A BRIEF HISTORY OF HABITAT II
The Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II)
will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3-14 June 1996 " the 20th
anniversary of the first Habitat Conference in Vancouver. Habitat II
received its impetus from the 1992 United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development and General Assembly resolution 47/180.
The Secretary-General of the Conference is Dr. Wally N"Dow.
The objectives for Habitat II are: (1) in the long term, to arrest the
deterioration of global human settlements conditions and ultimately
create the conditions for achieving improvements in the living
environment of all people on a sustainable basis, with special attention
to the needs and contributions of women and vulnerable social groups
whose quality of life and participation in development have been
hampered by exclusion and inequality, affecting the poor in general; and
(2) to adopt a general statement of principles and commitments and
formulate a related global plan of action capable of guiding national and
international efforts through the first two decades of the next century.
The organizational session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for
Habitat II was held at UN Headquarters in New York from 3-5 March
1993. Delegates elected the Bureau and took several basic decisions
regarding the organization and timing of the process. Members of the
Bureau include: the Chair, Martti Lujanen (Finland); Vice Chairs Pamela
Mboya (Kenya), Wijepala Dharmasiri Ailapperuma (Sri Lanka), and Rufat
N. Novruzov (Azerbaijan); and the Rapporteur, Marjorie Ulloa (Ecuador).
Turkey, the host country, is an ex officio member of the Bureau.
The first substantive session of the PrepCom was held in Geneva from
11-22 April 1994. Delegates agreed that the overriding objective of the
Conference should be to increase the world awareness of the problems
and potentials of human settlements as important inputs to social
progress and economic growth and to commit the world"s leaders to
making cities, towns and villages healthy, safe, just and sustainable.
The PrepCom also took decisions on the organization of the Conference
and financing, in addition to the following:
- National Objectives: Each participating country should design, adopt and implement a national plan of action, which will address the issue of human settlements in both urban and rural areas, taking into consideration environmental issues, and which will involve the full participation and support of the public and private sectors, and of non-governmental and community-based organizations. Countries should also strengthen the capacity of institutions at all levels to monitor shelter conditions and urbanization processes using a minimum set of substantially uniform and consistent indicators.
- International Objectives: The preparatory process should: present a "State of Human Settlements" report; produce a Statement of Principles and Commitments based on a new international consensus on policies and goals for shelter; produce a Global Plan of Action to mobilize international resources and create institutional arrangements to assist countries to implement and monitor the goals of sustainable human settlements and shelter for all and to protect the environment against unwarranted and undesirable impacts of urbanization; and make available the broadest range of information concerning shelter strategies, technologies, resources, experience, expertise and sources of support.
- Participation: Governments of each participating State should establish national committees with broad participation from all levels of government, civic leaders, the academic and scientific community, grassroots leaders, non-governmental and community-based organizations, and the private sector. These committees should formulate, adopt and implement a work programme that includes the production of a national report, discussion on priority issues, organize local and country consultations and forums, and prepare and present audio-visual documentaries of examples of best practice in human settlement development.
- Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments: The Statement should reaffirm and be framed within the general goals of the UN, contain a reference to the Principles adopted by Habitat I as well as reference to the Rio Declaration; and introduce the rationale for the new principles and commitments that will guide national and international action on human settlements for the next 20 years.
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- Draft Global Plan of Action: The Global Plan of Action should be structured around the two main themes of the Conference: adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world. The following multi-sectoral issues should be considered: settlements management; poverty reduction; environmental management; and disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction. Cross-sectoral issues that should be considered include: women, the urban economy and employment; social and economic dimensions of urbanization and shelter development; education and capacity building; and equity and vulnerable social groups.