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CLOSING PLENARY

PrepCom Chair Martti Lujanen (Finland) opened the final Plenary on Friday morning, 16 February, and asked delegates to consider Agenda Item 3 (Status of Preparations for Habitat II). Pamela Mboya (Kenya), Chair of Working Group I, introduced the Report of Working Group I (A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.4), which contained three draft decisions, all of which were adopted. Draft decision I took note of the Progress Report of the Secretary- General of the Conference (A/CONF.165/PC.3/3) and an Executive Summary by the Secretariat (A/CONF.165/PC.3/3/Add.1). South Africa and Morocco stressed the importance of making the Best Practices information available on the Internet in French. Draft decision II contained a proposal from Australia to invite States and other organizations to make statements of priorities and commitments during Habitat II. Chile suggested that regional groups of States also be invited to identify priorities and commitments. Draft decision III authorized the Bureau to meet during the intersessional period to resolve outstanding organizational matters.

Delegates then considered Agenda Item 4, Outcome of the Conference: Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments and Global Plan of Action. Italy presented the report of Working Group II on paragraphs 36-42 (introduction; A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.3/ Add.3, and corrections), which was adopted as corrected. A number of delegates commented on the poor quality of the French translation. Libya requested a definition of the non-profit sector.

Italy presented the report of Working Group II on paragraphs 43-65 (A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.3/Add.4), and a number of changes (A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.3/Add.4/Corr.1). Iran reminded delegates of his request in Working Group II to delete the bracketed "equal" in reference to inheritance in 58(f). Libya proposed calling for "technical" environmentally sound waste management in 65. The US objected. Delegates adopted the two texts as amended except for paragraphs 48, 48bis, 48ter, 51(b), 51(b)bis, 55, 58(f) and 65(b). Working Group II, Subgroup C Chair John Zetter reported on corrections to Section B, Adequate shelter for all (66-75) (A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.3/Add.5 and Corr.1). The document was adopted as corrected and amended.

During the afternoon, the Plenary considered Agenda Item 6 (Other Matters). Indonesia announced a contribution of US$50,000. Glynn Khonje, Chair of Working Group II Subgroup A, reported on changes to the Preamble (1-12) described in A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.3 and A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.3/Corr.1, as amended by Working Group II. The Plenary adopted the documents as corrected and amended.

Marcela Nicodemus, Chair of the informal drafting group on a "right to housing," reviewed the group's work on paragraphs 13, 24 and 44 (as contained in Informal Paper 4) and noted a number of corrections. India requested brackets around the reference to remedies against discrimination on the basis of "property, birth and other status" in 44. Informal Paper 4 was adopted as amended.

Working Group II submitted paragraphs 13-22 (A/CONF.165/PC.3/4/L.3 and Add.1) from Section II (goals and principles) with the following corrections: In 13 (right to housing), the US noted that Working Group II had agreed to include alternative language in brackets in an annex. Canada said a new 22ter (health) had been introduced, in brackets.

Gus Speth (UNDP) called delegates' attention to the fact that the UN system has reached agreement on an integrated approach to follow-up and facilitating provision of development assistance to realize international agreements. The approach would involve coordination with a commitment to bottom-up implementation.

On Agenda Item 2 (accreditation of NGOs and Local Authorities), in documents A/CONF.165/PC.3/2/Corr.1 and Corr.2 (recommendation for accreditation of an NGO, the Federation of Westtrace Turks in Europe), and Add.4, Norway reported that consultations had failed to resolve the question of the NGO's accreditation as recommended in Corr.2. In an earlier Corrigendum (Corr.1), the Secretariat had withdrawn a recommendation for accreditation and removed the Federation of Westtrace Turks from the list of accredited NGOs (A/CONF.165/PC.3/Add.3). Turkey noted that a technical error by the Secretariat had been corrected by the issuing of A/CONF.165/PC.3/2/Add.3/Corr.2. Chair Lujanen suggested postponing discussion until the pre-Conference negotiations in Istanbul. Greece said the Secretariat had never admitted an error in issuing Corrigendum 1, deleting the NGO from the list of accredited organizations. Turkey repeated that there was no issue to postpone subsequent to the issuing of Corr.2. Greece repeated its call for postponement and the Chair agreed. Turkey accepted the proposal to postpone.

With regard to the other NGOs listed in Annex II of A/CONF.165/PC.3/2/Add.4, Taiwan International Alliance, Canada Tibet Committee, and Tibetan Rights Campaign (USA), the Chair noted an informal group's agreement that the Plenary recommended to the General Assembly that it refer to ECOSOC, for decision in May 1996, the list as presented in Annex II and Corrigendum I. On the US proposal to reopen a decision on the International Energy Foundation (Libya), no delegation spoke against and no vote was required to reopen discussion (A/CONF.165/PC.3/2/Add.1). The US restated the procedural and substantive basis of its motion, noting the NGO's links to the Libyan Government and participation in activities in violation of the UN sanctions regime. India welcomed the re-opening of the issue. He said the Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT) had sought NGO accreditation but his Government was opposed. He said the organization was involved in gun running and had acquired weapons from clandestine sources to support terrorism and thus could not be considered a relevant NGO. The Plenary agreed to exclude both the IEF and AMURT.

With interpretation ending at 6:30 pm, the Plenary debated whether to continue the meeting. The Secretariat stressed that full engagement of all delegations was essential, and continuing without interpretation would compromise the quality of the remaining work. The Plenary continued with consideration of Agenda Item 4. A bracketed US-proposed 22ter (Draft for Principle on Health and Education) was adopted as decided by Working Group II.

The report of WGII on paragraphs 76-99 (A/CONF.165/PC.3/ L.3/Add.6) was presented. Due to the late hour, the Chair suggested that this document be adopted as revised by Working Group II. The Plenary proceeded to consider adoption of 29bis (approved in Working Group II). Benin, supported by Egypt, proposed that "gender equality" be footnoted with an explanatory note, as he said was done in Beijing. The US requested that this footnote proposal be postponed until Istanbul and that the Secretariat prepare information regarding the Beijing decision, as there was confusion regarding this proposal.

The Plenary discussed whether to assign special interim status to 100-128 of Add.7, 48, 51b and bis, 55 or to retain the brackets around them, as these paragraphs, although negotiated in informal groups, were not adopted by Working Group II due to time constraints. Delegates agreed that they would remain in brackets with a footnote stating that they had been negotiated informally.

At the close of Plenary, Secretary-General N'Dow said the PrepCom had opened the window to the involvement of civil society, with representatives of NGOs, the private sector and local authorities. On behalf of the Secretariat he thanked the delegates and the UN family of agencies, including the World Bank.

Costa Rica, on behalf of the G-77 and China, noted that not all delegations were satisfied with some organizational matters during the PrepCom. Specifically, she said the Bureau was not the appropriate body for decisions that belonged to the Plenary. She also insisted that only two working groups and two drafting groups be formed at the Conference, with full interpretation services. Finally, she asked for prompt delivery of the translated draft Declaration of Principles and the GPA document to facilitate preparations for the Conference.

Chair Lujanen said a "development paradigm" for towns raised questions about sustainable development, our value system, consumption patterns and lifestyles. These were political issues in the deep sense of the word. The main issue at Habitat II would be the identification of current negative trends to be changed and positive trends that need to be strengthened. The report of the meeting will be referred to Istanbul by the Rapporteur, Marjorie Ulloa (Ecuador). Lujanen thanked all participants in the PrepCom and closed the meeting at 8:00 pm.

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