6 November 2007The United Nations agency tasked with promoting socially and environmentally sustainable housing has announced a partnership with a Canadian university to establish the world’s most complete online information archive on urban issues. The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) issued a statement yesterday saying that the University of British Columbia, which is based in Vancouver, had taken the initiative to host more than 30 years of print and electronic material. The UBC/UN-HABITAT Archive, which will be web-based, will contain material stretching from the UN agency’s first conference in 1976 up to and including the 2006 World Urban Forum III. Eventually it is expected to include more than 2,000 videos on urban issues accumulated by UN-HABITAT during the past three decades, as well as numerous books, magazines, pamphlets, websites and other materials. The online portal is aimed at giving governments, urban planners, developers, academics and others access to information – especially sustainable solutions – to various aspects of urban life, including housing, transport, infrastructure, resources management, land tenure, governance and climate change. UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka said the archive would serve as an invaluable resource for learning, teaching and practice on towns and cities. Professor Emeritus Peter Oberlander, the inaugural director of the university’s Centre for Human Settlements, said “these materials can show us how to improve the liveability and economic viability of the world’s communities… For example, a municipal clerk in Kumasi, Ghana, instructed to introduce water metering can now access the UN’s best practices on this subject to help ensure accessible and equitable water distribution.”
The prisoners are calling for a Presidential pardon and have refused to suspend the fast till they get an acceptable solution. Tamil political prisoners at key prisons around the country began a fast unto death today, demanding their release.The Prisons Department said that Tamil political prisoners at the Welikada prison are among those who are taking part in the fast.