Talks ongoing on re-opening UN-Habitat office in Poland - minister

Talks are continuing on the subject of re-opening the UN-Habitat office in Poland, Investment and Development Minister Jerzy Kwieciński announced during the First National Urban Forum in Kraków (southern Poland) on Monday.

The minister added that the office would fulfill an important role in the development of urban policy and development policy. He said it would rationalise Polish cooperation with cities and regions abroad.

UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) previously had an office in Warsaw, which functioned from 2007 to 2011.

The idea of re-opening the UN-Habitat office in Warsaw was positively assessed by UN Under-Secretary-General Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who is also the executive director of UN-Habitat. Thanks to such an office, the organisation will be able to conduct projects jointly with Poland, she underscored at the Forum.

An advisor to the investment minister, Maciej Lachowski, told PAP that it is not yet possible to talk about the new office in concrete terms as it is not known where it will be established. "We're taking several cities into consideration," he commented. "In the event of a positive conclusion, the launch of the office would be a matter of a few months."

During the inauguration of the First National Urban Forum, Minister Kwieciński stated that currently more than half the world's population live in cities; that population produces 70 percent of global GDP, consumes 60 percent of energy and produces 70 percent of waste.

"Although cities take up less than 3 percent of the surface of our planet, the rate of the changes taking place in them and the problems affecting them have an influence on the state and quality of the development of the whole economy," he observed. The minister added that in Poland, 62 percent of the population live in cities and 75 percent in agglomerations.