Why United Nations Plans to Move Offices from Kenya

  • The United Nations Habitat office based in Nairobi might be split and some of its functions transferred to offices in New York and Addis Ababa.

    Proposals were made by a panel that had been appointed in 2017 to suggest how the agency could be strengthened received the support of UN secretary general Antonio Guterres.

    Guterres is expected to polish the proposals and present them this month, although most countries did not support the recommendations.

    The panel proposed the creation of a parallel agency called UN Urban based in New York to deal with urbanisation challenges.

    [caption caption="The United Nations Office"][/caption]

    They argued the UN Habitat had failed to deliver on this necessitating the need of a new agency purely focussed on urbanisation.

    Additionally, the panel also suggested the UN Habitat African regional office, currently based in Nairobi, be moved to Addis Ababa where the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is based.

    They maintained that this was “to ensure that UN-Habitat has access to [Uneca’s] enhanced research and analysis of regional issues.”

    The new UN Habitat executive director Maimunah Sharif stated she supported the strengthening of the agency since the global headquarters would remain in Nairobi.

    However, she did not address fears that the reform could weaken the Nairobi head office.

    [caption caption="UN Habitat executive director Maimunah Sharif"][/caption]

    Sharif stated: “It is the moment to strengthen UN-Habitat to ensure we can effectively support countries to implement the New Urban Agenda in collaboration with all the United Nations system, all levels of government and other stakeholders.”