Noh Omar
Image via Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Dr Joan Clos paid a courtesy call to the Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Tan Sri Noh Omar here, today.

This was the first meeting here with UN-Habitat for Noh after being appointed as Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, replacing Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan in June’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Dr Clos, accompanied by a UN-Habitat delegation, made the courtesy call after the conclusion of the Third Preparatory Committee (PrepCom3) for Habitat III in Surabaya, Indonesia.

During the one-hour closed-door meeting with Dr Clos, both parties discussed Malaysia’s preparation to host the 9th World Urban Forum (WUF9), which will be held from Feb 7 to 13, 2018.

In his speech, Noh said Malaysia hoped that a major and concrete legacy would be created from hosting the forum, especially on the way forward for sustainable urban communities.

“This legacy by WUF9 hopefully will facilitate research, knowledge exchange and promote international debate with regard to sustainable urban development.

“With the targeted 15,000 participants, there is indirect economic impact from the WUF9 especially the spillover effects that can be gained through related upstream and downstream industries and boost Malaysia’s tourism,” he said.

Malaysia won the bid to host WUF9 in November 2014, making it the second Asian country to host the forum after China hosted it in 2008.

Noh also expressed hope that the Malaysian team responsible for the WUF9 would be attached to UN-Habitat or the government of Ecuador via an attaché training programme for exposure and managing such events.

“I believe this proposal has been articulated by my secretary-general during his visit to PrepCom3 in Surabaya recently,” Noh Omar added.

Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Dr Clos thanked the Malaysian government for its effort and willingness to host the forum.

“The forum (WUF9) will have a very active agenda especially on the issue of implementation of Habitat III. We expect a high attendance to the forum,” he said.

Habitat III, a conference held by the UN every 20 years, will review the global urban agenda as well as the mandate, structure and further strengthening of UN-Habitat as it enters its fifth decade.

The conference will be held in October this year in Quito, Ecuador, during which Malaysia will deliver its stance on the new urban agenda during the intervention remarks session.