The session resumed in the afternoon of the first day when the Chair invited the PrepCom to take-up consideration of matters relating to the composition of the Bureau. The representatives of Sri Lanka and Azerbaijan, who had been elected at the organizational session, were unable to attend and were replaced. The new Bureau consists of: Chair, Finland (Mr. Martti Lujanen); Vice-Chairs Kenya (Ms Pamela Mboya), Sri Lanka (Mr. Wijepala Dharmasiri Ailapperuma), Azerbaijan (Mr. Rufat N. Novruzov); and the Rapporteur, Ecuador (Ms. Marjorie Ulloa). Turkey, the host country of Habitat II, is an ex-officio member of the Committee. The agenda, as contained in document A/CONF.165/PC/1/1, was then adopted and the delegates discussed the schedule of work as set out in A/CONF.165/PC/1/Add.2. The US, supported by many delegates, proposed that the work of Committee I start as early as possible since it would deal with some of the most important issues, preparations at the country level and at the regional and global level (items 3 and 4 of the Agenda). The Chair reminded the participants that a maximum of two meetings could be held simultaneously. An overarching theme in delegates' statements was that issues of substance should be addressed and that goals and objectives should be identified that would result in specific tasks to be undertaken by all those involved, both in the interim period before the Conference and as a result of its implementation. Two Committees, open to all, would meet in parallel to the Plenary. The Chair then moved on to the second item of the Agenda, the presentation of the Progress report of the Secretary-General, document A/CONF.165/PC/1/2.
The Secretary-General of the Conference, Dr. Wally N'Dow, presented a progress report drawing attention to what was expected as well as what was achieved. The Secretariat, in preparing for this PrepCom, has held a series of regional meetings including a high-level Ministerial meeting of African States. The result of this PrepCom session should give a set of clearly defined priorities and definitions for drafting a global plan of action. He called for dialogue to begin between States and the Secretariat. He asked the States not to delay. The organizational time is over and substantive issues must now be addressed. The Conference would do too little too late if the States delayed further. He requested that this Conference avoid the mistake made at Habitat I, which achieved few of its objectives because of its focus on principles instead of a set of practical actions. Instead, the objectives of the preparatory activities must be detailed and prioritized and result in a set of practical actions that can be undertaken by all participants. The Chair then gave the floor to those delegates who wished to make general statements.
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