Summary report, 11–22 April 1994

1st Session of the Habitat II Preparatory Committee

The Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference onHuman Settlements (Habitat II), scheduled to be held in Turkey from3-14 June 1996, held its first substantive session in Geneva from11-22 April 1994. During the two week session the delegates met inboth Plenary and two working groups, Committee I and Committee II.The first Plenary addressed both organizational matters of thePrepCom and engaged in general debate. Committee I was charged withaddressing preparations at the natal, regional and global levels.However, it addressed a much broader range of issues that includeddiscussion on the preparations for and organization of theConference. Committee II was charged with addressing the draftstatement of principles and commitments and the draft global planof action. Both Committees convened small drafting groups.

By the conclusion of the two-week session agreement was reached onbroad issues of process. Key substantive issues, including thefocus of the Conference, NGO participation and financing, wereraised but not resolved. The development and the use of indicatorsto measure and track the state of human settlements and to assessthe performance of policy reform was discussed intensely. There wasbroad agreement that such indicators should be used on a limitedbasis in the national reports that each country will prepare.Delegates also reached agreement on the formats for the Global Planof Action and a draft Statement of Principles.


The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements -- commonlyknown as Habitat II -- will be held on the 20th anniversary of theoriginal Habitat Conference held in Vancouver in 1976. Habitat Iwas a product of the UN Conference on the Human Environment inStockholm in 1972. Whereas Stockholm was about internationalenvironmental problems, Habitat I was convened to address localenvironmental problems, such as housing, shelter, infrastructure,water, sewage, transport, etc. In a similar fashion, Habitat IIreceived its impetus from the 1992 United Nations Conference onEnvironment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio.

In response to a resolution from Habitat I, the United NationsGeneral Assembly established the United Nations Commission forHuman Settlements, comprised of 58 States elected by the GeneralAssembly (with rotating membership). In the same resolution (GA32/162) the GA also created a new UN agency -- the United NationsCentre for Human Settlements (Habitat), which serves both asSecretariat for the Commission and carries out the functionsmandated by the Commission and the General Assembly. In its reportin 1991 the Commission recommended to the General Assembly that itconvene Habitat II (A/46/8). The Commission was anxious to examinewhat had happened since Habitat I and to review the Global Strategyfor Shelter to the Year 2000 (prepared by Habitat and adopted byGeneral Assembly Resolution 43/181). The General Assembly agreed inprinciple and called for a report from the Secretary-General, whichwas submitted at the 47th Session in September 1992. After UNCED,the GA decided that human settlements was a crucial cross-sectoralissue, as indicated by Chapter 7 of Agenda 21 ( "PromotingSustainable Human Settlement Development") and decided to conveneHabitat II in 1996. General Assembly Resolution 47/180, "UnitedNations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II)", was adoptedin 1992 and decided to convene this Conference from 3-14 June 1996in Istanbul, Turkey.

The importance given to the link to other environment anddevelopment issues is reflected in the resolution, which notes thatUNCED recognized the proper management of human settlements as aprerequisite to the attainment of the overall goals for sustainabledevelopment, and acknowledged the multifaceted aspects of humansettlement policies and programmes.

The objectives for Habitat II, as mandated in General AssemblyResolution 47/180, are:

  • In the long term, to arrest the deterioration of global human settlements conditions and ultimately create the conditions for achieving improvements in the living environment of all people on a sustainable basis, with special attention to the needs and contributions of women and vulnerable social groups whose quality of life and participation in development have been hampered by exclusion and inequality, affecting the poor in general; and
  • To adopt a general statement of principles and commitments and formulate a related global plan of action capable of guiding national and international efforts through the first two decades of the next century.

This Resolution also mandates that (UNCHS)Habitat act as theSecretariat and asks the Conference to:

  • Review trends in policies and programmes undertaken to implement the recommendations adopted by Habitat I;
  • Conduct a mid-term review of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000;
  • Review the implementation of Agenda 21 with respect to human settlements; and
  • Review current global trends in economic and social development as they relate to human settlements, and to include recommendations for future action at the national and international level.

The resolution set up two trust funds to facilitate the work of theConference: a general trust fund for the purpose of funding thepreparatory process and the Conference; and a specific trust fundto support the participation of developing countries, particularlythe least developed.

The organizational session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom)for Habitat II was held at UN Headquarters in New York from 3-5March 1993. The Bureau was elected, consisting of one Chair, threevice-Chairs and a Rapporteur. Several basic decisions regarding theorganization and timing of the process were also taken.

The Fourteenth Session of the Commission on Human Settlements(UNCHS) was held in Nairobi from 26 April-5 May 1993. The sessiondecided that the two themes for Habitat II would be: SustainableHuman Settlements in an Urbanizing World; and Adequate Shelter forAll. It was also decided that the Conference should be modest inscope, and subject to feasibility. The Commission also proposed tohold a World Trade Expo and an NGO Forum in conjunction withHabitat II. The first Bureau meeting of the PrepCom was held inVancouver from 17-18 September 1993.

Several other meetings were held in advance of this PrepCom.African countries were particularly active: the African Ministersand Authorities in Housing and Urban Development met in November1993; the African Expert Group Meeting on the Identification andDevelopment of Urban Indicators met in January 1994; theIntergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of Experts on HumanSettlements in Africa met in March 1994 and was followed by aSpecial Meeting of African Ministers responsible for HumanSettlements; and a Broad-Based Workshop on Habitat II ConferencePreparations was held in March 1994. Both the Regional Seminar forArab States on Habitat II issues and the 10th General Conference ofthe Arab Towns Organization were held in March 1994. The WesternEuropean and Others Group (WEOG) held a Heads of DelegationsMeeting in April 1994. Habitat International Coalition (HIC) andthe UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) also met prior to theConference.


The First Session of the Preparatory Committee opened on 11 April,1994 at UN Headquarters in Geneva. During the course of thePlenary, the delegates dealt with organizational matters, heardopening speeches by Secretary-General of the Conference Dr. WallyN'Dow, Elizabeth Dowdswell Executive-Director of UNEP andUNCHS(Habitat), and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

The Vice-Chair, Pamela Mboya (Kenya) opened the session bywelcoming all the States delegates as well as the representativesof UN Agencies, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs. She thencalled the attention of the delegates to the documentA/CONF.165/PC.1/1/Add.2, the proposed organizational structure forthe first session of the PrepCom. WEOG nominated Finland (Mr.Martti Lujanen) as candidate for PrepCom Chair, following thewithdrawal of Canada (Mr. Robert Wenman), who had served as PrepComChair during the organizational session. Finland's candidature wasendorsed by the other regional groups.


The First Session of the Preparatory Committee opened on 11 April,1994 at UN Headquarters in Geneva. During the course of thePlenary, the delegates dealt with organizational matters, heardopening speeches by Secretary-General of the Conference Dr. WallyN'Dow, Elizabeth Dowdswell Executive-Director of UNEP andUNCHS(Habitat), and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

The Vice-Chair, Pamela Mboya (Kenya) opened the session bywelcoming all the States delegates as well as the representativesof UN Agencies, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs. She thencalled the attention of the delegates to the documentA/CONF.165/PC.1/1/Add.2, the proposed organizational structure forthe first session of the PrepCom. WEOG nominated Finland (Mr.Martti Lujanen) as candidate for PrepCom Chair, following thewithdrawal of Canada (Mr. Robert Wenman), who had served as PrepComChair during the organizational session. Finland's candidature wasendorsed by the other regional groups.


The Secretary-General of Habitat II, Dr. Wally N'Dow, stressedthat this is more than a Conference, but an awakening of the worldthat time is running out to address how we live, where we live andabove all, if we live. He outlined many of the challenges facingthe issue of human settlements: the fleeing from rural areas tocities and urban areas; environmental decay; urban poverty;deteriorating social structures; infrastructure and managementdeficits and the expected impact of population growth. To addressthese challenges he proposed a strategic shift in social andeconomic development and reorientation of policies. Dr. N'Dowlisted five expectations of the Conference: a greater awareness ofthe urban revolution and associated problems; capacity building atall levels, particularly at the local government level; newpartnerships forged between all levels of government, NGOs, privatesector, and communities; identification of new strategies andpolicies to reduce the level of urban policy, including theeffective implementation of the Global Strategy for Shelter; andinnovative strategies and policies to mitigate the environmentalimpact of urban growth and, thus, contribute to an acceleratedimplementation of Agenda 21 and its goals of sustainabledevelopment. He called for a greater understanding of the ruralenvironment so that planners can help stop urban flight. Heattached strong importance to contributions of the NGO communityand the private sector and argued strongly in favor of theirintense involvement, both in the preparatory process and at HabitatII.

Elizabeth Dowdswell, UN Under-Secretary-General andExecutive-Director of UNEP and UNCHS(Habitat), reminded delegatesof the linkages between this Conference and UNCED, and the need forHabitat II to turn rhetoric on sustainable development into action.The poor, especially in mega-cities, are disproportionatelyaffected by environmental hazards. The challenge is to makeenvironmental considerations a forethought and not an afterthoughtin planning. Another message from the UNCED process is that policymaking must be transparent, accountable, intersectoral andinclusive with broad popular participation. She urged theConference to engage the civil society and private sector andcreate pressure from below.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali identified threequestions that need to be addressed: the urgency of the crisis; thepriorities of Habitat II; and the outcome of the Conference and itsimplications for development. He said that the most visibleconsequence of mass migration is the phenomenal growth of urbanareas and the challenge of sustainable development is a challengeof urban settlements. He dubbed this Conference "The City Summit."While States bear the primary and ultimate responsibility for thedevelopment of their citizens, they are not alone in theirendeavor. Through this Preparatory Committee can come consensus ona global plan of action to sustain life and work in urbanenvironments. The Global Plan of Action will incorporaterecommendations of the International Conference on Population andDevelopment (ICPD), the Fourth World Conference on Women, and adecade of other UN Conferences.


The session resumed in the afternoon of the first day when theChair invited the PrepCom to take-up consideration of mattersrelating to the composition of the Bureau. The representatives ofSri Lanka and Azerbaijan, who had been elected at theorganizational session, were unable to attend and were replaced.The new Bureau consists of: Chair, Finland (Mr. Martti Lujanen);Vice-Chairs Kenya (Ms Pamela Mboya), Sri Lanka (Mr. WijepalaDharmasiri Ailapperuma), Azerbaijan (Mr. Rufat N. Novruzov); andthe Rapporteur, Ecuador (Ms. Marjorie Ulloa). Turkey, the hostcountry of Habitat II, is an ex-officio member of theCommittee. The agenda, as contained in document A/CONF.165/PC/1/1,was then adopted and the delegates discussed the schedule of workas set out in A/CONF.165/PC/1/Add.2. The US, supported by manydelegates, proposed that the work of Committee I start as early aspossible since it would deal with some of the most importantissues, preparations at the country level and at the regional andglobal level (items 3 and 4 of the Agenda). The Chair reminded theparticipants that a maximum of two meetings could be heldsimultaneously. An overarching theme in delegates' statements wasthat issues of substance should be addressed and that goals andobjectives should be identified that would result in specific tasksto be undertaken by all those involved, both in the interim periodbefore the Conference and as a result of its implementation. TwoCommittees, open to all, would meet in parallel to the Plenary. TheChair then moved on to the second item of the Agenda, thepresentation of the Progress report of the Secretary-General,document A/CONF.165/PC/1/2.

The Secretary-General of the Conference, Dr. Wally N'Dow, presenteda progress report drawing attention to what was expected as well aswhat was achieved. The Secretariat, in preparing for this PrepCom,has held a series of regional meetings including a high-levelMinisterial meeting of African States. The result of this PrepComsession should give a set of clearly defined priorities anddefinitions for drafting a global plan of action. He called fordialogue to begin between States and the Secretariat. He asked theStates not to delay. The organizational time is over andsubstantive issues must now be addressed. The Conference would dotoo little too late if the States delayed further. He requestedthat this Conference avoid the mistake made at Habitat I, whichachieved few of its objectives because of its focus on principlesinstead of a set of practical actions. Instead, the objectives ofthe preparatory activities must be detailed and prioritized andresult in a set of practical actions that can be undertaken by allparticipants. The Chair then gave the floor to those delegates whowished to make general statements.


CROATIA: The representative of Croatia said that as a countryundergoing a period of transition and as a victim of aggression,his country attaches great importance to the issues discussed inthis Conference. The alleviation of the consequences of war may bea priority need, but the housing problem also needs to be seen asa global issue and highlighted in the final document of Habitat II.


The US delegate said that this Conferencepresents an unmatched opportunity to develop and sharpen a pictureof worldwide urban and housing problems, articulate the policiesrequired to deal with them at the national level, and define areaswhere support can and should be provided by the internationalcommunity.


The representative of the World Bank said thatthrough its operational assistance to its member countries, it isworking to support government efforts in ten thousand urban areasaround the world. Poverty alleviation should be a priority and,given the financial pressures facing all governments, there is anurgent need to mobilize local communities to solve their ownproblems.


A representative of the group of Non-GovernmentalOrganizations attending the NGO Preparatory Meeting for Habitat II,organized by Habitat International Coalition, said that NGOs needto be recognized as full partners in the preparatory process andthe Conference, including the committee work of all meetings. Therepresentative also called the attention of the delegates toreports that forced evictions are being carried out in the hostcountry of the Conference and asked for assurances from Turkey thatforced evictions are not taking place.


The Polish delegate said that the first priority ofthis process is to define topics of truly global nature, and theurgent threat is a lack of adequate response to the environmentalchallenges created by the inevitable urbanization of the world. Thetopic, Adequate Shelter for All, should also be a priority of theConference, with a hope that effective, practical and globalanswers to this problem will be given at the Conference.


The representative of Italy said that her country hadalready demonstrated its commitment to this process, both byproviding financial assistance and by coordinating the activitiesof a working group held in September 1993 in Rabat. She also saidthat this should be a milestone in the process of humansettlements.


The British delegate said that a lot ofthought has to be given to the substance of the issues at hand. Theurban context needs to be conceived in two senses: the urbanizationprocess itself, and making it sustainable. Urban areas are themirror of society and, in this respect, all constituencies have tobe brought in the process.


The representative of the Netherlands feltthat too much emphasis has been put on the negative aspects ofurbanization, while it also plays a positive role in thedevelopment process. Urban centers are the power houses of thenational economies and they also contribute to the social,scientific and artistic development of a society.


The delegate from Uganda said that progress has beenmade since Habitat I in the realization of the spirit of thatConference. Uganda has created a Ministry of Housing and started toaddress the issue of urbanization, human settlements and land, andcapacity building.


The representative of Kenya said that humansettlements have worsened in the world despite spirited efforts bygovernments and the international community to reverse the trend.Increasing population growth and accelerated urbanization havefurther complicated the situation, and massive resources will beneeded to have a positive impact in arresting the deterioratingstate of human settlements, particularly in the developing world.


The delegate said that the problems hiscountry faces created by refugees, the withdrawal of armed forcesand Chernobyl are extremely urgent and he expressed the hope thatHabitat II will make available experiences from other countries andprovide guidance. If the decisions taken at Habitat II are to beapplicable to all countries, matters relevant to all must be foundand the mistakes of Habitat I must be avoided.


The representative of Jordan, speaking on behalf ofthe Arab States, said that the problems of cities that grow toofast should not distract the work of this Conference from thefundamental problems in rural areas. He called the attention of thedelegates to the problems faced by the Palestinian people in theoccupied territories and he said that the Israeli occupation hasput a brake to the natural development of these settlements.


The delegate of Sri Lanka said that his countryhas appointed a National Steering Committee from all sectors toformulate, coordinate and implement the National Action Plan forHabitat II and has identified and begun implementing severalprogrammes. Participatory approaches will be used to create anenabling environment through community mobilization so that membersof the community assume responsibilities.


The representativeof this NGO called for a housing policy that incorporates fivefundamental elements: land; basic services; housing; financing; andthe environment. He also emphasized the importance of publiclyrecognized security of tenure.


The delegate of Turkey briefed the delegates on allthe measures that his country has taken in advance of the conveningof this Conference. He also said that governments must ground theirplans of action and policies more in local processes and take intoaccount the differences between the member States.


The representative from China said that housingproblems are universal and no country to date has been able to meetthe needs of all its citizens, but the conditions are more seriousin developing countries. Consequently international cooperation iseven more important for these countries.


The delegate of Japan encouraged the exchange ofexperiences and called on the UNCHS to play a coordinating roleamong all organizations. The situation of human settlements iscontinuing to deteriorate in many countries, above all indeveloping countries.


The delegate said that this Conference rests on twostrong pillars, Vancouver 1976 and UNCED, and its aims should notbe too modest. It should outline new and innovative policydirections in areas where the action so far has been inadequate.


The German representative said that livingconditions in Northern cities have improved because externalitieshave been exported, in the air, in the oceans, or to othercontinents. Global considerations also need to be kept in mindsince individual concerns will be frustrated if the planet does notsurvive.


The delegate said that in his country 20% of theterritory is occupied, some of the most important cities have beendestroyed or are under threat and 15% of the population arerefugees, putting a heavy burden on the economy in transition. Hewarned against adopting too broad an approach since there is notone recipe that applies to all cases.


The representative of Indonesia said that by theyear 2030 the urban population will be twice the size of the ruralpopulation, and within the next 25 years, each country will finditself tackling common human settlements and shelter issues as apriority. South-South cooperation is an essential means to furtherself-reliance among developing countries, and UNCHS should organizetechnical assistance while the developed countries should make goodon their promises to provide additional aid.


The delegate highlighted the plights his confronts,as well as the steps it has taken at the national level inpreparation of the work of the Conference. The focus of Habitat IIshould be both on the rural and the urban centers since there is asymbiotic relationship between them.


The Swedish representative said that the RioConference had clearly confirmed the interdependence between humansettlements and the natural environment. As the major consumers ofthe planet's natural resources, the industrialized countries havespecial responsibilities in the implementation of the decisions ofthis Conference, and they must be the pioneers in the search formore sustainable societies.


The delegate said that human settlement issues areclosely linked to economic and social development and they shouldbe the starting point for the global plan of action that willcomplement existing mechanisms. The international environment mustalso be taken into account.


The delegate said that urbanization trendsinvolve two inescapable facts: first, the process of urbanizationis inevitable; and second, it involves serious environmentaldegradation, health hazards and unbearable pressure on basicservices in urban areas. It is imperative that job opportunities becreated in towns and cities, simultaneously with improved livingconditions for such people who find shelter in slums and squattersettlements.


The representative of the United Nations Volunteerssaid that the volunteer-specialist-sending arm of the entire UNsystem is in a unique position to assist UNCHS in its promotion ofsustainable human settlements. By promoting a participatory processof development, UNV provides partnership and resources at thecommunity level.


The Cuban delegate said that his government hasembarked upon a programme of ownership transfer to the tenants ofhousings. The various national programmes, however, have beennegatively impacted by the disappearance of the Soviet Union andthe effects of the trade blockade imposed by the United States.


The Palestinian representative said that thisConference comes at a time where Palestine is rebuilding, since itsdevelopment had been suspended as the result of Israeli occupation.He also said that the issue of human settlements is closely linkedto that of peace and that occupation by force must be avoided.


The delegate said that the world is still faced withmore than a billion people who are mired in poverty and suffer frominadequate shelter. The rate at which resources are being used farexceeds the capacity of the natural environment to renew itself,and social and gender inequities continue to be profound.


The representative of Chile said that internationalcooperation is needed to determine realistic objectives. He calledfor a greater respect for cultural diversity and the use ofenvironmentally-friendly technologies.


The United Arab Emirates delegate said that thisConference will be a turning point and a new point of departure foruniting international efforts. He hoped that this would result inpositive and practical results and in an international plan ofaction.


Therepresentative of this NGO made suggestions on the preparation ofthe Conference that involved three main points: the continuingimportance of rural housing and settlement programmes; theelaboration of innovative systems and programmes for extension ofcredit to rural communities; and the development of an expositioncomponent for Habitat II that will facilitate information exchange.


The representative ofthe ICW said that management is a key element to full participationin the decision-making process at all levels, but budgetary cutsare sometimes used as an excuse to avoid the direct involvement ofmen and women at the community level. She added that the themesadopted by the Commission on the Status of Women as priorities areequality, peace and development.


The representative said that it is important to look at the causeof the problems, which is non-controlled urbanization, and that thelow-income segments of the population are the primary victims.Housing is in the hands of private companies and has become aproduct subject to the laws of the market and profit seeking.


The ILO representativesaid that there are some issues that make sustainable housing areality, and he highlighted the importance of productive and freeemployment that will ensure that populations get access to basicservices. A two-step approach is needed to ensure that the basicinfrastructure is in place for the urban poor and also providesemployment.


The representative saidthat housing needs should be referred to as fundamental humanrights. He also urged the delegates to look into the problems ofcorruption and to examine how governments can help enforce tenantsrights.


The representative of the Congo said that hisminister would attend the Conference and present a longer statementon the activities of his government in view of the preparations forHabitat II.


The United Republic of Tanzania highlighted themeasures that his government has taken in application of theVancouver recommendations, but indicated that despite these effortsthe human settlements situation has worsened, particularly in urbanareas.


The Israeli delegate took the floor in response tothe Palestinian delegate who had referred to the Hebron massacre as"genocide". She said that it had been condemned by the Israeligovernment, that Jews were victims of the same kind of crimes, andthat they should be condemned whenever they occur, but that usingsuch inflammatory words as "genocide" is not helpful.


Committee I was called to order on the second day of the PrepCom bythe Chair, Ms. P. Mboya (Kenya) to address agenda items three(preparations at the country level) and four (preparations at theregional and global level). The documents relevant to theCommittee's discussions were: Progress Report of theSecretary-General of the Conference on the Activities of theConference Secretariat (A/CONF.165/PC/1/2); Draft Work Programmefor the Preparatory Process: Report of the Secretary-General of theConference (A/CONF.165/PC.1/4); Report of the Commission on HumanSettlements on the Work of its Fourteenth Session, 26 April - 5 May1993 (A/CONF.165/PC.1/7); Report of the Expert Group meeting onUrban Indicators for Country Reporting (A/CONF.165/PC.1/INF.3); andGuidelines: A Framework and Format for Country Reporting(A/CONF.165/PC.1/CRP.1).

The first session lacked focus and interventions jumped from issueto issue, often not relating to the agenda items. By the followingsession the Secretariat tabled a "Proposed Programme of Work" aimedat structuring the discussion. The programme covered many moreissues than agenda items 3 and 4 and had the effect of makingCommittee I more like a plenary. The areas it addressed included:1. Objectives for the Preparatory Process and for Habitat II; 2.Main Activities during the Preparatory Process; 3. Participation;4. Organization of the Conference; and, 5. Financing of Habitat IIConference and Preparatory Activities. (Agenda items 3 and 4 wereaddressed under "Main Activities during the Preparatory Process.")This Programme of Work was discussed in general terms during thefirst week.

An informal Drafting Group was established to draft a workingdocument based on the discussions in Committee I of the above fiveitems. It was comprised of six delegates: one member of each of thefive UN geographic groups and one NGO. (The NGOs met amongstthemselves and selected a representative from the HabitatInternational Coalition.) However, the group remained open toobservers and to the participation of other interested delegates.The draft document was available at the beginning of the secondweek and subsequent discussions focused on re-drafting this text.During the first week, the Chair opened each session by outliningthe item under discussion. In an attempt to focus the discussion,the Secretariat identified the task before the Committee andsuggested options for consideration and outputs. Despite theseefforts the discussion still lacked focus and structure.

I. Goals and objectives

The Habitat II Secretariat suggested that objectives for both thepreparatory process and for Habitat II should be decided. Itsuggested a small set of specific national, regional andinternational objectives for both. However most of the discussionfocused on products rather than goals and objectives. Nigeroutlined three objectives: to attract international attention tothe issues; to ensure that the question of human settlements shouldbe viewed as a priority by all governments; and, investment in thehuman settlements sector and housing sector should be relaunched,taking into account the particular circumstances of each country.

Habitat International Coalition suggested that the objectives ofHabitat II, as outlined in General Assembly Resolution 47/180, werenot specific enough and that emphasis should be on national plans.The US presented a short paper that listed "goals" for theConference that included: the Adoption of a Shelter/UrbanizationAnalysis System; Adoption of an Enabling Strategy; presentation ofa "State of the Human Settlements" Report; production of aStatement of Principles; production of a Global Plan of Action; andpresentation of World Shelter and Urbanization Idea/TechnologyForum and Fair. The US was the only country to present theirsuggestions in a written form and as a result this paper formed thebasis of the Drafting Group's text. Kenya proposed four objectives:to review and evaluate all critical issues and present the state ofhuman settlements; to discuss analyze and present a statement ofprinciples; to propose, discuss and adopt a plan of action; and, toplan, promote and implement a trade fair. Finland expressed concernthat there had been confusion about goals and the means toimplement them and suggested that the preparatory process was ameans to implement goals that had yet to be determined. Swedensuggested that any material produced should be useful to localcommunities and households because global changes in approach tohuman settlement issues will only happen at the community or locallevel. Norway suggested that the objectives should include raisingawareness.

II. Main Activities during the Preparatory Process

There is only one main activity that States are asked to completeduring the preparatory process, namely the development of anational report. These reports should have two main themes thatconform to the Conference themes: adequate shelter for all; andsustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.

The Secretariat opened the discussion of main activities. Itsuggested the Committee consider, debate and adopt a commonframework for country reports as proposed by the Secretariat(A/CONF.165/PC.1/CRP.1) that would ensure human settlement policiesare based on empirical information. The proposed framework iscomposed of: an urban review; a shelter review; and otherprogrammatic reviews. Each review is intended to follow a five-partformat: analysis of the situation since Habitat I; application ofa set of indicators in one or more cities leading to a selectivepolicy review; formulation of a plan of action, bringing togetherall participants to set priority objectives and actions;identification of international assistance requirements for thethree or four highest priority actions; and a statement ofprinciples or national suggestions for points to be included in theGlobal Statement of Principles.

Most of the dialogue during the first week focused on the nationalreports. Indicators dominated the discussion, but there was alsodebate on country responsibilities in developing the reports andthe availability of technical and financial support to assistStates in fulfilling their reporting obligations. Because manycountries were concerned about several aspects of indicators, theSecretariat suggested that an informal discussion group meet todiscuss the issue further. This group met on the last day of thefirst week and was, in effect, a presentation on indicators by theWorld Bank and the Habitat II Centre.

The subject of indicators was as close as the PrepCom came tohaving a North-South issue. Most countries in the North supportedthe use of indicators and several from the South questioned them.The Secretariat and most donor countries supported indicators,their concerns largely driven by a desire to measure the effect oftheir contributions. While addressing Committee I, Dr. N'Dowstressed that States must have an idea of where they are today andwhere they are headed. The charting of progress requiresinformation. He stressed that it must be kept simple so people arenot frightened away. This quantitative information is essential,but should not dominate Habitat II or its preparations. Canadanoted that assessing progress since Habitat I has been difficultbecause suitable indicators were not developed and tracked duringthe period since 1976. The Canadian government has provided moneyto identify urban indicators and believes it is very important. Inresponse to concerns raised by some developing countries, the USreferred to the framework for country reporting document(A/CONF.165/PC.1/CRP.1), paragraph 63 that requests that only 10indicators form the backbone of the shelter review and that theseare not difficult to get in most countries. Shelter indicatorswould also begin to produce important information at the regionaland international level. It also stated that a similar set ofminimum urban indicators would be developed. The Russian Federationsuggested that two lists of indicators be developed to cover thetwo main themes. One list would be obligatory and another voluntaryto allow countries with the financial ability and expertise todevelop a greater set of indicators. Finland said that there aretwo levels of indicators, one at the national level so countriescan be compared and another at the local level so communities canevaluate progress. Italy suggested ways in which the quality of theindicators could be improved.

Several developing countries questioned the relevance of theindicators to policy and expressed concern about the financial andhuman resources required to collect the necessary data. Mexicosuggested that they were being asked to collect too manystatistics, which was unmanageable. Zambia questioned the relevanceof the statistics and called for a direct link between the need fora national exercise and a global plan and requested that the linkbe made clear. Tunisia noted that most of the housing is built inan informal way and bypasses administrative control, such asbuilding permits. Consequently, accurate statistics would have tobe pertinent to all housing and not just legal housing. Turkey wasconcerned that they would not be able to complete the set ofindicators outlined in the Secretariat's framework document andsuggested that there was too much emphasis given to them. Senegalnoted that African countries would require additional financialresources to collect data for indicators. Likewise, Kenya notedthat financial and human resources were required. Bangladeshrequested technical assistance for collecting data.

Habitat International Coalition (HIC) commented that they wererepresenting billions of people and that they hoped there would bemore than indicators discussed. Habitat II cannot report in 1996 tothe poor and say that it has tried to measure how poor they are andthe problems they have.

Other aspects of national reports were also mentioned. In generalmost States supported the proposed format. In addition to thefinancial and technical assistance requested by some countries forindicators, further assistance was also requested for thedevelopment of their national reports. Barbados reminded delegatesof the Small Island Developing States Conference. The 41 islandStates at this Conference would discuss a number of issuesincluding human settlement, land use and shelter and the outcomeswill be significant for helping that group of States prepare forHabitat II.


The International Council of Women,representing 80 affiliated national councils, reminded theCommittee that women are a vulnerable group and are the first toensure adequate shelter and living conditions for their families.Sweden noted that the gender dimension was lacking in the nationalreports. More attention should be given to the rights of women andtheir contribution. Indonesia noted that women are generally theones who establish and manage housing and accordingly it isimportant to include women as participants in the preparatoryprocess.


One issue that remained unresolved bythe end of the Conference was its focus. Most countries wanted afocus on the urban issues such as housing, shelter, air, water,sewage and transport. For the Conference to be a success it mustdefine its focus and it should not attempt to tackle too manyissues. Boutros Boutros-Ghali was clear in his view that the properfocus of the Conference should be on cities, hence his suggestionthat this be called "The City Summit." However, a few countries,particularly in Africa, argued that the Conference should focus onthe poor, regardless of their rural or urban location. Many Africaninterventions noted that too much attention was being given tourban areas. They suggested the Conference should focus on the poorand their living conditions, regardless of whether they live in thecountry or the cities. Several States noted that the Guidelinesrequire more emphasis on rural areas, particularly in developingcountries. Ecuador highlighted that it is the rural exodus to thecities that creates many of the problems and hence the ruralproblems deserve much more focus. Senegal suggested that thereshould be no distinction between rural and urban human settlements,rather discussion should focus on how all citizens can have accessto basic infrastructure and services.


Sweden, Italy and Nicaragua all commentedthat the size of the cities was not important but, rather, that therate of growth was.


Turkey noted that internationalmigration was a source of urban growth and that the issue ofcountries who are sending these migrants should be addressed.

III. Participation

Participation was given very little attention by Committee I duringthe first week. All States appeared to agree that participation wasto be as broad as possible, including many non-governmental andquasi-governmental organizations in addition to many levels ofgovernment, particularly the local level. This was reflected by theinclusion of NGOs participating in the discussions of Committee I.In the same manner as delegates, they were given the floor in turn.They were even included in the Drafting Committee, consisting offive State representatives and one NGO.

The Secretariat asked the Committee to identify the key actors,institutional arrangements and dialogue mechanisms for carrying outthe preparatory activities. It suggested that the Committeedevelop: 1) a draft recommendation on composition andresponsibilities of national committees and local coalitions; 2) adraft recommendation on representation at the Habitat IIConference; and, 3) a draft decision on modalities for informationexchange and communication between and among key actors and betweenlevels (local, national, regional and global).

Dr. N'Dow stated that Committee must be broad-based in itsactivities and include a wide range of community groups, privatesector and other actors. The Secretariat expressed concern therehad not been enough emphasis given to governments, and especiallyat the head of government level, attending the Conference.

IV. Organization of the Habitat II Conference

The Secretariat appealed for States to inform them of the size ofthe delegations that would attend. It suggested that there may beseparate NGO and local government fora, separate round-tables andfora on special issues, private sector implementation of a tradefair, and a technology forum. In elaborating on the separateround-tables and fora, it proposed separate fora for academics,mayors, local government, non-profit groups, communityorganizations and so on. Each of these fora could produce astatement and participate in thematic round-tables. The Chair askeddelegates if they would prefer the NGO forum to be a part of themain conference.

Turkey described the preparations underway in Istanbul. TheConference will be housed in existing conference facilities. Thereare five buildings within walking distance of each other and majorhotels. There is a total seating capacity of 10,000, with thelargest hall seating 4,000. The US proposed that NGOs have theirown forum and somehow take their recommendations through to themain body. It also suggested that other major fora be held at thesame time, for example a major forum of cities could meet duringHabitat II. Sweden suggested that new types of participation shouldbe envisaged, perhaps through using new types of technology tobring a lot of people and information to the conference (implyingsome type of visual link-up), which would save energy and bring inthe local dimension. Mexico, Chile and the US all supported theidea of a trade fair, and Turkey announced that it was alreadyevaluating proposals from experienced firms in conducting suchfairs.

V. Financing of Habitat II and Preparatory Activities

The Secretariat presented a budget for the financing of thepreparatory process and Habitat II. Governments had received theDraft Work Programme (A/CONF.165/PC.1/4) that included a budget;however, while the programmes remained almost the same, thepriorities, timing and budget were outdated. The Secretariatproposed a budget of US$23 million, of which no more than 15% wouldbe overhead. Approximately US$11.4 million would be direct supportto national governments in assisting the production of nationalreports (which includes direct contributions to countries,consultative services, providing information and facilitatinginformation exchange, and development of management informationsystems hardware and software). The Secretariat then suggested thatthe Committee develop criteria for determining which countrieswould be eligible for assistance and how much assistance they wouldbe given. It proposed that countries be placed in five categoriesand the countries with the least capacity would be given the mostassistance and countries with increasingly greater capacity wouldreceive decreasing levels of support. It also recommended thatregional and global organizations be eligible for support whereappropriate. The Committee was requested to determine whichcountries would be placed in different categories and to giveguidance to the Secretariat about the level of support for nationalreports.

The Secretariat announced that this Conference has received lesssupport from the General Assembly than any other Conference and hasbeen given a budget of US$1.3 million for the 94/95 financial year(therefore more than US$20 million still need to be found). Theprivate sector could be approached to sponsor various parts of thepreparatory process and the Conference itself. Nepal, the US, theNetherlands, Sweden and the UK suggested that many otherorganizations and agencies, both within the UN system and outside,have substantial areas of overlap with the Habitat II Conferenceand that full use should be made of any other relevant activitiesin order to avoid unnecessary duplication, lessening the burden onthe Habitat II budget. For example, the UK suggested that the workof the Global Strategy for Shelter and the Commission ofSustainable Development be taken into account. The Netherlandssuggested that the Secretariat make a list of activities,conferences and seminars relevant to the preparatory process ofHabitat II. (For further discussion of overlapping activities referto the "Analysis" section of this report.)

The US informed the Committee that an informal poll of thecountries that would normally support these activities revealedthat approximately US$3 million could be expected at the presenttime, suggesting that the budget needs to recognize this realityand the plan for country preparations should be reassessedaccordingly and fund-raising should begin immediately. TheSecretariat suggested that the Conference could be financed by theprivate sector but cautioned the Committee to think about thesignal that this would send (that if too much is private sectorthere may a loss of control and symbolically this would suggestthat governments do not sufficiently care).

By the beginning of the second week, Committee I had finisheddiscussion of these five agenda items and the drafting group hadprepared a first draft of the working document. Committee II haddone had done the same. Both Committees were adjourned.

Although the Drafting Committees had been small and geographicallyrepresentative they had from the outset been "open" and "informal."However, because many delegates were in the main Committee meetingsthey had not had the opportunity to participate or observe theDrafting Committees. During the second week delegates from bothCommittees formed a joint Drafting Committee, which was again opento all. However, unlike the previous week most delegatesparticipated in the re-drafting of these documents. The jointDrafting Committee was informal and lasted for all but the finaltwo hours of the second week.

Urban/Rural Debate

The issue of whether the Conference should predominantly focus onurban or rural areas became more apparent and was not resolved.Although many African interventions during the first week hadfocused on this issue, not many other countries had revealed theirdesire to focus on urban areas. However, during the drafting thisissue proved to be more serious and consumed a relatively largeamount of time. Countries that preferred an urban focus argued thatmost issues being addressed by the Conference are, by their verynature, most acute in cities.

Issues such as air, water, sewage and transport are problemsassociated with dense settlement. In most countries improvements inthe efficiency of modern agriculture have led to fewer rural jobs,resulting in a rural exodus. This, together with the unfailingpopulation growth, accounts for a substantial proportion ofurbanization. The growth of cities is inevitable. Moreover wellmanaged cities are now viewed as positive settlements where manychoose for social, cultural and economic reasons. Because ofeconomies of scale, problems such as education, health care,sanitation and so on are much cheaper to address in cities.Additionally, urban areas account for approximately one-half of thepopulation of most countries, and are growing. There were two mainreasons why some countries argued that rural and urban areas begiven equal attention. First there is an underlying idea thatcities are inherently bad; the centers of crime and corruption; andthe scene of a breakdown in family and societal values. This ideais fed in some countries by seemingly insurmountable problemsfacing poorly managed cities. This attitude has been fed for manyyears by the now outdated, but not forgotten, approach by manydonor countries and institutions of focusing on the negatives ofurbanization and to develop policies that discourage urbanization.These policies have since failed. Policies now reflect theunderstanding that urbanization cannot be halted and, if managedwell, can yield many benefits.

Additionally, in Africa the population lives predominately in ruralareas (unlike most other regions of the world). Many African statestherefore attempted to steer the focus of the Conference away fromsolely urban issues to human settlements issues of all deprivedpeople.


The finance issue was the usual donor-recipient "tug-of-war."Countries seeking support attempted to include language such as the" . . . governments and agencies must, in addition to directbi-lateral assistance, provide appropriate and adequate support inthe form of contributions to the Trust Funds". The language thatwas eventually adopted read: "...the necessity of an adequate flowof financial resources from donors is recognized." It became clearduring the second week that financing is a definite problem.


India, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico questioned the participation of NGOsin the actual negotiations and in their contributions to nationalpreparations for Habitat II. The final wording leaves room forthose countries who want to support a more open process to do so.At the same time it does not ensure that NGOs will be fullparticipants at Istanbul nor that governments should included NGOsin the preparatory activities. Both Mexico and Cuba brought to theattention of delegates, Article 9 and 10 of the "Rules of Procedurefor the Participation of NGOs" adopted by the PrepCom at itsOrganizational Session in March 1993. (These rules were the same asthose developed and adopted by UNCED). The rules stipulate thatNGOs shall have no negotiating role in the work of the Conferenceand its preparatory process. The Chair has the discretion to alloworal interventions by NGOs, with the consent of the PrepCom. Indiastated that they were not concerned that the language of the textallowed NGOs to participate in national committees and in futurePrepComs but did not want their inclusion to be mandatory. Forexample, on the final day India, (supported by Brazil and Poland)changed one part of the text from: "National Governments shouldseek to involve and support, wherever possible, governmentalparticipation at all levels, as well as participation by communitygroups and non-governmental organizations in the delegations to theConference", to read: "Without any prejudice to the sovereignrights of States with respect to the composition of nationaldelegations, national Governments may consider the involvement andsupport, wherever possible, governmental participation at alllevels."

The draft document from Committee I was tabled in a joint Committeemeeting on the final day in document A/CONF.165.PC.1/L.2,"Statement by the Preparatory Committee for the United NationsConference on Human Settlements (Habitat II)."

The Chair then gave States an opportunity to correct the text if iteither omitted some points that were agreed on, or containedmatters that were not agreed upon, in addition to typographical,grammatical and translation errors. The Chair, Ms. Mboya, statedthat the text was not re-opened for substantive debate as it hadbeen agreed and finalized the previous day. However, severalsubstantive points were discussed and the session became more thansimply adoption of the text as considerable time was spent infurther drafting. India, Spain, Jordan and Brazil suggestedsubstantive changes that revolved around NGO participation. Anotherissue was whether the participation should be at the "highestpossible level" and, if so, should it be promoted as a "Summit." Itwas agreed to remove reference to a Summit as the level ofparticipation is not yet known. The Chair of Working Group I,Zambia, provided the last word on what had been agreed in thedrafting group. Additionally the document was re-titled"Recommendations" rather than "Statement" as it was noted that aPrepCom cannot produce final decisions or statements.

Sweden, US, India, Kenya, Malawi, Tunisia, Brazil, Poland, Mexico,Sudan, Nepal, Central African Republic, China, Norway, Bangladesh,Uganda, Turkey, and Sudan made other minor unsubstantive changes tothe text. There was some confusion about whether some parts of thetext correctly reflected what had been agreed. After delegatesdiscussed their recollection of what had been agreed the text wasamended and finalized. The text was adopted later that day by thePlenary.


The Committee II was convened to allow the delegates to debateinformally on items 5 and 6 of the provisional agenda that dealwith the Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments, and theDraft Format of the Global Plan of Action, respectively. They wereguided in their work by the Reports of the Secretary-General of theConference on the Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments(A/CONF.165/PC.1/3), on the Draft Format of the Global Plan ofAction (A/CONF.165/PC.1/5), and on Major Reviews(A/CONF.165/PC.1/6).

The Draft Statement of Principle sets out the four fundamentalprinciples upon which the human settlements Global Plan of Actionmay be based. Principles I and II are substantive and address thetwo themes recommended by the Commission on Human Settlements: (a)Sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world; and (b)Adequate shelter for all. Principles III and IV are operational intheir focus on the key implementing mechanisms of management andenablement.

The Draft Format for the Global Plan of Action contains a suggestedtable of contents, and a programme format, based on that used forAgenda 21 and to be applied to human settlements programmes andsubprogrammes at all levels.

The report on Major Reviews outlines the four key cross-cuttingissues that need to be reviewed by the Conference and that underliepast mandates and current strategies. It traces the implementationof Habitat I recommendations, the International Year of Shelter forthe Homeless (IYSH), the New Agenda for Human Settlements theGlobal Shelter Strategy, and the human settlements related chaptersof Agenda 21.

The delegates first voiced their general comments on the threedocuments, and a restricted but geographically-balanced andopen-ended drafting group then convened to incorporate thosecomments in a new amended text. In the course of the generaldiscussion, the delegates were supposed to make specific commentson the documents, but all through the debate, many delegates tookthe floor to bear witness to the particular problems that theircountries are experiencing, and the debate became unfocused attimes. Four main issues did arise in the discussion of all threedocuments: rural migration and uncontrolled urbanization;decentralization and local participation; human settlementsproblems; and, gender equity. The debate in Committee II on ruralmigration and uncontrolled urbanization reflected that of thePlenary, in that some developing States delegates insisted that asmuch emphasis be given to rural areas as to cities, while somedeveloped countries wanted to highlight the problems raised byuncontrolled urbanization. Several delegates attempted to puturbanization in a better light as cities are also economic andcultural centers and the problem is not so much one of size as thatof the speed at which the cities expand.

The question of the balance between rural and urban concerns wasdebated heatedly and Italy tried to bridge the two concepts byhighlighting that the development of cities has an impact on theadjacent rural areas. India added that the urban migration could beslowed down if the appropriate infrastructures are set up in ruralareas.


With regard to thestructure of the document, it was suggested that the goals andobjectives of the programmes and sub-programmes be brought to thefore, before the constraints and opportunities for the plans ofaction. The US also highlighted that the table of contents shouldbe moved to the beginning of the document and that it should matchthe actual content of the document. The language of this documentwas also described as too "esoteric" and the US asked that it betranslated in plain "lay man's" language. Italy said that thedebates were complicated by the fact that the documents had beenissued shortly prior to the session and had not been forwarded tothe capitals for comments. On substance, Senegal said that housingcould no longer be perceived as it had been up to now, but that itneeded to reflect the fact that human settlements form chaoticallyand the people who live there live in inhumane conditions. When onethinks of "habitat", one must also bear in mind the people who havenever had a house, sanitary infrastructure and other amenities. Theinternational community must therefore make an even greater effortto provide them with a minimum livable.

While all agreed on the need to take such action, there wasuncertainty as to the exact nature of the measures that need to betaken. Some said that the problem was one of land tenuredistribution and restructuring. The Netherlands referred to soundpopulation policies and asked that they be included in the text.


Ecuador askedthat such definitions as that of "settlements" and "shelters" beclarified, while other principles, such as education, be included.Some delegates were adamant that these principles be kept short andsimple, while others felt that they were really too general andshould be developed further. Sweden also suggested that theDeclaration of Principles, as adopted in Vancouver, be somehowtaken into account here. Many insisted that the need for housing beredefined as a fundamental human right. Extensive suggestions weremade to for adoption and integration here of some of the Principlesof the Rio Declaration. The UK said that Habitat II and the UNCEDprocess should be seen as complementary rather than in competition,and he added that the delegates should not attempt to reinvent thewheel, but draw upon what was agreed to in Rio.

In this regard, Brazil and others expressed their discomfort atseeing "sustainability" redefined in Annex I of the DraftDeclaration of Principles. There are many priorities in thisprocess and the delegates should not become bogged down in endlessdebates on very general principles. It was also suggested that aclose link be established between human settlements and economicdevelopment.


Committee II reconvened on the lastday of the PrepCom to adopt its report as contained in documentPC.1/L.1.Add.1. The Chair of Committee II asked the delegates tolimit their comments to typographical errors and points that hadbeen agreed upon but that were left out in the new document. A fewtechnical modifications and additions were made, but some delegatesstarted addressing points of substance, which led to over an hourof new debate.

In particular, the two themes of the Conference departed from thosethat had been adopted at the 14th session of the Human SettlementsCommission, and several delegates disagreed on the new concept of"sustainable human settlements development" and wanted to retainthe old draft, "sustainable human settlements". The concept ofgovernance, as adopted in paragraph 44 was also disputed and thedelegates eventually agreed on alternative language.

The report was finally adopted by the Committee but some delegateshighlighted that they were not entirely happy with its language andthat they reserved the right to come back on it in the course ofthe next session of the PrepCom


The Plenary met on the last day of the PrepCom to adopt the drafttexts. Before the Plenary could adopt the draft texts, Tunisia andIndia had further revision suggestions. The US also questioned thelack of reference to the themes of the Conference in the text. ThePlenary draft texts were then adopted and the Chair thanked thedelegates and Chairs for their hard work. The Rapporteur thenrequested the adoption of the "Draft Report of the PreparatoryCommittee for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements(Habitat II) on its First Session" (A/CONF/165./PC.1/L1 andL.1/Add.1). This report contained a short summary of theorganization and duration of the session, a list of States inattendance, an agenda and proposed organization of work for thesecond PrepCom and the report of the Preparatory Committee.Typographical errors and other oversights were first amended andthe report was adopted.

Discussion about the rules of procedure for the next PrepCom,participation of NGOs and dates for the second PrepCom session andits provisional agenda followed. It had been proposed that thesecond PrepCom meet in conjunction with the meeting of theCommission on Human Settlements. There had been previous debate onthis matter and a small informal group was convened to discuss it.This group proposed that the PrepCom follow the meeting of theCommission so that the two meetings meet for no longer than twoweeks. Because of Easter holidays it was agreed that these twomeetings would overlap. The PrepCom will meet from the 24 April- 5May and the Commission will meet from 26 April-2 May 1995 inNairobi. In addition, a third session of the PrepCom will be heldearly in 1996.

France questioned the title of the Conference. It suggested anintelligible title that could be understood by all would be moreappropriate than "Habitat II", which is only understood by thosevery close to the process. It noted that Boutros Boutros-Ghali hadreferred to the Conference as the "City Summit" and the Conferenceposter refers to the "Future of Cities." France thought that eitherof these titles would be more appropriate and suggested theSecretariat address this issue. In response, Dr. N'Dow announcedthat plans were underway to approach professional communicators toaddress this issues. He confirmed that it is important that theConference not only be understood, but excite interest. Thisconcluded the discussion of organizational and substantive mattersand several closing statements were made.

In his closing statement, Dr. N'Dow congratulated the delegates onthe successful conclusion of the first meeting, noting theremarkable spirit of harmony in the Conference. He also thankedrepresentatives of NGOs and private corporations andvolunteer-sending agencies. He reminded the delegates that thetheme of the Conference is urbanization. While not ignoring therural environment we must attend to our new and growing habitat --towns and cities -- before its problems overwhelm our abilities tocope. Over half of humanity will live in urban areas by the year2000. These areas can be rich in experience and opportunity, humanein their tolerance, and civilized in their diversity. Without goodgovernance these areas can be arenas for crime, civil strife, anddisasters of all types, including epidemics and pollution. Someproblems now facing the cities and towns extend beyond nationalborders. Dr. N'Dow asked members of the Preparatory Committee tocommit themselves to a revolution of new solutions, new ideas, newpolicies, new tools and new institutions. The next century must doaway with all that imprisons and chokes so much of humanity today.We must strive together to build a world fit for all peopleeverywhere.

In her concluding remarks, Ms. Elizabeth Dowdswell was encouragedby the progress made during the PrepCom and thanked the variousChairs of Committees and drafting groups. Special thanks were paidto the Habitat II staff and Secretariat. She said that Dr. N'Dowand Mr. Wilhelm bring much wisdom and vision to the Conference.While referring to the Bosnian town of Gorazde (which had beenunder heavy siege for the two weeks of the PrepCom), Ms. Dowdswellnoted the importance of the good governance of human settlements topeace around the world.

Closing statements were then made by the heads of the regionalgroups -- Africa, Asia, Eastern European, Latin America and WesternEuropean and Others -- Jordan, on behalf of the Arab countries, theHabitat International Coalition, representing NGOs, and the hostcountry, Turkey. The Chair, Mr. Martti Lujanen expressed his hopesfor the preparatory process, thanked the participants and closedthe meeting.


This first session of the PrepCom provided the context and set thetone for the preparatory process. Delegates stated their initialpositions and identified areas of convergence and divergence. Thenegotiations were in their early phase and the focus of the PrepComwas on identifying and defining the issues and exchangingstatements of initial positions. In large measure this PrepComdealt with process. Key substantive issues, such as the focus ofthe Conference and participation, have been raised but notresolved.

At the beginning of the PrepCom, many States were unclear as towhat the goals and objectives would be, who would participate andwhat would be the major outcomes. Consequently, the PrepCom wascharacterized by a lack of focus. Many interventions did not relateto the topic under discussion but, rather, reflected concerns andhopes that delegates had brought with them from their capitals.

While a substantial portion of the substance of Habitat II focuseson environmental issues, the Conference does not have the conflictsthat characterize other environmental negotiations. Whereasclimate, biodiversity, ozone and acid rain negotiations focus oninternational issues that must be addressed collectively and Statesmust agree on a single strategy, Habitat II is about nationalissues that can only be addressed at the national level. Becauseall governments share these problems, this PrepCom was less like anegotiation and more like a collaborative effort to developappropriate strategies to deal with a common problem. Thecooperation and communication between developing and developedcountries was in marked contrast to that witnessed at otherenvironmental negotiations. However, there are some nascentconflicts, notably North-South, that have appeared in thediscussion over indicators and, predictably, on funding. However,since this was the first PrepCom, where agreement is needed mostlyon broad issues and directions rather than on specific commitmentsthese conflicts were not divisive.

Since there is a lack of awareness and understanding of how thesenational problems can be addressed at the global level the turn outwas disappointing. Most States did not send delegations from theirCapitals, but relied on their Permanent Representatives in Geneva.Many States were not represented at all or provided tokenrepresentation with delegates attending very few sessions. Whilethe issues related to human settlements have broadened considerablysince Habitat I to encompass social, environmental and human rightsagendas, many governments still perceive these issues as beingfocused broadly on housing and shelter. (Most of the governmentdelegates from the capitals were from housing departments.) Inpart, this is because Habitat I and the work of UNCHS hastraditionally focused on housing. The issue is not a priority formany governments at the international level, as reflected in theircommitment to this process.

Perhaps governments were not in attendance because they werenervous of the political ramifications of focusing attention onhuman settlement issues. Providing settlements is a key function ofmodern governance, and blame for inadequate settlements couldpossibly be politically damaging, despite the fact that thisConference has shown that supplying the myriad of urban functionsand qualities is no easy task. The adoption of indicators is alsoseen by some as a threat because transparent and accurateindicators intrinsically highlight the human settlement failures ofgovernments. Most governments already address many of the broaderhuman settlements issues across a range of departments andministries. With little extra effort governments could probablyfully participate in Habitat II.

Many participants, including government delegates, the Secretariatand NGOs, lamented the lack of non-profit NGO representation. Onlya handful of non-profit NGOs participated in the proceedings, butnone of the major environmental groups were represented. For-profitNGOs, such as architect and building suppliers organizations, hada far greater attendance. The low turn-out of non-profit NGOsmirrored the attendance of the delegates. In part this is becausemost non-profit NGOs working on human settlements issues aregrassroots groups whose agendas do not span internationalconferences. There was only one network NGO in attendance thatrepresented some 300 grassroots NGOs and community-basedorganizations -- Habitat International Coalition. The coalition'sgoal is to ensure that national plans of action are implemented andto act as watchdogs in the process.

It was felt by some that the lack of understanding of the linkagesbetween this Conference and other environmental conferences was themain reason for low attendance on the part of those traditionallyinvolved in environmental matters. One-half of the world'spopulation live in cities and are affected daily by the degradationof urban environments. 600 million people already live in "healthand life" threatening situations due to sub-standard housing,unclean water and poor sanitation. Rapid urban population growth isexacerbating the often mutually reinforcing effects of poverty andenvironmental damage in human settlements. NGOs have a lot tocontribute to this process both by providing technical expertiseand raising awareness. For example, groups such as the NaturalResources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earthhave already formed large coalitions that include grassroots groupsthat focus on clean air and clean water. These larger groups havea lot to contribute to Habitat II. Yet, any speculation on the roleof NGOs in future sessions of the PrepCom is dependent on decisionsto be made by governments on their participation.

The role of NGOs was unlike the traditional role they play inenvironmental conferences. This PrepCom was extremely open to NGOs,industry groups and local government representatives. Whereas insome of the post-UNCED conferences NGOs have been excluded fromclosed meetings, at this session NGOs were given the same rights asother delegates throughout the PrepCom and most States welcomedtheir participation. Their interventions were not limited to ashort period at the end of each session, but rather they took thefloor in turn with the State representatives and some of theirinterventions were supported by other delegates and reflected infinal documents. Each Drafting Group consisted not only of onerepresentative from each of the five UN geographical groups butalso included one non-profit NGO representative. Many delegationsalso included NGO representatives. However, in drafting the finaltext, a small group of countries (India, Brazil, Poland, Mexico andCuba) fought to limit the future participation of NGOs. Thecompromise reached allows States freedom to choose their own rulesof access for NGO participation at the national level. Dr. N'Dowattended several NGO meetings to seek support and advice and toencourage them to remain involved in the process.

An interesting aspect of this Conference is that the groups whoseinterests conform most closely to those of the conveners andorganizers of the Conference are the NGOs. Thus, this will be aninteresting process to watch because of the potential extensiveinvolvement of NGOs in formal and informal capacities and theresonance of NGO interests with others who are promoting Habitatconcerns. This is in some contrast to many other internationalsustainable development negotiations where NGOs play extensiveroles, but are only involved peripherally in the negotiationprocess. The visibility and constructive contributions of NGOs heremay be additionally important as support for the broad reforms nowdebated throughout the UN system, notably the expansion of ECOSOCrules of NGO access.

The key issue that must be resolved soon is the central focus ofthe Conference. This is essential both because the Conference needsa focal point around which its efforts can revolve, and because theConference needs an inspirational salience that can promote itsmessage from the local to the international levels. As it stands,the Conference has remarkably similar structure to the Habitat IConference, the 1972 Stockholm Conference and 1992 UNCED Conferenceand many others. Namely, delegates are preparing to adopt a set ofprinciples and an agenda for action. The effectiveness ofprinciples by themselves is mixed, and previous conferences haveclearly shown that agendas for action become Christmas trees uponwhich every symbolic and real concern is hung. The system ofnational reports has appropriately received much attention in thisfirst PrepCom, and if UNCED is a guide, then the process ofnational reporting could prove to be an effective part of theHabitat II preparations because it forces governments to take stockof where they stand, where policies might be reformed, andgenerally to increase awareness of these issues. However, moving tomore concrete outcomes will require greater convergence of focus."Cities" is the most logical candidate for the Conference's focus,and clearly the problems of urban development merit this kind ofsystematic attention. But at this early stage, there isunfortunately not yet full convergence on the idea that this is aConference about cities.

While human settlements issues do not enjoy the same attentiongiven to other sustainable development issues, several participantsnoted their cross-sectoral nature and the many other agencies andorganizations that have overlapping agendas. The paradox is thatwhile limited resources have been devoted to Habitat II, theseissues have been and will be addressed in many other events. TheNetherlands asked the Secretariat to produce a list of overlappingactivities and to indicate how the input and results from theseactivities could be used in this Conference. This is likely toassist the work of the next PrepCom, and will give delegates abetter sense of other inter-related activities at the nationallevel. Many of the UNCED-related activities have had, and willhave, a direct impact on this process. Agenda 21, the major outputof UNCED and a blueprint of action for the implementation ofsustainable development, comprises an "programme area" dedicated tohuman settlements. The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)is charged with monitoring the implementation of Agenda 21. One ofthe major themes of the CSD this year is a review of Chapter 7 ofAgenda 21 on Human Settlements. Based upon contributions from awide range of UN agencies and organizations, the Habitat Centre hasprepared the report on Human Settlements for the CSD. Additionally,national governments are required to submit national reports ontheir implementation of Agenda 21 to the CSD this year. Thesereports will have considerable overlap with the national reportsbeing prepared for Habitat II. As highlighted by Barbados, the UNGlobal Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small IslandDeveloping States also addresses the issue of human settlements.The Conference of the Status of Women to be held in Beijing nextyear will have human settlement concerns on their agenda. Thewomen's groups attending this PrepCom hoped that the measures takenin Beijing will have an impact on the Habitat II process. Inaddition, the International Conference on Population andDevelopment (ICPD) and the World Summit for Social Development haveobvious overlap. Notably, increasing population pressure andmigration between rural and urban areas lie at the center of humansettlement problems. There are many other forthcoming Conferencesand Meetings (both within and outside the UN system) that havesubstantially overlapping agendas.

The leadership has offered very helpful guidance and inspiration.The fact that UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali opened thePrepCom demonstrated high level attention to these issues and,thus, offered a boost from the UN system to a Conference that hasbeen concerned about whether it could garner enough support andattention. Delegates also expressed confidence in the leadership ofMs. Elizabeth Dowdswell and Dr. Wally N'Dow who have given detailedattention and priority to the Conference. The Secretariat receivesbroad praise for working with very limited resources and providinghelpful background papers, logistics, and organizing frameworks.

Nevertheless, financial support is severely lacking for thisprocess. The Conference currently has donor commitments forapproximately one-tenth of the financing needed for the preparatoryprocess to be carried out to its full extent. On one hand theConference comes at the end of a long stream of internationalactivities on sustainable development and thus offers anopportunity to meld the many cross-cutting sectors that affect thequality of the human urban environment. But, unfortunately, thisopportunity also accompanies a pervasive conference fatigue,leading to reluctance by many to participate in, and fund, thepreparation of another major international event. Yet, sustainabledevelopment of the urban environment clearly offers an opportunityto put sustainable development into practice in a setting thataffects much of the world's population and which offers among thegreatest challenges to a livable environment.


On many occasions, the Chair and theSecretariat highlighted the fact that the process was still at anearly stage and that, consequently, a lot of work must be carriedout during the intersessional period. The Secretariat has now twotexts in which the delegates have indicated what points they wantto see highlighted. These take the form of recommendations thatneed to be taken into account while the Draft Plan of Action andnational level Activities are developed. In addition, theSecretariat needs to prepare a list of the indicators that will betaken into account in the National Plans. It is expected that afirst series of indicators will be mandatory and apply to allStates in the preparation of their National Reports, while theadoption of other indicators will be recommended, but will not bebinding. The Secretariat should make these indicators available toStates before June 1994. The Secretariat will also draft the GlobalPlan of Action and the Declaration of Principles on the basis ofthe recommendations contained in the reports of the two Committees.


On many occasions, the Chair and theSecretariat highlighted the fact that the process was still at anearly stage and that, consequently, a lot of work must be carriedout during the intersessional period. The Secretariat has now twotexts in which the delegates have indicated what points they wantto see highlighted. These take the form of recommendations thatneed to be taken into account while the Draft Plan of Action andnational level Activities are developed. In addition, theSecretariat needs to prepare a list of the indicators that will betaken into account in the National Plans. It is expected that afirst series of indicators will be mandatory and apply to allStates in the preparation of their National Reports, while theadoption of other indicators will be recommended, but will not bebinding. The Secretariat should make these indicators available toStates before June 1994. The Secretariat will also draft the GlobalPlan of Action and the Declaration of Principles on the basis ofthe recommendations contained in the reports of the two Committees.


Country reports by governments will bepresented for discussion at the next session of the PrepCom. In thecourse of the preparation of these reports, governments will:review human settlements characteristics as of 1995, with emphasison urbanization trends; review the major changes in humansettlements development since 1976, including an analysis of majortrends, using quantitative policy-sensitive indicators; identifythe most efficient and innovative approaches used in the public andprivate sectors to address human settlements problems and resourceconstraints over the 1976-1996 period; highlight the current urbanpolicy issues at national, regional and city levels and the policystrategy options based on conclusions of a participatory process;and prepare a detailed National Action Plan for the 1996-2020period. These plans should reflect a common national view of thechallenges ahead, including: macro and sectoral policy goals for anurbanizing world; a set of programmes and sub-programmes forinvesting in economic, social and environmental sustainabledevelopment, with realistic targets and timetables; human,technical and financial resource requirements, including the roleof external assistance; and, proposals for regular monitoring ofthe urban and housing sectors. In the course of this preparation,governments are expected to cooperate closely with regional andlocal governments, representatives of the private sector and NGOs.


In May 1994,the CSD will conduct a review of progress achieved since UNCED inthe area of human settlements (Chapter 7 of Agenda 21). UNCHS,which was designated as Task Manager for human settlements by theInter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD) inSeptember 1993, has prepared a programme-by-programme descriptiveanalysis of the implementation of the human settlements chapter.The report attempts to analyze general trends in each of theprogramme areas of the chapter so as to make possible an accurateassessment of progress so far achieved, and to form the basis of aset of recommendations which can facilitate a speedy and successfulimplementation of the human settlements programme areas of Agenda21. Review of States activities will also take place in the contextof the national reports that are required for the review of theimplementation of Agenda 21 at the national levels.


During the intersessional period, NGOs areexpected to pursue two objectives: raising awareness and assistingin the preparations at the national levels. Raising awareness willinvolve networking with other NGOs, especially environmental NGOs,to encourage broader participation at the next session of thePrepCom, and to ensure that considerations related to humansettlements are on the agenda of forthcoming UN and other relatedconferences. Both "habitat" NGOs, such as Habitat InternationalCoalition, and broader NGOs, such as the International Council ofWomen, are accredited to these conferences and are expected toprovide technical expertise on these matters and to ensure thathuman settlements get on their agendas. Some NGOs have describedthemselves as the watchdogs of this process. While generalrecommendations are taken at the international level,implementation can only be carried out by the governmentsthemselves. NGOs will attempt to ensure that the governments makegood on their promises, and will provide information at theregional and local levels. Also at the national level, NGOs willmake sure that the drafting of national plans of action(potentially the most important output of Habitat II) is carriedout, and that they can take part in the process.


Global Forum '94 on Cities andSustainable Development will be held in Manchester, UK, from 24June - 3 July 1994. Cross-sectoral delegations from 50 cities willbe brought together to forge practical action plans for sustainablymanaging and developing urban areas across the globe.


The World Congress on Urban Growthand the Environment will be held in Hong Kong, from 7-12 November1994, to be followed by the POLMET'94 Conference on Pollution inthe Metropolitan Environment which will be held 14-17 November1994, also in Hong Kong.


The secondPrepCom will be held in Nairobi from 25 April - 5 May 1995, andwill overlap with the meeting of the 15th session of the Commissionon Human Settlements, to be held 6 April - 2 May 1995, also inNairobi.