Approximately seven billion people already live on our Earth today. The United Nations predicts that the number will rise to nearly ten billion by the year 2050. Since the majority of these people are flocking to the cities, ways must be found to guide this rapid – often uncontrolled – process of urbanisation in a controllable, governable and humane direction.
The Global Parliamentarians on Habitat (GPH) is an international organization of parliamentarians whose members are committed to sustainable urban development.
Since April 2008, Peter Götz, Member of the German Bundestag, has been President of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat. The seat of the organisation was thus moved from Mexico City, Mexico, to Berlin, Germany.
The members of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat are parliamentarians. The parliamentarians of the GPH have set themselves the goal of working as legislators in their parliaments to ensure that governments increasingly address sustainability issues, above all in the areas of housing, urban development and local self-government.
In addition, they intend to bring their influence to bear on decision-making processes in order to foster coordinated action by governments, communities, the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Through the international network of parliamentarians, the goals of the Habitat Agenda are advocated in the individual national parliaments and efforts to achieve these goals are actively encouraged.
The primary objective of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat is to promote the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
In 1996, UN-HABITAT and its member states adopted the Habitat Agenda in Istanbul, Turkey. The Habitat Agenda is a global plan of action setting out strategies for adequate, sustainable development in the area of shelter and human settlements.
The GPH follows the work of UN-HABITAT with a critical and constructive eye. The natural foundations of life can only be permanently secured if those in positions of responsibility at all levels take into account the reciprocal interaction of the economic, social and ecological aspects of their decisions.
A study initiated by the GPH and presented in November 2008 shows how the goals and principles of the Habitat Agenda have left their mark in the national legislation of selected countries in Europe.
The Board of Directors of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat coordinates and organises the work of the GPH worldwide. The President of the GPH is the President of the Board of Directors. He is supported in the discharge of his functions by four vice-presidents, who are simultaneously the presidents of the regional councils by continent of the GPH. There are regional GPH groups for the continents of Africa, America, Asia and Europe.
The organization was founded in 1987 in Yokohama, Japan and its Rules of Procedure were officially adopted in 1992 in Vancouver, Canada.