pradesh with ADP funding. The programme was implemented during 2003-2007.
Sustainable Cities Campaign in Maharashtra (Mumbai).


Indian experts participated in training workshops on Data and Indicators to Monitor Progress towards the Millennium development Goals by the Department of Statistics and the Expert Group Meeting on the Operational Definitions of Urban/Rural and Urban Agglomeration by Urban Planning, Bangkok.


Under the Global Urban Observatory programme, the cities of Ahmedabad and Kolkata set up Local Urban Observatories.
Safer Cities Programme (along with UNIFEM)
Siemens, Coca Cola and BASF have also been associated with UN-HABITAT programmes in India


Mr. Vikram Vinod, actor, was designated by UN-HABITAT as a Youth Envoy.
UN-HABITAT joined 19 UN agencies in a new 2013-2017 United Nations Development Action Framework (UNDAF) for India.


“Promotion of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Education and Water Quality Monitoring in Mangalore City, India” – setting up of Water Quality Testing Labs in 8 schools (TERI, UN-HABITAT, BASF)

January 2015

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