The 17th Session of Human Settlements Commission was held from 5-14 May 1999 and focused on two special themes: local implementation of the Habitat Agenda, with particular attention to local Agendas 21, and international cooperation for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. It also discussed the work programme of the Commission on Human Settlements which was later transformed into the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/206 of 21 December 2001. The Assembly also decided, in the same resolution, to transform the Commission on Human Settlements to the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT. The Governing Council, which was also made into a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, reports to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and provides overall policy guidance, direction and supervision to UN-HABITAT. The objectives, functions and responsibilities of the Governing Council are set out in General Assembly resolution 32/162 and in paragraph 222 of the Habitat Agenda.
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).