21 December 2017

Africa: Female Malaysian Mayor to Head UN's Urbanisation Agenda

Seattle — A Malaysian woman is set to take the helm of the United Nations agency seeking to improve life in fast-growing cities, which will be home to two-thirds of the world by 2050.

The United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General has appointed Dato' Maimunah Mohd Sharif, a qualified town planner and currently Mayor of the City Council of Malaysia's tranquil, tropical Penang Island, to head UN-Habitat, based in Kenya.

Sharif previously managed Penang Island's George Town World Heritage Site, the oldest part of Malaysia's second largest city, which is popular with tourists for its colonial history and architecture.

As executive director of UN-HABITAT, Sharif will battle to boost donor funding for the 40-year-old agency, which fell dramatically under former Barcelona mayor Joan Clos.

Another key focus will be implementing the agency's New Urban Agenda, a 20-year vision for sustainable cities, adopted at last year's Habitat III conference in Ecuador.

UN-Habitat predicts the number of people living in cities will almost double to 7 billion in 2050 from 3.7 billion today, with many mired in squalor if urbanisation is poorly managed.

Sharif's first major event in February will be on home turf in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, which will host the World Urban Forum, the U.N.'s premiere global event on cities.

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to formally approve Sharif's appointment soon, the U.N. said in a statement.

Prior to Clos, who took office in 2010, UN-Habitat was led by Tanzania's former housing minister Anna Tibaijuka.

 - Reporting by Gregory Scruggs. Editing by Katy Migiro

Africa

Ecobank's Customer Innovation Reaps Rewards

– Ecobank has secured wins in two categories at the Retail Banking Awards in London. The leading pan-African bank… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Thomson Reuters Foundation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.