ENB:11:05 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

PLENARY

International Union of Local Authorities: Colonel Maximo M.M. Ng'andwe stated this Conference marked the first time that local government authorities are participating in the UN process distinct from NGOs. Local governments are not an instrument of international authorities, but full players because they are closest to the people. He also requested a panel of distinguished mayors from around the world for Istanbul.

Kenya: Hon. Jonathan Ng'eno, Minister for Public Works and Housing, re- emphasized the crucial role of the UNCHS and reiterated the need to keep UNEP and UNCHS management separate. While urbanization is irreversible, it is also important to improve the living conditions in rural areas and establish linkages between the two. The PrepCom needs specific mechanisms to facilitate its goals, including the elimination of poverty.

Gabon: Mr. Ntoutoume Emane, Minister of State, said that social and economic dwellings are a vital part of social policy. It is important to revise the financing mechanisms related to social housing, particularly those linked to the short term financing procedures of international financial institutions, which have made it difficult to implement the Rio recommendations.

Brazil: Mr. G. Holanda Cavalcanti said the Draft Statement of Principles and the Global Plan of Action provide a sound basis for work, but noted that it needs to indicate the role of the international community, in particular technical assistance and mobilization of resources. The problems of small urban settlements and the development of adequate technologies and management issues need to be addressed.

China: Vice-Minister Mao Rubai said the Conference should strive to eliminate poverty, promote sustainable economic development, and control excessive population growth. He noted many improvements in China's housing situation in recent years, but noted the enormous problems impending.

Russian Federation: Amb. Boris Maiorski said that countries with economies in transition need new housing policies for a market economy. The Russian government has agreed to set up a national committee. He added that Russia will need financial support to continue ongoing reforms.

Australia: Amb. Lawry Herron stated that the sectoral approach has not delivered economic and social renewal, therefore Australia is developing a cross- sectoral approach that focuses on citizens. Preparations for Habitat II must recognize the interdependency of social and environmental goals as well as the principles established in other recent UN conferences.

United Arab Emirates: Mr. Ali Alshami, Deputy Minister, said that UAE has created a national preparatory committee consisting of municipal authorities, local authorities, academics and NGOs. He also endorsed the need for the international community to take coordinated action.

Gambia: Mr. S.K. Sagina, Deputy Permanent Secretary, noted that Gambia has adopted institutional changes, such as housing projects and urban environment projects, and has implemented international housing protocols. Lack of funds is a major constraint and without financial assistance Gambia will encounter delays in implementing the outcomes of the Conference.

Bangladesh: Mr. Hasinur Rahman outlined the activities the country has undertaken on Habitat II: the right to housing has been recognized; a 66-member national preparatory committee has been set up; a national plan of action has been prepared; urban and housing indicators are being worked out in line with the Habitat II guidelines; and a national housing authority is under consideration.

Ghana: Deputy Minister Alex B. Akuffo underscored the need to give priority to disaster mitigation and rehabilitation and then elaborated on the shelter and housing activities Ghana has undertaken based on the country's 2020 Vision.

Tunisia: General Director Medini elaborated on the success of two housing programmes: the first targets the poorest in urban areas; and the second, the Integrated Rural Programme, targets the rural areas. He stressed that overcoming problems that impede development in rural areas requires local and international solidarity, which Habitat II should demonstrate.

The Philippines: Under Secretary Aniceto M. Sobrepana said the Global Plan of Action should adequately reflect the responsibility of the international community, in particular in the technical and financial aspects. Habitat II should focus on sustainable urban development and provide the link between Rio and Istanbul.

Lesotho: Hon. Lesao Lehohla, Minister of Home Affairs and Local Government, recalled the Kampala Declaration and reaffirmed his commitment to HABITAT II. Lesotho is engaged in a national preparatory process, establishing a national committee and a task force on assistance needed from HABITAT II and submitting three best practices to the Secretariat.

Burundi: Mr. Marc Ndayamirije described the special needs of his country, which has lost housing and urban structures from war and disaster. Burundi has established a shelter policy and a ministry in charge of displaced people, but requested assistance from governments, UNCHS and NGOs to help its reconstruction.

Burkina Faso: Mr. Joseph Guiebo said Habitat II was of great importance because of severe economic troubles. Burkina Faso has instituted a Five Year Plan that will deliver 225,000 housing units, has held many workshops and initiated population studies.

[Return to start of article]