Vol. 5 No. 220
Delegates met in two parallel sessions to
engage in interactive discussions on water, sanitation, and human
settlements. One group dealt with water and sanitation issues, including
Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), access to basic water
services, access to basic sanitation and hygiene, and wastewater
treatment, recycling and reuse. The other group considered human
settlements, focusing on access to housing and public services, job
creation and enterprise promotion. The discussions on each topic were
led by a panel of representatives from UN agencies and other
ACCESS TO HOUSING AND PUBLIC SERVICES: This session, which took place on Tuesday morning, was chaired by CSD-13 Vice-Chair Husniyya Mammadova (Azerbaijan), who asked participants to focus on practical measures requiring concerted global or regional action.
Nefise Bazoglu, UN-HABITAT, explained that
the international target of improving the lives of 100 million slum
dwellers was established when there were no accurate assessments of slum
dwellers’ population and trends, adding that their numbers were now
estimated at one billion. She concluded that slums can be transformed
into improved human settlements.
Discussion: In the ensuing
discussion, participants raised a variety of issues, including the
benefits of a rights-based approach and the importance of adequate,
appropriate and innovative financing. A number of speakers also
questioned whether the target of improving the lives of 100 million slum
dwellers was adequate, highlighted the need for better disaster
preparedness and planning, and stressed the need for an integrated and
participatory approach. The importance of UN-HABITAT’s role was strongly
On financing, several developing country
speakers urged industrialized nations to honor their funding
commitments. NIGERIA said the Monterrey Consensus should be implemented,
and debt relief extended. INDONESIA highlighted the importance of
micro-financing. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA recommended an international
credit fund for housing to give developing countries access to financial
resources. The G-77/CHINA focused on financing issues, technology
transfer, and South-South cooperation.
On partnerships and cooperation, LOCAL
AUTHORITIES stressed the major role local authorities play in human
settlements management, and urged closer partnerships between central
governments and local authorities. TRADE UNIONS called for the inclusion
of workers at the earliest stages of water, sanitation and housing
projects. FRANCE highlighted the need for full stakeholder involvement.
The US noted that solutions are unlikely to be top-down or centralized.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE proposed strengthening integrated land-use planning
and tenure protection. The EU elaborated on key policy recommendations
relating to secure tenure, housing, women’s rights and governance.
On slum dwellers, SOUTH AFRICA questioned
the adequacy of the current global target and spoke of the need for
specific national and regional goals. NGOs said the goal should be
changed to “reduce by half” the number of urban slum dwellers by 2020.
AUSTRALIA said such targets should not be reopened. The US and EU said
the recent UN-HABITAT Governing Council session agreed not to reopen the
target. This perspective was questioned by SOUTH AFRICA.
JOB CREATION AND ENTERPRISE PROMOTION: On Tuesday afternoon, Vice-Chair Boo Nam Shin (Republic of Korea) convened a session on job creation and enterprise promotion in the context of human settlements.
Discussion: In the ensuing
discussion, the EU elaborated on policy options for financing, and
CHILDREN AND YOUTH highlighted the vulnerability of youth to slum
problems. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES stressed the need for
capacity building, and WOMEN recommended a gender rights approach to job
creation. UN-HABITAT underscored the importance of preventing future
slums from forming.
IRAN raised issues relating to refugees,
as well as job creation for slum dwellers and those affected by natural
disasters. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY identified “gaps” in the Chair’s text
relating to governance, enabling frameworks for sustainable job and
enterprise creation, capacity building, technologies and innovation. The
US highlighted the needs of young people and women, citing examples of
successful and replicable multi-stakeholder initiatives. TRADE UNIONS
drew attention to research into companies’ employment practices that
identifies successes and failures in supporting sustainable employment,
accusing ABN AMRO of investment policies that supported companies with
“horrendous” working conditions. Ghana, for the AFRICAN GROUP,
highlighted poverty, lack of capacity, HIV/AIDS, refugees, rapid
urbanization, and public debt as major obstacles to job creation.
WATER AND SANITATION
Presentations on Access to Basic Water
Services: Jamal Saghir, World Bank, focused on financing issues,
including charges for water services and subsidizing the poor. He also
noted the challenge of decentralization and governance, and emphasized
the increasing role of the local private sector.
Many speakers reported on national
implementation activities, and a considerable number welcomed the
ecosystem approach. CANADA emphasized science and information sharing.
SWITZERLAND encouraged debt-for-nature swaps. NGOs suggested that CSD-13
produce a country-specific table of commitments. The US underscored the
importance of partnerships. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE called for integrating
indigenous knowledge. The Philippines encouraged South-South and
ï¿½triangularï¿½ cooperation, while FRANCE noted North-South cooperation.
The EC identified the implementation of Monterrey Consensus commitments,
innovative funding mechanisms, and empowerment of local authorities as
practical measures. LESOTHO urged acknowledgment of HIV/AIDS as a
constraint. Mexico discussed the need for mechanisms, such as catchment
councils, to resolve disputes. The IntErNATIONAl rAINwATER harvesting
ALLIANCE, supported by others, encouraged an emphasis on rainwater
harvesting. WOMEN emphasized the importance of land tenure and urged
governments to ensure that industry internalizes pollution
externalities. TUVALU called for the establishment of a funding facility
for LDCs and SIDS and for an implementation review of water actions
relevant to SIDS.
Veerle Vanderwerd, UNEP, suggested, inter
alia, strengthening the WET-WASH campaign and the Whitewater to
Bluewater initiative. Jamie Bartram, WHO, discussed the adverse impacts
of wastewater mismanagement, the need for information to support
evidence-based policymaking, and strengthening of regional processes and
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, France noted its commitment to doubling aid devoted to sanitation. CHILDREN AND YOUTH, supported by many participants, emphasized the importance of sanitation education. The G-77/CHINA proposed a 10-year programme on wastewater management in line with the Marrakech Process. The EU urged transparency in subsidies and reflection of sanitation priorities in national budgets. He called for an enlargement of the mandate of UN-Water. The UK highlighted the potential role of the International Finance Facility.
Summarizing the discussion, Veerle
Vanderwerd noted the positive exchange of ideas and said the challenge
now was to select a few key issues and practical mechanisms that could
be decided on by CSD-13. Jamie Bartram highlighted comments on
technology innovation, information sharing, UN-Waterï¿½s role, and links
to health issues.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As CSD-13ï¿½s first full day of interactive discussions on water, sanitation and human settlements drew to a close late Tuesday afternoon, some participants who had complained in the morning about the quality of interactions seemed to have had a change of heart. Earlier in the day, there were suggestions that too much time was being spent on domestic measures that were hard to translate into practical policies. However, as the day progressed, the sentiment changed, with several delegates pointing to more focused and relevant interventions. A number of participants seemed pleased with the interactive nature of the discussions and the steps taken to integrate Major Groups. A few observers were also heard praising the G-77/China for its efforts to develop a conference room paper on an implementation review procedure for the CSD and matrices for CSD-13 outcomes.