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GENERAL DEBATE: TUESDAY, 2 MAY 1995

Editors' note: The following are Plenary statements made on Tuesday, 2 May 1995, which were not previously published due to space constraints.

Israel: Ursula Oelsner said that the absorption of immigrants has been the main thrust in Israel's housing efforts. Israel's recent measures include an urban renewal programme and an individual financial assistance programme. Tanzania: Alfonse Kyessi stated that Tanzania's preparatory measures include the Rural Roads Integrated Project and the Urban Sector Engineering Project. Tanzania has established a best practices competition, held workshops on housing issues and reviewed all existing policies. Pakistan: High Commissioner S. Shafquat Kakakhel said Pakistan's urban population is growing at a rate of 4.3% per annum and is transforming the rural demography into an urban one. Pakistan has established a national committee and initiated preparation of a national action plan and urbanization policy.

Holy See: Mors Edgar Pena stated that the Church's concern for human settlements flows from three considerations: adequate housing is important for fulfillment; the witness that is given by helping persons living in poverty; and the mission to make society more human. Cuba: Salvador Gomila, Deputy President, stated that Cuba has prepared national reports, held housing workshops and initiated a national housing programme. Cuba is experiencing shortages in housing materials due to changes in Eastern Europe and the US commercial blockade. Ukraine: Deputy Chair Prissiajniouk Vassili said that Ukraine is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, and is experiencing housing problems. Ukraine has established a national organizing committee for Habitat II and introduced a private property policy.

Malawi: Hon. T.S. Mangwazu stated that population has grown substantially and most land-holding households have less than one hectare. Malawi has introduced low-cost housing schemes, lowered rental subsidies and encouraged NGO housing projects. Croatia: Jasminka Dinic said assistance was needed for the success of Habitat II, but concrete measures have not been implemented. Croatia has begun the reconstruction of buildings following the war and created a national committee. Egypt: Amb. Ahmed Sabry stated that Egypt has embarked on programmes to replace squatter areas with more modern housing, re-examined housing legislation, and expanded the construction of housing for vulnerable groups.

Canada: Deputy High Commissioner Jim Wall reported that Canada has held preparatory workshops and a monthly forum, provided assistance for NGO participation, and given international assistance through "technology twinning" arrangements. Lithuania: Abraham Kroma said that Lithuania has cooperated extensively with Nordic countries to hold workshops, seminars and exhibitions on housing issues. Lithuania has also taken steps to employ a private housing system and private housing construction increased by 35% last year. Habitat International Coalition (HIC): Tabitha Siwale gave two statements on behalf of the NGOs. She first noted that the GPA should elaborate more on national action plans and must recognize the essential humanity of cities. The second statement expressed concern over large scale evictions in Turkey. There must be clear commitments that Habitat II be conducted in a transparent manner.

Greece: Mr. V. Vamvakopoulos reported that Greece has established a national committee, and provided a secretariat and funding for implementation. Greece has developed a country-wide competition on best practices, an urban indicators programme and a national progress report. Argentina: Amb. Jos´┐Ż Cantilo reported that a national meeting on housing policy covering Habitat II issues had been held and another is scheduled for June 1995. Argentina has begun preparations for a national report, a national committee and a national action plan. Rwanda: Charles Ntakirutika said that war has severely worsened housing problems, leaving millions of people homeless.

Cambodia: Vice Governor Kry-Beng Hong said that Cambodia recently emerged from a 25-year war, and housing problems are at a critical stage. He appealed to UNCHS to provide financial assistance and open an office in Cambodia. Seychelles: Hon. Dolor Ernesta said that Seychelles has a programme that allows the private sector to play a role. Seychelles' new constitution recognizes the right of every citizen to adequate housing. Cameroon: Antoine Zanga reported that Cameroon has set up a broad-based national committee, and developed an urban indicators plan. Cameroon will prepare a national plan of action, an additional survey of indicators and a national report.

Sierra Leone: General Manager P.O. Beckley stated that the need for efficiency is important but the need to rebuild from the ongoing civil strife takes priority. Sierra Leone will draft a national plan of action. Lebanon: Eng. E. Samaha noted that Lebanon has a backlog of 400,000 requests for housing units and 100,000 units have been destroyed by Israeli attacks. He stressed the role of the family and women. Djibouti: Ali Cheik Barkad stated that Djibouti remains proactive on housing issues. Djibouti has expanded its public works ministry, submitted a progress report, established a national committee and written a document on best practices.

UNDP: G. Shabbir Cheema stated that UNDP will support the Habitat II process by providing substantive inputs, mobilizing resources at the national, regional and global levels, and encouraging the participation of UNDP Resident Representatives. Asian Coalition of Housing Financing Institutions (ACHFI): Nassar Munjee stated that ACHFI would like to see the detailing of financing processes, and added that the GPA must bring financial mechanisms to the fore. International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP): Prof. Serge Domicelj said that 1995 ISOCARP Congress will lend substance to several of the global actions now in place for Habitat II. The 1996 meeting will focus on implementing the Habitat II recommendations.

Colombia: H.E. Mr. Garcia-Duran stated that Colombia's preparations include a development plan, a national preparatory committee and a national programme that enables the government to consult with different social sectors. Bhutan: Phuntsho Wangdi stated that Bhutan has initiated an urban planning process and a national housing policy. Due to the fact that urbanization is new to Bhutan, they must learn from other countries. Mongolia: Mr. T. Dolor stated that Mongolia's preparatory work for Habitat II includes a working group review of legislation, a national policy, research campaigns, and a public awareness campaign. He called for technical and financial assistance.

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