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At the opening Plenary of PrepCom III, Chair Martti Lujanen (Finland), noted that the session would benefit from the experience of delegates from UN Missions in New York who have contributed to the negotiations of other major UN conferences. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali highlighted the PrepCom's ground-breaking rule change that could set a pattern for how the international community does business. This is rule 61, regarding participation of local authorities in Habitat II, which broadens the participation of Member States to include representatives from cities.

Wally N'Dow, Secretary-General of Habitat II, said that the preparatory process shows that the issues of Habitat II are no less than the major worldwide issues of our day: jobs, housing, security, services, the quality of the living environment and the right of ordinary people to participate in the decisions affecting their lives. Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed, Associate Administrator of the UNDP, suggested a thematic programme, incorporating the relevant dimensions of Agenda 21, the Social Summit and the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW). The Executive Director of the UN Population Fund, Dr. Nafis Sadik, underlined the linkages between population growth, development and urbanization. She called on delegations to strive for recognition of women's legal, property and inheritance rights.

The Chair then introduced the organization of work and alerted delegates to the schedule of work contained in A/CONF.165/PC.3/L.1. The Chair noted suggestions from PrepCom II and GA resolution 50/100 to establish two working groups at PrepCom III. Working Group I would consider Agenda Item 3 (Preparations for Conference). Working Group II would consider Agenda Item 4 (Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments and the Global Plan of Action). The Plenary would review and approve the work of the working groups and consider additional agenda items. Delegates adopted document A/CONF.165/PC.3/2, Add.1 and Add.2, containing a list of NGOs and local authorities proposed for accreditation to the preparatory process. Delegates then heard general statements from: Colombia, on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement; Costa Rica, on behalf of the G-77 and China; Italy, on behalf of the EU; Turkey; Chile, on behalf of the countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region; Sweden; China; UNICEF; India; the WMO; Jordan; the ILO; Nepal; the UN Volunteers; the UN Centre for Human Rights; and Sudan.

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