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IV. GLOBAL PLAN OF ACTION: STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION

A. INTRODUCTION: This section outlines changes since the first Habitat Conference 20 years ago, including population growth, urbanization and globalization of the economy. Actions at the local level are recognized as increasingly important in addressing human settlements problems, and an enabling approach by governments is key to solving these problems. The strategy of the GPA is based on enablement, transparency and participation.

The paragraph on globalization generated considerable debate. GUATEMALA proposed a reference to disintegration of the family and the EU added a reference to human rights violations, but neither was in the final text. References to “sustainable development, including sustained economic growth” were negotiated extensively. The G-77/CHINA proposed “sustained economic growth and sustainable development,” NORWAY proposed “sustainable economic growth in the context of sustainable development,” and the EU suggested “sustainable development.” Consensus was finally reached on “achievement of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development.”

B. ADEQUATE SHELTER FOR ALL: This section defines adequate shelter and recognizes the right to adequate housing as an important component of the right to an adequate standard of living. Actions concerning discrimination, legal security of tenure and equal access to land, forced evictions, housing policies and monitoring and evaluation of housing conditions are specified. Fundamental objectives are to integrate shelter policies with those that guide macroeconomic and social development and sound environmental management, and to enable markets to work efficiently.

Recommended actions under shelter policies include: decentralization; integration with other policies; promotion of an enablement approach; and improvement of shelter delivery systems. Actions identified for shelter delivery systems include: enabling markets to work; facilitating community-based production of housing; ensuring access to land and legal security of tenure; mobilizing sources of finance; ensuring access to basic infrastructure and services; and improving planning, design, construction, maintenance and rehabilitation. Actions to address the special needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups include: establishing and enforcing laws to prevent discrimination; promoting affordable and accessible public transport; providing increased coverage of water supply and sanitation services; providing subsidies, social services and safety nets; and providing legal protection from forced evictions. The need to strengthen support for international protection of and assistance to refugees is also noted.

Considerable debate occurred on the subject of the right to adequate housing, and a drafting group was formed to deal with this issue. The consensus language reaffirms the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing and notes the responsibility of all governments, using an enabling approach, to protect and ensure the full and progressive realization of this right. The drafting group also agreed on language regarding forced eviction, which states that governments should provide “effective protection from forced evictions that are contrary to the law, taking human rights into consideration.”

In a paragraph regarding reforms to give women full and equal access to economic resources, a reference to credit, natural resources and appropriate technologies was added to conform with Beijing language. MOROCCO added a new sub-paragraph on mitigation of spontaneous settlements problems. The PEACE CAUCUS recommended language regarding the removal of land mines. In a paragraph regarding land use taxation, the US replaced “equitable” with “accessible” use of land. In paragraphs regarding barriers to access to land, brackets were removed from “equal and equitable” access, while “equal” inheritance was deleted in conformity with Beijing language.

In the paragraph regarding provision of basic infrastructure, the EU and G-77/CHINA removed the brackets around “equitable” provision, but the US preferred “equal.” A compromise of “more equitable” was approved. In a paragraph on non-renewable resources, the G-77/CHINA deleted “particularly fossil fuels.”

A drafting group conducted informal consultations on the section on vulnerable groups and agreed on several amendments. All references were changed to “vulnerable and disadvantaged groups,” and new language was inserted on access to resources, enforcement and effectiveness of legal protection, and disproportionately adverse environmental and health impacts. The new language also states that not all members of these groups are vulnerable and disadvantaged at all times, and circumstances rather than inherent characteristics cause vulnerability and disadvantage.

C. SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS DEVELOPMENT IN AN URBANIZING WORLD: This section notes that urban areas will strongly influence the world of the 21st century. Governments, at appropriate levels, are called on to create partnerships with relevant interested parties to encourage the sustainable development and management of cities. The final text focuses on ten human settlements issues and suggests a number of actions for each. The ten issues are: sustainable land use; social development (eradication of poverty, creation of productive employment and social integration); population and sustainable human settlements development; environmentally sustainable, healthy and livable human settlements; sustainable energy use; sustainable transport and communication systems; conservation and rehabilitation of historical and cultural heritage; improving urban economies; balanced development of settlements in rural regions; and disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and post-disaster rehabilitation capabilities.

In a paragraph regarding sustainable urban development, the G-77/CHINA, supported by NORWAY, replaced “trade” with “transboundary movement of” hazardous waste. The G-77/CHINA also proposed deleting “by parties to those agreements,” but the US objected.

The brackets were removed from the paragraph calling for partnerships to encourage the sustainable development and management of cities of all sizes. The reference in that paragraph, and throughout the text, to [stakeholders] was changed to “interested parties” by the EU. A bracketed reference to the precautionary approach was supported by the EU and opposed by the G-77/CHINA. The CHAIR proposed text from Rio stating that the precautionary approach shall be widely applied according to States’ capabilities. The US and NORWAY agreed, but retained the additional reference to environmental and social impact assessment, which was not derived from Rio.

The US added a number of references regarding lead poisoning prevention. CANADA added sub-paragraphs calling for preservation of aquatic ecosystems, strategies to reduce demand for limited water resources, and the participation of women in all decision-making related to water resource conservation, management and technological choice.

The G-77/CHINA, supported by AUSTRALIA, replaced a reference to energy sources “based on fossil fuels” with “non-renewable” in a paragraph on sustainable energy use. In a chapeau regarding government action to promote sustainable energy use, IRAN and SAUDI ARABIA added “efficient” to “sustainable.” IRAN proposed text calling for special consideration for those countries whose economies are based on oil in a sub- paragraph regarding energy-pricing policies, but the US and EU objected.

The US proposed deleting a paragraph on the need for resettlement of displaced populations as a consequence of nuclear weapons testing. The SOLOMON ISLANDS, the HOLY SEE, SYRIA, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, IRAN and the PHILIPPINES objected. The text was retained. The US proposed additional sub-paragraphs on land mine detection and clearing, provision of mine clearance equipment for humanitarian purposes and an international agreement to ban the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel mines. A separate drafting group was created to discuss this issue, but the new text was not included.

Reference to reproductive health care was the subject of extensive consultations, out of which a package deal emerged. One reference to reproductive health care was altered to call for “basic health care services.” One sub-paragraph calls for public information campaigns centered on the significance of population-related issues and responsible actions necessary, including health, family planning and consumption and production patterns. A final sub-paragraph calls for programmes to ensure universal access for women to affordable health care, “including those related to reproductive health care, which includes family planning and sexual health,” consistent with the ICPD.

D. CAPACITY-BUILDING AND INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: This section notes that an enabling strategy, capacity-building and institutional development should aim at empowering all interested parties to enable them to play an effective role in shelter and human settlements planning and management. The final text identifies actions related to: decentralization and strengthening of local authorities; popular participation and civic engagement; human settlements management; metropolitan planning and management; domestic financial resources and economic instruments; and information and communications.

Since this section was not discussed at PrepCom III, it arrived in Istanbul entirely in brackets. The Chair distributed a redraft, based on submitted amendments, which was discussed on Monday, 10 June. The EU initially offered to accept the text as drafted, but others preferred to negotiate changes. The US proposed a reference to “ensuring and protecting human rights.” CHINA objected, but the reference was included in the final text. The US, supported by the EU and IRAN, added calls for “gender-, age- and income- based” data collection to two sub-paragraphs on decentralization and strengthening of local authorities and their associations/ networks.

In a sub-paragraph calling for the development of global and easily accessible information networks, the G-77/CHINA added a reference to technology transfer and supported the reference to action in cooperation with the UN Centre for Human Settlements. The US objected to the reference to the Centre. Delegates accepted an EU proposal calling for development and/or strengthening of networks, as appropriate, in cooperation with relevant UN bodies.

BOLIVIA added “popular participation” to a sub-heading calling for “Participation, civic engagement and good governance.” IRAN proposed deleting “good governance,” but the US and the EU objected. The final text reads: Popular participation and civic engagement.

CANADA added a new sub-paragraph calling for promotion of the full potential of youth as key partners.

Several hours into consideration of the section, the Chair appealed to delegates to accept the EU proposal to adopt the remaining text as drafted, given the fact that little time was left to resolve all outstanding issues. The delegates agreed.

E. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND COORDINATION: The introduction to this section states that international cooperation takes on added significance in light of economic globalization; notes recent declines in ODA; calls for innovative approaches for cooperation using new forms of partnership; and notes the impact of international migration on cities. Sub-sections include: an enabling international context; financial resources and economic instruments; technology transfer and information exchange; technical cooperation; and institutional cooperation.

The debate on this section generally fell along developed and developing country lines. While often in agreement on the topics for inclusion, they debated language regarding the extent and effect of global problems at length. Regarding economic globalization and developing country deterioration, INDIA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, supported language on problems with poverty, urbanization and economic stagnation. Many African countries said this language reflected their own situation. The EU said the paragraph focused only on negative aspects, and delegates added text noting the opportunities and challenges of globalization. Delegates disagreed strongly on language concerning the relationship of Habitat’s goals to problems of external debt and international trade. Delegates also debated equitable pricing mechanisms, effectiveness of public and private resources, and special financing needs.

The issues of ODA and agreed targets were debated at length. The US and EU preferred retaining a reference to striving to fulfill the 0.7% GNP for ODA target and deleting a reference to the “agreed” target, while the G-77/CHINA proposed the reverse. AUSTRALIA deleted a reference in the same paragraph to 0.15% of GNP to the least developed countries (LDCs), but NORWAY insisted on the LDC target. Delegates also agreed to strive to fulfill the agreed target as soon possible and increase the share of funding for adequate shelter. Delegates agreed on a new paragraph that included reference to 0.15% of GNP for ODA for LDCs.

On international migration, MEXICO proposed text noting that international migration can facilitate the transfer of skills but may give rise to racism and violence. The US and the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES deleted the reference to racism. The PHILIPPINES proposed references to migrant workers and objected to specifying “documented” migrants.

Delegates also heard proposals from local authorities and NGOs, and debated references to their role in human settlements development. They accepted language, with amendments, on local authority access to international financial markets, strengthening decentralized development assistance programmes and cooperation with associations and networks of local authorities. NGO-proposed language on ensuring compliance with national laws by the private sector, including transnational corporations, was also accepted.

F. IMPLEMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UP OF THE HABITAT AGENDA: This section invites the General Assembly (GA) and ECOSOC to review and strengthen the mandate of the Commission on Human Settlements. A central role in monitoring implementation within the UN system is noted for the Commission. The primary role of the UN Centre for Human Settlements, located in Nairobi, Kenya, is to provide substantive servicing to the Commission. The Secretary-General is requested to ensure more effective functioning of the Centre by providing sufficient human and financial resources.

Opening statements in Working Group II revealed fundamental differences between developing and developed countries on the future of the Centre, the role of Habitat II in addressing the Centre’s mandate and functions, and the effect of reviews by the GA and ECOSOC.

The EU said there were many rumors regarding its position on follow-up. The Commission should give its advice on the mandates to ECOSOC, which will review the mandates of all of the functional commissions next year. He said it was impossible to examine the mandates at this Conference. The substance of the GPA must first be agreed upon, and implementation must then be considered by the Commission, ECOSOC and the GA. The US and CANADA noted that the GPA should be completed prior to determining who will implement it. INDIA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, noted that the rumors have a “ring of authenticity” based on past experiences. After the Rio Conference, UNEP became less important and its resources declined. He expressed concern that a similar fate would befall the Centre. The Conference should reaffirm the central role of the Centre in implementation and its need for greater resources, and ensure that the Centre will remain in Africa.

Regarding the ECOSOC review, the G-77/CHINA proposed deleting references to ECOSOC oversight on coordination of the GPA and review of implementation. The EU, supported by the US, AUSTRALIA and CANADA, proposed including a review of the mandate of the Commission by ECOSOC. The G-77/CHINA said this request assumes that action should be taken regarding the Commission, but later proposed a review “with a view to strengthening” the Commission. The US proposed, “with a view to reorienting and, as necessary, strengthening,” but KENYA and ZAMBIA objected. The EU proposed a new paragraph on the Commission, which states that the Commission should promote, review, monitor and assess progress in implementation. The G-77/CHINA said the existing paragraph represents an understanding that the Commission must be strengthened.

Regarding the Centre, the US said the Conference cannot decree and proposed that the Centre “should” rather than “shall” continue to service the Commission. The G- 77/CHINA said this implied that the Centre would not continue in this capacity. The G- 77/CHINA also disapproved of references to “within its present mandate” and said Habitat II will add responsibilities, and should expand the Centre’s mandate. The EU said the Conference cannot change the mandate. The US, supported by the EU and CANADA, proposed deleting a reference to the post of Executive Director for the Centre. The EU noted this was not the decision of the Conference. The G-77/CHINA objected and bracketed the reference. A reference calling for the addition of the Center to the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) was also bracketed. The text also invites the Secretary-General to ensure the Centre’s more effective functioning. The reference to the Executive Director and the ACC remained bracketed until the final meeting of Committee I, where the G-77/CHINA agreed to delete the references.

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