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WORKING GROUP II

The Working Group met to consider the Preamble to the GPA contained in document A/CONF.165/PC.2/L.2/Rev.1., and decided to receive the document and present it to PrepCom III. The informal working group then met to consider the additional principles of livability and partnerships.

LIVABILITY: The principle of livability lists thirteen items that livable human settlements should provide, including: adequate living and sanitary conditions; the basic medium for the preservation of the cultural memory of people; spaces and flow channels that respond to the behavioral needs of the inhabitants; and a variety of human interaction and access to resources and information. Pakistan commented on the need to eradicate crime. Israel requested a reference to the integration of the natural environment into the city. Bangladesh suggested a provision regarding the education of children.

Brazil, supported by Israel and the Holy See, said the document lacks specificity and fails to define the term livability. He enumerated points that were repetitive or unclear. The UK questioned whether the principle, after removal of the duplicative points, would be worth retaining, but the NGO representative stated that the document is already too technical and should mention human needs. The Chair stated that the principle should be retained but must be harmonized with other principles. The Secretariat will develop a more concise document and asked delegations suggesting specific points to submit proposed language.

PARTNERSHIPS: The principle on partnerships states that "Partnerships between and among all actors are essential to the development of sustainable human settlements and the provision of adequate shelter for all, as they have the ability to integrate and mutually support objectives of participants through, inter alia, forming alliances, pooling resources, sharing knowledge, contributing skills, and capitalizing on comparative advantages." Delegates stated that this principle is less explicit than the others. Brazil suggested a reference to urban management and Benin proposed two additional paragraphs on the importance of partnerships in addressing human settlements problems.

The informal working group reconvened in the afternoon to discuss commitments, but the documents were available only in English.

The group then discussed the need for possible intersessional drafting group meetings. Following questions on scheduling, document distribution and input from workshops and delegations, the Chair stated that documents prepared so far are the product of a drafting group, not a negotiated process. He assured delegates that they could submit comments and that the revised drafts would be circulated within the required time.

DRAFT DECISION: The formal Working Group resumed to consider a draft decision on intersessional arrangements, document A/CONF.165/PC.2/L.6. The draft decision states that the PrepCom, having received Working Group II's report on matters considered, decides to continue drafting during the intersessional period in a similar informal manner through an open-ended drafting group to facilitate further negotiations. The delegates questioned the definitions of "similar informal manner" and "open-ended drafting group," the dates of the sessions, modalities and costs.

Many delegations requested that the document distinguish the topics already discussed from those still pending. The Chair replied that all documents currently have the same legal status because they have not been adopted and are subject to change. However, several delegates expressed concern that the work achieved is not reflected in the decision and feared starting from scratch at PrepCom III. They suggested several amendments, such as denoting topics discussed and deleting the Statement of Principles from the topics to be facilitated by intersessionals. However, the Chair said that "negotiated" refers to documents subject to consensus and all of these are still being negotiated.

The US summarized the situation: the group has a set of non-negotiated documents. Although some parts have been discussed. they represent the beginning of a complete reformulation. Following this meeting, the Secretariat will write a revised draft to facilitate the work of the drafting group. That group will make changes, and the Secretariat will create a second draft that will then serve as the basis for PrepCom III. The group was satisfied with this summary, but did not accept the decision as amended, and will reconsider it tomorrow.

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