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The Session was officially opened by the Chair of the 14th Commission on Human Settlements, David Johannson (Finland), and followed by the election of the new Bureau and consideration of procedural matters. In a Plenary session, the Report on the progress of work was presented. In the afternoon, the Commission broke into two Committees.

David Johannson said an outstanding achievement of the 14th Session was the formulation of the two objectives of Habitat II. This Commission shall consider proposals for new objectives for the UN Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS), the role of the Centre within the UN and the proposals on the work programme and budget for the biennial period 1996-1997. The new objectives shall include those anticipated for adoption by the Habitat II Conference.

Wally N'Dow, on behalf of the UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros- Ghali, noted that this session carries a special significance as the last before HABITAT II. By the early decades of the next century, the vast majority of the global population will live in cities, which will increase the demand for jobs and shelter. The recommendations from this session will be valuable contributions to the 'City Summit' in Istanbul in 1996.

Wally N'Dow, Secretary-General of HABITAT II, stated that there must be recognition of all actors involved, such as local authorities, the private sector, NGOs, and young people, as part of the solution. He added that future human settlement policies cannot be created in ignorance of other development issues and urged the Conference to add its voice to the discussion against war as a destroyer of human settlements.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Assistant Executive Director, Jorg Illueca, on behalf of Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell, said a focus on the human environment will draw UNEP and UNCHS together to prevent destruction of environmental resources. Areas of cooperation include a sustainable cities program, task forces on the relief-to-development continuum, small island states and vector control, and development of sustainable development indicators. UNEP will assist stakeholders in attaining sustainable urban development to understand and solve environmental problems in urban communities.

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