L'oeil de la Genève Internationale
March 2016

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) coordinated, jointly with the UN-Habitat, the preparation of the HABITAT III Regional Report on Housing and Urban Development for the UNECE Region. This report is expected to be adopted during the international regional conference European Habitat, organized within the framework of the UNECE, from 16 to 18 March 2016, in Prague.

By 2050, almost two-thirds (66%) of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Today, 75 % of the UNECE region, consisting of 56 Member States, already live in cities. The report elaborated strategic recommendations for addressing urban and housing challenges. It will provide an important regional input into the New Urban Agenda towards The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development HABITAT III, in Quito, in October 2016.

UNECE Executive Secretary, Mr. Christian Friis Bach, said « Cities are struggling to address issues of the demographic changes, including ageing, migration, security, as well as overcoming multiple economic, financial and social problems. It is therefore also our role to support developing capacities of local authorities to managing cities, encouraging the cooperation of cities with national governments and private sector as well as between different departments of city governments ».

Winner of the Niépce Prize in 2008, the photographer Jürgen Nefzger has been documenting, for nearly 30 years, the changes in the landscape and wondering about "the ambiguities inherent in our societies”. Urbanism, peri-urban and rural areas as well as environmental issues are the main themes he addresses using a medium format camera. This image, taken in Clermont- Ferrand, is part of the series entitled “Nocturnes” published in the book of the same name by Hatje Cantz publishing.