UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency for human settlements, helps countries to transform their cities into safer, healthier, greener places with better opportunities where everyone, including the disadvantaged, can live in dignity. UN-Habitat works with organizations at every level, including all spheres of government, civil society and the private sector to help build, manage, plan and finance sustainable urban development. Key areas of intervention include better urban planning, good urban governance, housing, improving city financing, urban mobility, and cleaner, greener cities that take the lead in tackling climate change.
As the United Nations gateway for cities, UN-Habitat is constantly improving its focus and responsiveness to the aspirations of cities and their residents. Being one of the only two UN agencies that have its headquarters in developing countries, UN-Habitat works with hundreds of cities and communities in over 55 countries around the world to achieve tangible improvements in the living conditions and livelihoods of the urban dwellers in particular the most vulnerable.
UN-Habitat has a strong cooperation and various agreements with EU institutions. In 2011, the European Parliament (EP), the European Commission (EC) and UN-Habitat signed the Brussels Urban Declaration under the on-going cooperation between the international agency, Member States of the European Union and the EU Institutions.
Key staff
Urban Legislation, Land and Governance Branch (UN-Habitat Headquarters)

Joe Hooper is Coordinator of the Urban Legislation and Governance Branch of UN-Habitat Headquarters and Unit Leader of its Local Government and Decentralisation Unit. He holds two master’s degrees in the areas of international relations and the humanities. He brings to the project a wide range of international experience in institutional reform and capacity development, business process reengineering, change management, and local government issues.  Prior to joining UN-Habitat, Joe has worked for the past 10 years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the other UN entities. Joe also served in senior programmatic positions with UNDP county offices in Albania, Sri Lanka, and Kosovo where the majority of his work focused on strengthening local authorities’ staff skills and organizational structures.
Albert Padrós is a Human Settlements Officer at the Urban Legislation, Land and Governance Branch of UN-Habitat. He holds a B.A. on Political Science and Administration from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and a Master’s degree from l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. Albert has worked for the last six years in numerous development projects in Africa and Latin America and is specialised in urban governance, land governance and ICT-enabled governance. He acts as UN-Habitat’s project leader for FUPOL.


Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch (UN-Habitat Headquarters)

Dr. Mohamed El Sioufi is the Coordinator of the Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch and he coordinates the Global Housing Strategy at UN-Habitat. He has over 35 years of experience practicing, advising and teaching in the field of human settlements. His experience bridges policy and technical advice, professional practice, academia, research and training. Since 1995 he has worked for UN-Habitat in capacity development, policy and technical cooperation and global norms and guidelines development. Dr. El Sioufi has initiated UN-Habitat’s Participatory slum Upgrading Programme.


Kerstin Sommer is the Leader of the Slum Upgrading Unit and the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) which is implemented in partnership with the ACP Secretariat and the European Commission in 34 Countries. She holds a Master Degree in Applied Geography – Spatial Planning as well as in Political Science and Business Administration. Kerstin has worked for UN-Habitat since 2005 and has supported the implementation and coordination of various UN-Habitat projects including the provision of policy and capacity building support to local and national governments, globally.