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INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON THE GLOBAL PLAN OF ACTION

The informal working group on document A/CONF.165/ PC.2/3, the Draft Statement of Principles and Global Plan of Action (GPA), met Tuesday afternoon to begin the 'hands-on' process of preparing the documents to be adopted in Istanbul. The Secretariat said the Bureau had decided that to avoid last-minute negotiations at PrepCom III, delegations must begin to engage each other rather than the Secretariat, and that the Secretariat would pull back and act only as a facilitator. A member of the Secretariat outlined the methodology for the development of the draft, the fundamental premises used in its elaboration and how changes in the problems of human settlements argue for a new approach to urbanization. The Secretariat introduced document A/CONF.165/PC.2/3/Add.1, which includes the three thematic programme areas proposed by the Secretariat: sustainable urban and regional development; sustainable shelter and community development; and sustainable settlements management and governance.

Some delegates pointed out technical problems with the Secretariat's draft, including its avoidance of the political issue of planning, the responsibilities of national governments and an implicit anti-rural bias.

Following a brief interval, the group reconvened for an abbreviated session. Delegates, some of whom were sitting on tables or the floor or standing in the hall, expressed concern that the meeting room was not adequate for the number of participants. They also noted that regional groups needed time to develop their positions on the draft GPA.

The EU circulated its outline for the structure of discussion on the content of the final document. After brief sections describing a preamble and the three principles from the Secretariat draft, the EU outline reorganizes the discussion on commitments into subject-oriented clusters: shelter for all; sustainable urban development; and cross- sectoral issues. The EU's outline has sections that were written to be as detailed and concrete as possible regarding shelter for all, sustainable human settlements, institutions, social concerns and implementation.

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