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INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON THE GLOBAL PLAN OF ACTION

The informal working group on the Draft Statement of Principles and Global Plan of Action (GPA) agreed Wednesday to organize a small drafting group to combine the Secretariat's draft of the GPA with a European Union (EU) outline for discussion distributed Tuesday and an African Group outline described during Wednesday's session. The Chair, G.A.C. Khonje (Zambia), suggested that delegates first deal with the GPA's structure and then discuss substantive issues.

The EU summarized its proposal, reiterating the need for the GPA to support Habitat II's agreed political aims. He suggested that the final GPA could be divided into two documents, one covering principles and commitments and a second containing the GPA. He suggested that most of the commitments in the Secretariat draft are contextual and should follow substantive commitments on settlements. The commitments should be between governments, while the action programme would include national or subnational elements. The African group said the final document should have four sections: a preamble; principles, strategies and commitments; the GPA; and a fourth section describing monitoring and evaluation programmes based on performance measures and indicators.

Several delegates supported the general structure of the EU outline and recommended additions or modifications. The suggestions include a section describing strategies and a timetable for their implementation, sections on financial resources and mechanisms, combining the preamble and principles, and that additional emphasis should be placed on national plans or international aspects. Delegates also noted the need to distinguish clearly between principles, commitments and strategies and to determine the sectors or administrative levels to which they should apply.

The Chair accepted the proposal by several delegates to establish a drafting group to combine the various texts. The group will consist of two representatives from each regional group, two NGO representatives, and a representative each from the EU, the African group and local authorities. The regional groups should submit their nominations by Thursday morning, and the group will begin meeting immediately thereafter.

The working group then discussed substantive elements. Several comments from delegates underscored the preamble's importance in setting the scope for the document: a new conceptualization of settlements and settlement problems; integration of rural and urban concerns; an evolutionary perspective on settlements; inclusion of people of all spiritual heritages; and a justification for the global conference encompassing the similarity of different countries' problems, ecological concerns, new human rights related to settlements and international responsibility for the solution. Regarding general substantive issues, delegates highlighted the need for: a plan that allows for national action; inclusion of rural as well as urban concerns; financial and fiscal issues; and development concerns related to both settlements and natural and human resources.

Several delegates stressed that the document should be written in simple language for politicians and the public to understand.

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