ENB:11:06 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

PLENARY

Zambia: Joseph Kaoma stated that 48% of Zambia's population lives in the urban areas. In response to Habitat II, Zambia has: set up a broad-based multi-sectoral national committee; prepared effective and functional documentation based on country- wide consultations; participated in the work of the regional committee; put in place a public sector reform programme; initiated a land reform programme to streamline legislation; and completed the first phase of research on construction materials.

Republic of Korea: Mr. H. Lee said economic development does not improve housing conditions without a housing policy. There is a severe shortage of housing, particularly low-income, which has necessitated the deregulation of the housing sector.

Romania: Deputy Minister Crisan Popescu outlined the national preparations undertaken so far. He said that: a national committee has been created; responsibilities of the authorities have been widened; and the participation of populations has been institutionalized.

Slovenia: Mr. Alec Sarec stated that Slovenia has established a national committee, devised a national action plan and submitted a draft national report to the Secretariat.

Paraguay: Director Samudio said that Paraguay has implemented various action programs that give priority to the poorest segments and has invested 2.2% of its GDP in housing resources, but it has not stemmed housing problems. Paraguay has established a national action program, a national shelter strategy and submitted a report on best practices.

Bolivia: Mr. Adolpho Navarra Flores said that Bolivia is planning a national meeting on settlement issues for young professionals and students, an international meeting for regional states and possibly a preparatory meeting for Istanbul.

Spain: Amb. Sermin Prieto-Castro outlined the national preparations undertaken so far: a broad-based working group has been established; a structure for the national report has been adopted; national action plans are being prepared; a masterplan on infrastructure for 1995-2000 has been approved; and a water plan is being coordinated with Portugal.

Sudan: Rep. Elsir M. Ahmed said that Sudan has established a national committee with representatives from the private sector, NGOs and local authorities. He added that the document for this Conference should increase its focus on the rural level, clarify international support for housing, reflect the ethics of cities, and assist those countries affected by war.

Chile: Vice Minister Sergio Galilea said that Chile has completed a national progress report and is finalizing a national action plan. Chile has doubled infrastructure investment in the last decade and has built roughly 100,000 housing units annually for the last five years.

International Union of Tenants (IUT): Mr. Nic Nilsson asked whether security of Habitat II delegates can be guaranteed, noting that since IUT objected at the last PrepCom to locating the Conference in Istanbul, civil war has broken out in Turkey. Housing rights are important, especially the right of tenants to security of tenure, non-discrimination and reasonable rents.

Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University: Ms. Sheetal Shah stated that habitat and human settlements is about addressing the quality of life, which is living a life that is humane, full of dignity, rewarding and productive.

OECD: Mr. Pezzini said the OECD is strengthening its assessment of the interaction between economic, environmental and social problems in cities and formulating comprehensive urban policies. He described four OECD initiatives that could provide a framework for consultation with new and non-member countries: the ecological city; urban and regional governance and monitoring; policies for distressed areas; and local development in a Global Economy.

International Labor Office (ILO): Mr. Steve Miller said ILO will submit a paper to the Conference on the changing structure of urban employment. He supported the basic principles of civic engagement, sustainability and equity, but efforts toward better employment opportunities and poverty alleviation must increase.

UNEP: Mr. K.A. Edwards, on behalf of Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell, noted that past policies on human settlement problems placed too much emphasis on the 'top-down' approach. Current policy needs the involvement of the stakeholders at all levels.

UNESCO: Mr. Tochtermann said that UNESCO intends to focus specifically on the civic and cultural aspects of habitat problems. Urbanization is growing rapidly and the focus is often on cities, but this Conference should reserve particular attention to rural problems.

World Bank: Mr. Michael Cohen outlined three tasks for the Conference: convince political leaders of the importance of urban issues; provide the best advice about habitat questions; and clear the foundations for local, national and global action. He noted that: the output of Habitat II should be understood by laypeople everywhere; the role of the international community needs to be acknowledged although it will be modest; the World Bank has contributed US$1 million to support national governmental preparations and participation.

International Union of Finance Housing Institutions: Mr. Michael Lea elaborated on the role of the private sector in addressing housing issues. Legal systems that create, endorse and enforce property rights promote housing funds. There is a need to improve and develop linkages between the formal and informal sectors in order to improve funds for the low income sector.

International Council on Women: Ms. M. van den Boogert welcomed the reference in the GPA to the need to remove obstacles that discriminate against women. The document should also address discrimination against the elderly, and practical tools should be developed to measure performance in eliminating discrimination.

United Nations Volunteers: Ms. Dorothy Gordon, on behalf of the UNV Executive Director said the UNV hope to share their knowledge in building capacity for leadership management and to organize round-tables in Istanbul for the voluntary sector.

Youth Caucus: Ms. M. Nyamongo said that today 84% of youth live in developing countries and most live in cities. Many young people have no access to adequate shelter, gainful employment or functional education, and many turn to crime and violence. She reiterated the need to include youth on national delegations and requested a youth meeting prior to PrepCom III.

League of Arab States: Mr. A. Salaheldin Noah said the League's preparations for Habitat II have included two regional meetings, and another is scheduled for October. The Arab Council of Ministers has decided that all Arab states should create national committees and most Arab states are preparing national reports.

Commission on Human Rights: Mr. Rajinder Sachar said that the right to adequate housing has been part of many international declarations, including Habitat I and the Global Strategy for the Year 2000. Despite this, no nation has achieved adequate shelter for all. He said that the right to housing was enforceable under international law and criticized World Bank policies that have effected housing problems.

[Return to start of article]