Enschede, Netherlands, July10, 2007: UN-Habitat and the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) are clustering their knowledge in the field of urban development in developing countries. On 29 June, director of UN-Habitat Dr. Anna Tibaijuka and ITC rector Prof. Martien Molenaar signed an agreement relating to cooperation in the fields of capacity development, training and research.
According to the UN, 1 billion people live in slum areas, and this number will rise to 2 billion by 2025. In the Netherlands, there is a great deal of knowledge available in the field of urban development. No less than 280 organisations are working in this domain, but knowledge exchange and harmonisation between the parties concerned leaves much to be desired. In this respect, change is essential. The Netherlands must raise its profile as an expert in the field of urban development and management – as it is already doing with regard to our water and agricultural expertise.
This cooperation agreement between ITC and UN-Habitat reflects the importance of relevant information in the effort to achieve sustainable urban development’ Molenaar continues. ‘Information as a resource for faster and smarter decision making but also information for citizens and organisations, and information that informs the processes of urban governance in a wider sense is sorely needed. The ITC’s niche is the production and use of spatial information which is seen as one of the important building blocks for sound urban management practices in relation to land management, environmental issues, housing, transport, service delivery and poverty alleviation amongst others. Our expertise in spatial information management is very complimentary to the concerns and expertise of UN-Habitat. We look forward to a long and fruitful cooperation with UN-Habitat in this important field.’