The Working Group completed consideration of national preparations for the Conference, discussed plans for committees and activities at Istanbul and began consideration of reports on the state of human settlements.
AGENDA ITEM II: PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE: Liberia has developed a national settlement plan, established a task force for implementation of Habitat II, and is planning a national symposium and workshops. Nepal has established a national committee and completed its human settlements sector review and national settlements strategy for a national plan of action. Ghana has submitted a report from its national committee. He called for supporting the attendance of needy delegations and equity between rural and urban concerns.
Uganda, on behalf of the African States, noted common African priorities: rural-urban poverty, national development, land tenure, financial reforms, human resource development, environmental impact assessment, gender balance, civil and human rights, especially concerning refugees and human and natural disasters. He added that cities and countryside are not enemies. Nigeria's national steering committee will address best practices, urban housing indicators and hold a workshop for local councils.
Responding to questions from the Netherlands, the Secretariat said that in-country preparations would be supported in the event of a funding shortfall, but no decisions had been made. Regarding information flow, reports from about 40 upcoming international meetings will be consolidated into a progress report before PrepCom III.
PrepCom II Chair Martti Lujanen then introduced document A/CONF.165/PC.2/CRP.2, Organization of Work, including Establishment of Committees and Procedural Matters, which will be considered by the Group Wednesday.
The document addresses pre-Conference consultations, the election of officers, adoption of the rules of procedure, adoption of the agenda, organization of work, participation of local authorities and the report of the Conference.
The document highlights the role of NGOs and local authorities, based on GA resolution 49/109 of December 1994 and the decision of the PrepCom at its first session to involve all the listed sectors as full members of the national committees.
A two-day pre-conference consultation will be held in Istanbul to deal with organizational matters, with one representative from each delegation attending. This proposal needs endorsement from the GA in November. The section on election of officers and adoption of rules of procedure is based on a standard UN format, and the agenda will be adopted in PrepCom III. One Plenary and two Main Committees are planned. Plenary will have two segments: general debate on the themes of the main conference and a high-level segment. Committee I will prepare the Statement of Principles and Global Plan of Action and address organizational matters. Committee II will conduct hearings between member States and participants from other sectors and possibly receive recommendations on thematic issues from round-tables. Representatives of Local Authorities' associations will have access at the level of government delegations without the right to vote. The Report of the Conference will include the hearings from Committee II.
AGENDA ITEM 4: STATE OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS REPORT AND MAJOR REVIEWS: The Secretariat summarized the group of documents reviewing the state of human settlements. India said the documents did not sufficiently reflect developing countries' priority on international technical and financial assistance. He also pointed out problems related to inflexible regulations, the relations between public and private sector finance, equal opportunity for borrowing, and the abolition of rent control. He placed a reservation on A/CONF.165/PC.2/11's treatment of the human right to housing pending the decision of the CHS. The Netherlands said the Group should defer discussion on housing rights until the CHS completed deliberations.
Finland said the review of Agenda 21 implementation in A/CONF.165/PC.2/8 shows that development of viable indicators can ensure an efficient monitoring system. She called for consideration of relevant documents and goals from Cairo and Copenhagen.
Kenya said the reports do not address the needs of vulnerable groups. The rural-urban imbalance was not shown, and statistics were needed on regional levels of urbanization.
Spain said a statement in A/CONF.165/PC.2/8 that 'the business of development is an eminently private affair' should be revised to say that government can help mobilize private sector resources.
The Chair said an informal, open-ended drafting group chaired by India would be formed to revise the documents.
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