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III. COMMITMENTS

The chapter on commitments originally opened with a chapeau on implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The G-77/CHINA and the HOLY SEE supported language borrowed from the ICPD, which noted that implementation is the sovereign right of States, consistent with national laws and with respect for religious and cultural backgrounds and in conformity with universally recognized international human rights. The EU and the US preferred stronger language from Beijing and Copenhagen, referring to the duty of States to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. During informal consultations on the final day of the Conference, these issues were included in the package deal on references to reproductive health care and moved to the Preamble. In the remaining paragraphs on implementation, a commitment was made to enact plans of action at all levels, taking into account that humans are at the center of sustainable development concerns. Refugees, migrants and street children were added to the list of those requiring special attention.

A. Adequate shelter for all: In this section, governments commit themselves to the objectives of, inter alia: legal security of tenure and equal access to land; access to safe drinking water and sanitation; environmentally sound construction methods and technologies; and protection from discrimination.

Paragraphs in this section were negotiated at length based on a Chair’s draft that incorporated delegates’ proposals into the original Agenda. A separate drafting group produced agreement on a commitment to the “full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing” and the obligation of Governments to enable people to obtain shelter. The G-77/CHINA sought to qualify “we further commit to the following objectives” by adding “within the national legal authority,” but the EU objected and the language was deleted in the final text.

The equal right to inheritance was debated extensively, with the US, the EU, NORWAY, AUSTRALIA and CANADA supporting its inclusion and QATAR and IRAN opposing it. In the final text, the following language from Beijing was inserted: “undertaking legislative and administrative reforms to give women full and equal access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance and to ownership of land and other property, credit, natural resources and appropriate technologies.” The HOLY SEE added a sub-paragraph on shelter and the family. The EU and CANADA preferred “families” and NORWAY preferred families “in their various forms.” The HOLY SEE’s version was formally adopted with a footnoted reference to the paragraph on the family in the Goals and Principles section, which states that “various forms of the family exist.”

Shelter and services to disadvantaged groups generated extensive debate. The PHILIPPINES wanted to replace “legal migrants” with “migrant workers,” but the US objected. As a compromise, “internally displaced persons, documented migrants and migrant workers” was replaced by “displaced persons.” CANADA substituted “survivors of family violence” for “women and children leaving violent and abusive situations.” A sub-paragraph regarding legal protection from forced evictions was strengthened from its original formulation after negotiation in the drafting group. The original formulation called for “avoiding forced evictions and when unavoidable, striving for rehabilitation,” while the revised language calls for “protecting from and providing legal protection and redress for forced evictions that are contrary to the law, taking human rights into consideration; when unavoidable, ensuring, as appropriate, that alternative suitable solutions are provided.”

Following a G-77/CHINA proposal, a new paragraph was added regarding continued international support for refugees in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and international law.

B. Sustainable human settlements: This section describes commitment to the objectives of sustainable human settlements, including: integrated urban planning; integrated water use planning; environmental infrastructure facilities; informal and private sector support; changes in unsustainable production and consumption patterns; energy efficient technology; and sustainable use of coastal areas.

In a paragraph on transportation system improvement, new language on promoting measures to encourage the polluter to bear the cost of pollution was added. CANADA added sub-paragraphs on upgrading informal settlements and slums, urban pollution reduction, and energy-efficient technology and alternative/ renewable energy. The EU added a sub-paragraph on strengthening vitality of rural areas.

The US added a sub-paragraph regarding basic education, primary health care and gender equality, and introduced two sub-paragraphs on the prevention of lead poisoning. In a paragraph on man-made disasters, CANADA inserted amendments regarding planning mechanisms and people-centered responses and the G-77/CHINA inserted amendments on prevention of major technological disasters. In a paragraph on reduction of adverse effects of structural adjustment, brackets were removed around the reference to gender-sensitive social impact assessments. CANADA amended a paragraph on indigenous land rights with “legal traditional rights.”

In two G-77/CHINA-proposed paragraphs referring to areas under foreign occupation (combat illegal confiscation of land, and protect legal status and demographic composition), several ARAB GROUP countries called for the deletion of brackets around this text while the US insisted on deletion of the text. In the final hour, the text was deleted but several ARAB GROUP countries announced their reservations.

C. Enablement: The commitment to enablement calls for transparent governance, decentralization, capacity building and training, promotion of institutional and legal frameworks for mobilizing financial resources, and equal access to information.

The US added “gender-sensitive” to the sub-paragraph on institutional frameworks and capacity building. AUSTRALIA inserted a sub-paragraph on tenant participation in housing management. The EU inserted a sub-paragraph regarding education for all and added “enabling local leadership and promoting democratic rule” to a paragraph on transparency and accountability of governance. MOROCCO added a sub-paragraph on private sector development. CANADA introduced sub-paragraphs on partnership with youth, encouraging the establishment of non-governmental entities, and institutionalizing a participatory approach. CANADA also added a paragraph on gender equality, with sub- paragraphs on gender-disaggregated data to make unremunerated work of women visible, integration of a gender perspective in resource management and infrastructure development, and full and equal participation of women in planning and decision making.

D. Financing shelter and human settlements: Objectives for financing shelter and human settlements include: fiscal and financial management; strengthening fiscal instruments conducive to environmentally sound practices; access to credit; performance- based mechanisms for resource allocation; and subsidies and credit mechanisms. Additional language was introduced regarding the potential of local institutions involved in micro-credit for housing the poor.

In a paragraph on stimulating economies, “competitive and sustainable economic development” was replaced by “economic development, social development and environmental protection.” In the paragraph on enabling markets, the US added “promote socially and environmentally responsible corporate investment and reinvestment.” The EU and the US changed the language in a paragraph on access to credit from “increased equitable” access to “equal” access. In the paragraph on subsidies and credit mechanisms, the EU added “fostering the accessibility of the market for those who are less organized and informed or otherwise excluded from participation.”

E. International cooperation: The commitment on international cooperation and partnerships affirms Governments’ contribution to and participation in cooperation programmes, institutional arrangements and technical and financial assistance programmes, promotion of exchange of appropriate technology and analysis, and dissemination of information.

With regard to the objective on 0.7% of developed countries’ GNP for Official Development Assistance (ODA), the G-77/ CHINA replaced the “accepted” with the “agreed” target of 0.7%. In the objective on effective use of resources and economic instruments, the US added in a “non-discriminatory” manner. The US proposed deleting “equitable,” but the G-77/CHINA objected.

F. Assessing progress: In the section on progress assessment, governments commit to observe and implement the Habitat Agenda and to monitor progress, and to recognize the need for an integrated approach, concerted action and coordinated implementation to achieve the objectives of the Agenda. The US, CANADA and AUSTRALIA inserted language regarding the importance of disaggregated indicators in monitoring and evaluating progress and added the well-being of children as an important indicator. Based on negotiations of Section F of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) (implementation and follow-up), delegates agreed to “assess, with a view to revitalizing the UNCHS, whose responsibilities, inter alia, include coordination and assisting States in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.”

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