HIC Presidents and General Secretaries

On the occasion of an NGO meeting at the first session of the UN Committee on Human Settlements (UN Habitat), at New York, 5–7 April 1978, the Committee elected its first President Han van Putten of the International Union of Local Authorities (The Hague), which undertook to host the NGO Committee`s secretariat.

Following a four-year term, Mr. van Putten was succeeded as president in 1982 by Benno Heinen, director of DESWOS (the German Federation of Housing Corporations) in Düsseldorf. At that time, the name of the organization was changed to Habitat International Council.

In 1984 David Hall, director of the Town and Country Planning Association (London) became president, serving until 1989. During that period, a seminar held by members in Limuru, Kenya, in 1987, formed a turning point in the members` collective philosophy and composition, committing itself to the service of people and communities living in poverty and deprivation. A special General Assembly held at Berlin, in 1987, culminated in the transformation of the movement`s name and Constitution. It thus emerged as a federated organization under the name Habitat International Coalition.

On 1 September 1988, Enrique Ortiz, of Mexico, began his work as secretary-general at the new HIC Secretariat in Mexico City. For more than ten years, HIC had developed its base in the Latin American region with a clear and defined mandate. The composition of the Coalition also has evolved further to incorporate and represent these groups and assume a predominantly Southern and developing-world character.

In 1989, Han van Putten returned to the presidency of HIC for a four-year term. Kirtee Shah, of the Ahmedabad Study Action Group (India), was elected to succeed Mr. van Putten, and Mr. Shah was re-elected in 1997. In 2003, the HIC membership elected Enrique Ortíz as president for a four-year term.

By constitutional provision, the HIC Secretariat moves to a new center in the South every decade. In 1999, Enrique Ortiz resigned and the Secretariat moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where it operated as the coordinating hub of HIC . Mr. Eldridge Jerry (South Africa) served as secretary-general in 1999–2000. In 2001, Cesare Ottolini (Padua, Italy) was appointed as interim coordinator, pending the recruitment of a new secretary-general. In 2003, the HIC Board appointed Ana Sugranyes as secretary-general, who then established the HIC General Secretariat in Santiago, Chile, where it operated until 2013. From January 2014, Alvaro Puertas Robina (Seville, Spain), the new secretary-general designed by HIC Board assumed the position and settled the GS in Cairo, Egypt, sharing the office with HIC Middle East and North Africa and HIC-HLRN.







Benno Heinen

David Hall

Han van Putten

Kirtee Shah

Enrique Ortiz

Davinder Lamba

Lorena Zárate







2007- 2011

2011 - 2015


General Secretaries


Han van Putten

Enrique Ortiz

Eldrige Jerry

Cesare Ottolini 

Ana Sugranyes

Alvaro Puertas


1988 - 1999

2000 - 2001


2003 - 2013

2014 - today



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