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WORKING GROUP II

The drafting group met in the morning and prepared draft text on the national and international commitments on the provision of sustainable human settlements. The informal working group met in the afternoon to consider national and international commitments on the provision of adequate shelter for all.

NATIONAL COMMITMENTS: The draft commits governments to ensure an adequate supply of shelter and improving living conditions on a sustainable basis so that everyone will have access to affordable and adequate shelter. To this end, governments shall look into: (a) policies to ensure adequate shelter for everybody, including the poor and disadvantaged; (b) policies that ensure access to serviced land, finance and credit, and affordable building materials; (c) macro-economic and shelter policies which maximize the positive economic impacts of shelter development; (d) the promotion of partnerships among all actors, especially between the private sector and community; (e) the establisment of a regulatory and legal framework to ensure equitable access by all people to resources for shelter development; (f) expanding the supply of affordable rental housing with due consideration to the rights and obligations of the tenant and owners; and (g) the removal of all forms of discrimination that may place disadvantaged groups in a vulnerable position in the housing market.

Kenya proposed "National Commitments for Adequate Shelter for All" as the title. Zambia, supported by the UK and Israel, provided text that highlights the shelter aspect in physical planning. Australia submitted text to indicate where shelter should be provided.

Chapeau: Benin and Turkey pointed out the lack of reference to commitments on adequate sustainable human settlements, but the Chair said these were being translated. Debate ensued on the preference between the terms "shelter for all" and "housing for all." The Secretariat said the Commission used the terms interchangeably, but the PrepComs should use "shelter for all" as called for by the 14th Session of the Commission. Germany said shelter for all refers to both housing and the provision of basic services, but suggested that due to ambiguity in the term "basic services," "public services" be used instead. This triggered another debate. Delegates agreed to use "basic services," and to define the term at the beginning of the document.

Subparagraph a: The Philippines provided text that merges subparagraphs (a) (b) and (c). Turkey said subparagraph (a) and (e) contradicted each other, setting off an economic debate between himself and India. The Chair suggested that they resolve the matter and provide a solution.

Subparagraph b: Benin proposed additional text that was amended by the Holy See and India to provide for the utilization of a master plan for each town and the "promotion of affordable, safe, building materials produced locally, and appropriate technology."

Subparagraph c: Habitat International Coalition said the term "maximize" may contradict socially just policies.

Subparagraph f: Kenya and Benin proposed removal of the brackets around the text. The UK amended it to: "Pay special attention to the promotion of a supply of affordable rental housing...."

Subparagraph g: The Holy See added "age" and "family size" to the discriminatory practices listed.

INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS: The UK suggested that the GPA should also be implemented "through national actions." Benin said it was not necessary to mention national actions because international commitments are intended to support national commitments. He recommended a number of revisions, including a reference to "new and additional financial resources" in the Chapeau and in a commitment on promoting international support for the GPA. He also suggested orienting several commitments specifically towards assisting developing countries.

Brazil, China, Algeria, the Philippines, Cuba, Senegal and Gabon supported the inclusion of new and additional resources. Zambia said it could be included, but should be matched by a pledge in the national commitments "to adopt and implement measures that will encourage increased domestic savings for shelter development." India said new and additional resources could be added if a conditional clause could be included. Egypt said he supported provision of new and additional resources but proposed "adequate financial resources." Denmark agreed that new and additional resources are necessary but suggested the commitment could include "to the extent possible."

Germany, supported by the UK, the US, Australia and Japan, said new and additional resources did not belong in the international commitments. He said the language was added to documents in Rio only after a careful examination of the financial implications, which has not yet been done for the GPA.

Kenya recommended changing the title from Global Plan of Action to "Commitments in an Urbanizing World" and adding "regional and" before all references to "international." Supported by Poland, he also added "monitoring" in two places where the commitments call for evaluation.

Poland said commitments should not be directed to developing countries only because they should be universal. Israel opposed adding "regional," noting not all member States are part of regional communities. Croatia said a reference to countries in need should mention "particularly those with large numbers of refugees." Bangladesh and the Philippines proposed a paragraph on disaster management. The International Local Government Associations called for language encouraging decentralized cooperation and capacity building.

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