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Nairobi, 3 Oct 12

Executive Director UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos and Project Leader for Urban City Research Peter Elmlund

UN-Habitat and the Swedish Ax:son Johnson Foundation on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will form a basis of partnerships in the lead up to the Habitat III conference.

The agreement penned in Nairobi was signed by UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos and Project Leader for Urban City Research Peter Elmlund for the Ax:son Johnson Foundation. This MoU forms a partnership, with an outcome of creating a three set conference series in the lead up to Habitat III, with a special emphasis on Public Space and Placemaking. The planned conference series will see the first two being held in Sweden while the final one has been proposed for Nairobi.

The conference series aims to shift the focus from objects to places, with emphasis on functionality. Key highlights of the partnership are that- it would form a long term agreement beyond Habitat III; there is a new aim to target and influence decision makers, and that there is an aim to create people-centred cities. Alongside key partners, such as Project for Public Spaces (PPS), this collaboration seeks to change the public space agenda.

In the 22nd Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, (UN-HABITAT) a resolution recommending the convention in 2016 of a third United Nations conference on housing and sustainable urban development (Habitat III) was made. The Habitat I was held in Vancouver , Canada in 1976 followed by the Habitat II held in Istanbul Turkey in 1996.

The Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation is a private foundation whose principle objective is to facilitate scientific research in general. It was founded in 1947 by the late Consul General Axel Ax:son Johnson (1876-1958) together with his wife Margaret, owner of the Nordstjernan Group.

It's vision is to support individuals, ideas and humanistic projects that run the risk of finding themselves outside current trends, but which, in the long-term, are deemed to be of decisive benefit to the public interest by preserving traditions and by renewing and developing society. The motto is "excellence and access".

Although there is no actual transfer under the MoU,  but the Ax:son Johnson Foundation will be fully funding the three conference series and allocating funds to bring representatives from Least Developed Countries to the conferences.

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