Dear Ms. Sharif,

On behalf of Habitat for Humanity’s Solid Ground Campaign, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on your recent appointment as UN-Habitat’s Executive Director.

Habitat for Humanity and UN-Habitat have a longstanding relationship, and share a commitment to adequate shelter for all. Housing accounts for more than 70 percent of land use in most cities, yet 1 billion people in cities around the world lack secure land rights. Since its inception, Habitat has focused its efforts internationally to address the many hurdles to accessing secure housing globally. In 2016, Habitat for Humanity initiated a global advocacy campaign called Solid Ground to increase access to land for shelter for 10 million people. Habitat organizations and partners are now implementing the campaign in 37 countries worldwide — each tailoring advocacy approaches and land policy solutions based on their local context. From Honduras, to Poland, to South Africa, to Cambodia, we have seen some great success, and have improved policies and systems that will improve access to land for shelter for 1.6 million!

Building on the momentum Solid Ground has seen so far, we are looking ahead to future achievements and new opportunities in 2018, including the ninth World Urban Forum taking place next month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Habitat for Humanity played a key role in the development of the New Urban Agenda, and we support its emphasis on adequate and affordable housing, secure land tenure and community-led development. The NUA is highly ambitious, and we recognize that it will take partnership, political will, resources, innovative approaches and a sense of urgency in order to see results from our collective commitments to the Agenda. At the WUF9, Solid Ground will be calling on all stakeholders to work together to help create an enabling environment and establish urban plans and policies that prioritize adequate and affordable housing, secure land tenure, and community-led development, fostering sustainable cities where everyone has a decent place to live.

I am very excited to attend the World Urban Forum — my first time participating since WUF7 in Naples — and to visit Malaysia, your home country, which has been recognized for its commitment to sustainable urban development.

We look forward to continuing our partnership and to collaborating with you and your teams to implement the New Urban Agenda and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Congratulations again on your appointment, and best wishes as you take on your new responsibilities.


Amanda Entrikin, Director of Global Affairs and Advocacy, HFHI