The Plenary met on the last day of the PrepCom to adopt the draft texts. Before the Plenary could adopt the draft texts, Tunisia and India had further revision suggestions. The US also questioned the lack of reference to the themes of the Conference in the text. The Plenary draft texts were then adopted and the Chair thanked the delegates and Chairs for their hard work. The Rapporteur then requested the adoption of the "Draft Report of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) on its First Session" (A/CONF/165./PC.1/L1 and L.1/Add.1). This report contained a short summary of the organization and duration of the session, a list of States in attendance, an agenda and proposed organization of work for the second PrepCom and the report of the Preparatory Committee. Typographical errors and other oversights were first amended and the report was adopted.
Discussion about the rules of procedure for the next PrepCom, participation of NGOs and dates for the second PrepCom session and its provisional agenda followed. It had been proposed that the second PrepCom meet in conjunction with the meeting of the Commission on Human Settlements. There had been previous debate on this matter and a small informal group was convened to discuss it. This group proposed that the PrepCom follow the meeting of the Commission so that the two meetings meet for no longer than two weeks. Because of Easter holidays it was agreed that these two meetings would overlap. The PrepCom will meet from the 24 April- 5 May and the Commission will meet from 26 April-2 May 1995 in Nairobi. In addition, a third session of the PrepCom will be held early in 1996.
France questioned the title of the Conference. It suggested an intelligible title that could be understood by all would be more appropriate than "Habitat II", which is only understood by those very close to the process. It noted that Boutros Boutros-Ghali had referred to the Conference as the "City Summit" and the Conference poster refers to the "Future of Cities." France thought that either of these titles would be more appropriate and suggested the Secretariat address this issue. In response, Dr. N'Dow announced that plans were underway to approach professional communicators to address this issues. He confirmed that it is important that the Conference not only be understood, but excite interest. This concluded the discussion of organizational and substantive matters and several closing statements were made.
In his closing statement, Dr. N'Dow congratulated the delegates on the successful conclusion of the first meeting, noting the remarkable spirit of harmony in the Conference. He also thanked representatives of NGOs and private corporations and volunteer-sending agencies. He reminded the delegates that the theme of the Conference is urbanization. While not ignoring the rural environment we must attend to our new and growing habitat -- towns and cities -- before its problems overwhelm our abilities to cope. Over half of humanity will live in urban areas by the year 2000. These areas can be rich in experience and opportunity, humane in their tolerance, and civilized in their diversity. Without good governance these areas can be arenas for crime, civil strife, and disasters of all types, including epidemics and pollution. Some problems now facing the cities and towns extend beyond national borders. Dr. N'Dow asked members of the Preparatory Committee to commit themselves to a revolution of new solutions, new ideas, new policies, new tools and new institutions. The next century must do away with all that imprisons and chokes so much of humanity today. We must strive together to build a world fit for all people everywhere.
In her concluding remarks, Ms. Elizabeth Dowdswell was encouraged by the progress made during the PrepCom and thanked the various Chairs of Committees and drafting groups. Special thanks were paid to the Habitat II staff and Secretariat. She said that Dr. N'Dow and Mr. Wilhelm bring much wisdom and vision to the Conference. While referring to the Bosnian town of Gorazde (which had been under heavy siege for the two weeks of the PrepCom), Ms. Dowdswell noted the importance of the good governance of human settlements to peace around the world.
Closing statements were then made by the heads of the regional groups -- Africa, Asia, Eastern European, Latin America and Western European and Others -- Jordan, on behalf of the Arab countries, the Habitat International Coalition, representing NGOs, and the host country, Turkey. The Chair, Mr. Martti Lujanen expressed his hopes for the preparatory process, thanked the participants and closed the meeting.
[Return to start of article]