PREAMBLE: Subgroup A of WGII reconvened to begin negotiations based on two documents from the Secretariat containing proposed amendments from delegations and suggestions from NGOs for the Preamble to the draft Statement of Principles and Global Action Plan. Following a brief adjournment, Chairman Glynn Khonje (Zambia) re-opened discussion on NGO participation, stating that they had played a very important role throughout the preparatory process. Algeria said NGO participation should be in accordance with standard UN rules and procedures. He was surprised that NGO proposals for the Preamble had been distributed in a document prepared by the Secretariat, given UN budget constraints. Algeria would treat the NGO document as invalid. Conference Secretary-General, Wally N'Dow, said collaboration with NGOs and local authorities is essential for the implementation of Habitat II. A new era in partnership must be supported. Canada disagreed with a Pakistan suggestion that diplomacy was being privatized. The US said it may be premature to proclaim a new era, the issue is evolving. Poland and Burundi underlined the priority and separate status of national delegations. Chairman Khonje said the finance for the NGO document prepared by the Secretariat had come from extra-budgetary resources.
The Subgroup began the afternoon session with discussions on proposed amendments to the Preamble. However, following several statements, the Chair proposed forming a small drafting group composed of representatives from the States that submitted proposals. Delegates raised concerns on the drafting group's size, composition, location and scope. Some said redrafting the entire text could jeopardize the completion of work. An informal informal session was convened, following debate about the room's size, with the Chair of the Subgroup continuing as Chair.
Paragraph 1 of the Preamble notes a sense of great opportunity and hope that a new world can be built in which social and economic progress, environmental protection and better standards of living can be realized through global solidarity and cooperation. The compilation of written submissions notes that Canada proposed language stating the quality of human settlements profoundly affects the well-being of people. The US offered ideas on putting people at the center of development, empowerment of men and women and sustainable development. The Holy See requested including ethical and spiritual vision among the goals to be realized. The EU proposed deleting the paragraph because it did not fully reflect the goals of the Conference. During the informal informals, language was discussed on human rights and the right to development. Suggestions were made to delete references to global solidarity and environmental protection. It was agreed the Chair should re-draft the paragraph based on delegates' comments
Paragraph 2 states that the purpose of Habitat II is to address two themes of global importance: "Adequate shelter for all" and "Sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world." According to the written proposals, the EU proposed language on sustainable development and full respect for human rights. The G-77/China noted the human right to housing as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. Canada offered a detailed paragraph describing current human settlement problems and the need for urgent action. The Holy See suggested a sentence stating that human beings are at the center of concerns for adequate shelter for all. The US proposed that sustainable development is critical for the viability of human settlements. During informal informals, delegates debated the right to development and the relationship of sustainable development to economic development. One delegation said the paragraph must specify that the right to housing does not imply a justiciable right, while another thought it warranted a separate discussion.
[Return to start of article]