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The organizational session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for Habitat II was held at UN Headquarters in New York from 3-5 March 1993. Delegates elected the Bureau and took several decisions regarding the organization and timing of the process. Martti Lujanen (Finland) was elected PrepCom Chair.


The first substantive session of the PrepCom was held in Geneva from 11-22 April 1994. Delegates agreed that the overriding objective of the Conference should be to increase global awareness of the problems and potentials of human settlements and to commit the world’s leaders to making cities, towns and villages healthy, safe, just and sustainable. The PrepCom also took decisions on the organization of the Conference and financing, as well as the following issues.

Regarding national objectives, delegates agreed that each participating country should design, adopt and implement a national plan of action that would address the issue of human settlements in both urban and rural areas and involve the full participation and support of the public and private sectors, and non-governmental (NGOs) and community- based organizations (CBOs). Countries should also strengthen the capacity of institutions at all levels to monitor shelter conditions and urbanization processes using a minimum set of indicators.

Regarding international objectives, delegates agreed that the preparatory process should: present a “State of Human Settlements” report; produce a Statement of Principles and Commitments based on a new international consensus on shelter policies and goals; produce a Global Plan of Action to mobilize international resources and create institutional arrangements to assist countries to implement and monitor Habitat goals and to protect the environment against unwarranted and undesirable impacts of urbanization; and make available the broadest range of information concerning shelter strategies, technologies, resources, experience, expertise and sources of support.

Regarding participation, delegates agreed that governments of participating States should establish national committees with broad participation from all levels of government and civil society. These committees should formulate, adopt and implement a work programme that includes the production of a national report, discussion of priority issues, organization of local and country consultations and fora, and preparation and presentation of audio-visual documentaries of examples of best practices in human settlements development.

Regarding the draft Statement of Principles and Commitments and the draft Global Plan of Action, delegates agreed that the former should reaffirm and be framed within the general goals of the UN, contain a reference to the Principles adopted by Habitat I as well as the Rio Declaration, and introduce the rationale for the new principles and commitments that will guide national and international action on human settlements. The GPA should be structured around the two main themes of the Conference: adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world. Multi-sectoral issues to be considered include: settlements management; poverty reduction; environmental management; and disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction. Cross-sectoral issues include: women; the urban economy; social and economic dimensions of urbanization and shelter development; education and capacity building; and vulnerable social groups.

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