19th session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, (UN-HABITAT) took place at UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 5 to 9 May 2003.
Among the key issues discussed were :
UN-HABITAT's work programme for the biennium 2004-2005 and the proposed budget for the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation for the same biennium and follow-up to the 25th special session of the General Assembly to get an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda (Istanbul +5), including the Rules of Procedure UN-HABITAT's Governing Council. It focused on the special themes of: Urban development strategies and shelter strategies favouring the poor; the rural dimension of sustainable urban development; the report of the Executive Director on the dialogues on effective decentralization and strengthening of local authorities; and cooperation between UN-HABITAT and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as cooperation with other agencies and organizations within the United Nations system, with intergovernmental organizations outside the United Nations system, and with non-governmental organizations.
Informal consultations among and between the regional groups were held before the Governing Council, in particular the election of officers, on Sunday, 4 May from 11 a.m.
In line with the Rules of Procedure of the Governing Council, States which were not members of the Governing Council but were members of the United Nations or of a specialized agency participated in the Governing Council as observers.
Also, in accordance with the Governing Council resolution 16/12 of 7 May 1997, Governments were invited to include in their delegations, representatives of local authorities and relevant actors of civil society, particularly the private sector, NGOs and research organizations in the field of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development.
States were requested to inform the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT of the composition of their delegations as soon as possible. The credentials of representatives were to be submitted, at the latest, before the end of the first meeting of the session.
The Governing Council meets every two years to examine UN-HABITAT's work and relationships with its partners. The Council is composed of 58 member states. It is a high-level forum of governments at the ministerial level during which policy guidelines and the organisation's budget are established for the next two-year period.
The Governing Council reports to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which coordinates the work of the subsidiary bodies of the General Assembly. The governments have representatives in Nairobi with whom senior UN-HABITAT officials meet regularly throughout the year in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR).