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Committee I, chaired by Shafqat Kakakhel (Pakistan), held its first meeting in the afternoon. The session opened with a short video presentation by the Conference Secretariat. The Chair stated his conviction that while there are differences over the content of the document, these are not unbridgeable given a spirit of accommodation. At Turkey’s request, he postponed the election of vice-chairs and the rapporteur until Tuesday, to allow further consultations on nominations.

<$TSpInterLn=1440;EfWeight=4>The Chair proceeded to Item 9, the Adoption of the Habitat Agenda: Goals and Principles, Commitments and Global Plan of Action (A/CONF.165/9) and explained that the Committee should complete its work before Monday, 10 June. He listed the relevant documents: A/CONF.165/9 and Add. 1 and 2; A/CONF.165/L.1 and Corr. 1 and Add. 1 and 2; and A/CONF.165/CRP.1. He suggested that agreed text be adopted by Committee I on 11 June.

The US reminded the Chair that agreement had been reached at PrepCom III to circulate a compendium of NGO suggestions in Istanbul. The Chair noted that NGOs have produced an NGO compilation document that is available to delegations.

Two working groups were established. One will consider outstanding text in Sections E (international cooperation) and F (assessing progress) of the draft Global Plan of Action. The other group, chaired by Kakakhel, will consider the rest of the draft Habitat Agenda.

Responding to a number of requests for clarification regarding NGO participation, the Chair explained that NGOs will have an opportunity to make comments during official meetings, subject to conditions, but cannot take the floor during informal sessions. He said when it comes to the “ping pong” exchanges between delegations, NGOs will not be involved.

The Chair confirmed that a broad consensus has been reached on the need for an “Istanbul Declaration.” Two drafts, prepared by Turkey and the G-77/China, are already available for discussion, and a third is in preparation. Discussion will move from informal consultations to an open-ended group. The US asked for a structured invitation to NGOs to address the Committee.

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