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PREPCOM II REPORT

The second session of the PrepCom for the Habitat II Conference was officially inaugurated Monday, 24 April 1995, by Kenya's Vice President Prof. George Saitoti.

In his introductory remarks, Martti Lujanen, Chair of the PrepCom, stated that this session is of decisive importance because it would decide the approach, elements and outline of the main document for Istanbul. This session must also transform the inputs compiled from recent seminars, conferences and meetings into workable policy recommendations.

On behalf of UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Wally N'Dow, Secretary-General of Habitat II, noted that almost 100 national committees have been established. Habitat II must be a Conference for commitments by: governments to improve capacity and performance in dealing with problems of shelter; the private sector to play a stronger role in addressing social, economic and environmental problems; and the community of NGOs to enhance the ability of the public to act as agents of social and economic development.

In his own statement, Wally N'Dow said that resolving housing and shelter problems necessitates: fundamental shifts in public policy and land reform; concerted and urgent efforts to develop equitable and rational policies that guarantee security of tenure; new ways to combine financing strategies and the use of local materials; partnerships between the public and private sectors and communities; and an enabling environment.

Prof. George Saitoti, Vice-President of Kenya, stated that the deterioration of human settlements results not only from economic hardship, overpopulation and growing urbanization, but from an absence of sound policies and insufficient capital investment in shelter. He urged that UNCHS be maintained as a "distinct and separate entity" during UN restructuring and that its institutional capabilities be strengthened.

The Committee then turned to organizational matters. Amb. H.L. de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Amb. Eldar Kouliev (Azerbaijan) were elected as the Vice-Chairs representing Asia and Eastern Europe, respectively, to replace Wijepala Dharmasiri Ailapperuma (Sri Lanka) and Rufat N. Novruzov (Azerbaijan), both of whom had assumed other responsibilities in their countries.

After adopting the agenda (A/CONF.165/PC.2/1) and the organization of work (A/CONF.165/PC.2/1/Add.1), the general debate commenced in Plenary. Thereafter, the Plenary met another four times to continue the general debate. During the two-week meeting, Working Group I, chaired by Pamela Mboya (Kenya), met occasionally to consider Agenda Item 2, Preparations for the Conference, and Agenda Item 4, Status of human settlements report and major reviews. Working Group II, chaired by H.L. de Silva (Sri Lanka) considered Agenda Item 3, Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments, and the Global Plan of Action (GPA).

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