Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 11 No. 38
Monday, 19 February 2001

ISTANBUL +5 PREPCOM II

19-23 FEBRUARY 2001

The second and final session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom II) for the special session of the UN General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda (Istanbul+5) will begin its work today at the United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS) in Nairobi, Kenya. Over 100 country delegations and 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as representatives of Global Parliamentarians on Habitat, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations and local authorities are expected to attend the five-day meeting.

The PrepCom is expected to review and prepare documents and draft text for the UN special session (UNGASS) to be held from 6-8 June 2001 at UN headquarters in New York. The session will: prepare a draft report on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda; draft a declaration entitled, "cities and human settlements in the new millennium"; and consider the recommendations of the 18th Session of the Commission on Human Settlements (CHS) and of the year 2000 coordinating segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The PrepCom will divide its work between a plenary, a committee of the whole (COW) and a drafting committee. The Plenary will prepare a draft report on the overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, as well as prepare the draft declaration. The COW will address the structuring of discussions at, as well as the provisional agenda for the UNGASS. The drafting committee will consider a draft World Charter on Local Self-Government and a draft text entitled, "Future Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Commitments of the Habitat Agenda." The PrepCom will also be the venue for numerous workshops and panel discussions to be given by UN agencies and Habitat Agenda partners.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HABITAT II

HABITAT II: The Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3-14 June 1996, on the 20th anniversary of the first Habitat Conference, which was held in Vancouver, Canada. Preparations for this Conference included three PrepCom sessions held in Geneva from 11-22 April 1994, in Nairobi from 24 April - 5 May 1995, and in New York from 5-16 February 1996.

The Habitat Agenda and the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, adopted during the Conference, outlined commitments and strategies to address shelter and sustainable human settlements, emphasizing themes of partnership and local action. Habitat II, as the culmination of a cycle of UN conferences, witnessed the groundbreaking participation of local authorities, the private sector, parliamentarians, NGOs and other partners in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. This Conference also reaffirmed the commitment to the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing.

The General Assembly, during its 53rd Session in December 1998, adopted resolution 53/180, which calls for a special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda (Istanbul +5). The resolution stresses the need for the effective participation of local authorities, Habitat Agenda partners and other relevant actors of civil society, in preparing for the special session, to take into account the practice and experience gained at Habitat II.

ORGANIZATIONAL SESSION: The organizational session of the Preparatory Committee for Istanbul +5 took place in Nairobi on 13 May 1999. At this session, the CHS, acting as the Preparatory Committee, considered the election of officers, procedures for the approval of credentials, the rules of procedure of the PrepCom, the organization of work, provisional agenda and other arrangements for the first substantive session of the PrepCom and the report of the organizational session.

The session elected the Bureau members of the 17th session of the CHS from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe to also serve as the Bureau for the PrepCom and the UNGASS. The Bureau members are: Germán García-Durán (Colombia) as Chair; Amath Dansokho (Senegal), Andrzej Olszowka (Poland) and Manfred Konukiewitz (Germany) as Vice-Chairs; and Mehdi Mirafzal (Iran) as Rapporteur.

The session decided to hold the first substantive meeting of the PrepCom for five days from 8-12 May 2000, and also decided that when meeting as a Preparatory Committee, the Commission would be open-ended to allow full participation of all States and ensure effective participation of local authorities and other Habitat Agenda partners.

FIRST SUBSTANTIVE SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE (PREPCOM I): The First Substantive Session of the Preparatory Committee for Istanbul +5 was held in Nairobi from 8-12 May 2000. A high-level segment of ministers, heads of delegations and mayors met and focused discussion on key issues of: scope to be covered by the review and appraisal process; local, national and regional preparations for the special session of the General Assembly; the role of local authorities, other partners and relevant United Nations organizations and agencies on the review and appraisal process; and preparation of a declaration on the role and mandate of UNCHS.

A second segment focused on dialogues with local authorities and other partners, in order to present and discuss the planned contributions of local authorities to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. Discussions addressed initiatives such as global campaigns for good urban governance, a World Charter on Local Self-Government and global norms for security of tenure.

INTERSESSIONAL MEETINGS

INTER-AGENCY MEETING ON THE COORDINATED IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HABITAT AGENDA BY THE UN SYSTEM: Twenty-five UN organizations were present at this meeting, which was held in New York on 15 June 2000. The meeting clarified that many UNDP programmes and projects related to urban development are executed by UNCHS at the global, regional, national and local levels. Involvement of other UN organizations in implementation of the Habitat Agenda include activities addressing institutional reforms and sustainable human settlements by regional economic commissions, the International Labor Organization’s Global Urban Employment Programme, and UNEP activities on environmentally sound urban technologies and local implementation of Agenda 21.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL COORDINATION SEGMENT MEETING: The Council Coordination meeting was held in New York from 10-12 July 2000 to discuss coordinated implementation by the UN system of the Habitat Agenda, and the Secretary-General’s report, which reviews the Habitat Agenda, outlines its relevance to the work of the UN system in the economic and social development field and provides information on the special session. The Council expressed support for the new strategic vision of UNCHS and its emphasis on the two global campaigns. It also agreed to request that the Secretary-General review participation of UNCHS in all aspects of the work of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, consider adopting a Habitat Agenda task manager system to facilitate coordinated implementation, and streamline reporting to UNCHS and the Council.

REGIONAL MEETINGS: A number of regional meetings were held in preparation for the special session and were organized in close collaboration with the regional economic commissions in order to review progress and identify and agree on concrete initiatives for extending and strengthening action to implement the Habitat Agenda in each region. The African regional ministerial conference, held in Addis Abab, Ethiopia, a on 6-8 November 2000, adopted the Addis Ababa Declaration on Human Settlements in the New Millennium, which encourages strengthening cooperation between UNCHS, the Economic Commission for Africa, the Organization of African Unity and the African Development Bank.

The Asia and Pacific regional meeting, held from 19-23 October 2000, in Hangzhou, China, was organized around six key areas — shelter, poverty, environmental management, economic development, governance and international cooperation — and recommended that the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and UNCHS increase their activities to assist implementation of the Habitat Agenda. A ministerial meeting of the Economic Commission for Europe convened from 18-20 September 2000, in Geneva, and with UNCHS, prepared a preliminary synthesis of national reports on implementation of the Habitat Agenda and a report on conditions and trends on human settlements in Europe.

The Latin American and Caribbean regional conference was held from 25-27 October, in Santiago, Chile. The conference took into account the interest expressed by the forum of ministers and high-level authorities of the housing and urban development sector in implementing and updating its regional action plan, and adopted the Santiago Declaration on Human Settlements. The regional meeting for Western Asia, held from 16-18 October 2000, in Manama, Bahrain, adopted the Manama Declaration on Cities and Human Settlements in the New Millennium, and recommended further cooperation between the UNCHS, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, Arab local authorities, and the Arab Town Organizations.

55th UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The report of the Economic and Social Council for 2000 was considered by the UN General Assembly at its 55th session in August 2000. The General Assembly session adopted five resolutions relating to the work of the Preparatory Committee at its second session on the: scope to be covered by the special session, highlighting the need for the session to reconfirm the goals and commitments of the Habitat Agenda; preparations for the special session, which should include a plenary, an ad hoc committee of the whole and a thematic committee; follow-up to the outcome of the Millenium Summit; ten-year review of progress achieved in the implementation of the outcome of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED); and Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.

18th SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: The 18th session of the Commission on Human Settlements took place in Nairobi on 12-16 February 2001, and was attended by 440 government delegates from both member and non-member States, 18 UN specialized agencies and inter-governmental organizations, 15 local authorities, 11 parliamentarians, 167 NGOs and one representative from the private sector.

The purpose of the session was to discuss the future of the UNCHS, specifically: to debate the work programme and budget for the 2002-2003 biennium; to assess the progress made in the revitalization of Habitat; to review the implementation of the resolutions passed by the Commission at its 17th session; and to decide on the theme, agenda and organization of work of the 19th session.

The Commission passed 12 resolutions addressing, inter alia: establishment of the Committee of Permanent Representatives as an intersessional body of the CHS; global campaigns for secure tenure and urban governance; the follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II); cooperation between Habitat and the United Nations Environment Programme; youth; and illegal Israeli human settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

OPENING PLENARY: The Plenary will convene at 10:00 am to hear opening statements from several speakers, including PrepCom Chair Germ�n Garc�a-Dur�n and the UNCHS Executive Director Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka. After adopting the agenda, the Plenary will turn its attention to the preparation of a draft report on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda (HS/C/PC.2/2). The Plenary will continue its work on this agenda item in its afternoon session.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The Committee of the Whole is expected to meet at 2:30 pm to discuss preparations for the special session. Topics to be covered today include the structure of discussions among Habitat Agenda partners and the Recommendations of the 18th Session of the CHS and of the year 2000 coordinating segment of ECOSOC.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Tonya Barnes tonya@iisd.org, Andrei Henry andrei@iisd.org, Leila Mead leila@iisd.org and Wagaki Mwangi wagaki@iisd.org. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. pam@iisd.org and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI kimo@iisd.org. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the European Commission (DG-ENV). General Support for the Bulletin during 2001 is provided by the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, and the Japan Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies � IGES.) Funding for coverage of Istanbul +5 PrepCom II has been provided by the German Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ). The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at enb@iisd.org and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at info@iisd.ca and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://www.iisd.ca. The satellite image was taken above Nairobi �2001 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to enb@iisd.org.

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