UNITED NATIONS HUMAN SETTLEMENTS PROGRAMME - UN HABITAT
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
PO Box 30030
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Dr Joan Clos, Executive Director
Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat Dr. Joan Clos is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), at the level of Under Secretary General by the United Nations General Assembly. He has held this office since October 2010. Born in Barcelona on 29 June 1949, he is a medical doctor with a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He was twice elected Mayor of Barcelona, serving two terms from 1997 until 2006.
He was Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Trade of Spain between 2006 and 2008. Prior to joining the United Nations, he served as the Spanish Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan. He is a medicine graduate from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), and specialized in Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland). Dr. Joan Clos then joined the Barcelona Municipal Government as the Director of Public Health in 1979.
As a city councillor between 1983 and 1987, he earned a reputation for improving municipal management and for urban renewal projects, notably managing the renovation of downtown Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district. From 1990 to 1994, he was the Deputy Mayor in charge of finance and budgeting, playing a key role in preparations for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Dr. Joan Clos is also widely credited with inspiring far-reaching investment programmes for Barcelona. One of the most ambitious was the “Barcelona@22” programme, which gave the city’s dilapidated industrial zones a facelift. In 2004, one of these newly refurbished neighbourhoods near the old dockyards was chosen as the site for the second gathering of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Forum, the premier global conference on cities.
At the international level, in 1998 Dr. Clos was elected President of Metropolis, the international network of cities. Two years later, he was elected President of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities (WACLAC). Between 2000 and 2007, he served as the Chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA). And between 1997 and 2003, he was member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).
Dr. Clos received a number of awards, including a gold medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1999 for transforming Barcelona. In 2002, he won the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award for encouraging global cooperation between local authorities and the United Nations.
ONU-Habitat est le programme des Nations Unies œuvrant à un meilleur avenir urbain. Sa mission est de promouvoir le développement durable des établissements humains sur le plan social et environnemental ainsi que l’accès à un logement décent pour tous. Aujourd’hui, nos villes sont confrontées à des défis démographiques, environnementaux, économiques, sociaux et spatiaux sans précédent.
UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. Cities are facing unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. There has been a phenomenal shift towards urbanization, with 6 out of every 10 people in the world expected to reside in urban areas by 2030. Over 90 per cent of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In the absence of effective urban planning, the consequences of this rapid urbanization will be dramatic. In many places around the world, the effects can already be felt: lack of proper housing and growth of slums, inadequate and out-dated infrastructure – be it roads, public transport, water, sanitation, or electricity – escalating poverty and unemployment, safety and crime problems, pollution and health issues, as well as poorly managed natural or man-made disasters and other catastrophes due to the effects of climate change. Mindsets, policies, and approaches towards urbanization need to change in order for the growth of cities and urban areas to be turned into opportunities that will leave nobody behind. UN-Habitat, the United Nations programme for human settlements, is at the helm of that change, assuming a natural leadership and catalytic role in urban matters. Mandated by the UN General Assembly in 1978 to address the issues of urban growth, it is a knowledgeable institution on urban development processes, and understands the aspirations of cities and their residents. For close to forty years, UN-Habitat has been working in human settlements throughout the world, focusing on building a brighter future for villages, towns, and cities of all sizes. Because of these four decades of extensive experience, from the highest levels of policy to a range of specific technical issues, UN-Habitat has gained a unique and a universally acknowledged expertise in all things urban. This has placed UN-Habitat in the best position to provide answers and achievable solutions to the current challenges faced by our cities. UN-Habitat is capitalizing on its experience and position to work with partners in order to formulate the urban vision of tomorrow. It works to ensure that cities become inclusive and affordable drivers of economic growth and social development.