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Daily report for 8 February 1996

3rd Session of the Habitat II Preparatory Committee

Delegates to PrepCom III for Habitat II continued negotiations on the draft Statement of Principles and Commitments and Global Plan of Action. Working Group II formed a third Subgroup (C), which met during the afternoon. Subgroups A and B met during the morning and afternoon.


Subgroup A continued informal informals on the Preamble. Some paragraphs required a subgroup to produce a new draft, while others will be produced by the Secretariat. The Secretariat distributed a redrafted Paragraph 1, which states: "As we enter the 21st century, our vision of a world of justice and peace, stability and development must be reinforced. There is a sense of great opportunity and hope that a world can be built in which social and economic progress, ethical and spiritual vision, and sustainable development, environmental protection, people-centred development and better standards of living can be realized through international cooperation, solidarity and effective partnerships at all levels." The Chair summarized Wednesday's debate on Paragraph 2: Habitat II will address the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements in a developing world. Some delegates mentioned the need for a reference to the right to housing, while others stressed that the paragraph was too detailed. Delegates did not resolve the relationship between sustainable development and other elements.

Paragraph 3 states that the international community, in convening Habitat II, has decided that a concerted global approach could greatly enhance progress toward the aforementioned goals. According to written comments, the EU suggested a stronger reference to unsustainable consumption and production, the US proposed language on enabling strategies and the G-77/China recommended a reference to developing countries. Delegates debated whether consumption patterns belonged in this paragraph and questioned a reference to "social deficiencies."

Paragraph 4 states that the Habitat II agenda results from experiences since the Vancouver Conference on Habitat and subsequent world conferences. During discussion, delegates debated references to other conferences and Agenda 21. One NGO said language on local authorities and Local Agenda 21s should be included, but several delegations objected. They also questioned the manner of NGO participation.

Paragraph 5 discusses the historic benefits of urbanization. In written proposals, the EU noted that the growth of cities causes changes that exceed city boundaries. The Holy See proposed adding "religious" to the types of participation that urbanization improves. The G-77 proposed noting that cities often act as engines of growth for development. During discussions, some objected to "religious." They again questioned NGO involvement.

Paragraph 6 details the challenges facing cities, including lack of employment, poverty, the growing gap between rich and poor, insecurity, pollution and rapid migration to mega-cities. References proposed in written submissions included: gender inequality (US); crime (Holy See); widening gap and international migration (G-77/China); clean water and sanitation, and the linkage between economy, environment and society in urban management (Australia); disease (Canada); aesthetic dimensions (Ukraine); and street children and sexual abuse (UNICEF).

Paragraph 7 addresses the challenge of renewed development efforts in rural settlements in a globalized world. The G-77/China proposed references to massive rural to urban migration. Canada suggested language on commercial interests and "people-centred" sustainable development. The US added language on sanitation, transportation and energy. One delegation said it is important to acknowledge difficulties posed for rural areas by population growth and expressed a desire to substitute "interdependent" for "globalized" world. Another delegation said measures to address rural development will ease mass rural to urban migration.

Paragraph 8 addresses the problem of rural population growth, sustainable development, and migration to urban destinations. The G-77/China proposed language on the linkage between the lack of economic opportunity and migration to urban centers, and Canada referred to the rural-urban continuum. Some delegations defended language on new approaches to eradicate poverty through sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

Paragraph 9 notes that more people than ever are living in poverty and without adequate shelter. Several delegations submitted written proposals, and many called for special attention to the problems of women, children and youth, and indigenous people. During discussions, delegates agreed to most proposed references. Delegates bracketed a proposal on international cooperation on refugees and internally displaced persons. A reference to housing rights was also bracketed.

Paragraph 10 states that governments at all levels often lack legal, institutional, financial and human resources to respond to rapid urbanization, and many local authorities are taking on these challenges with open, accountable and effective leadership. According to written submissions, the EU suggested a reference to vulnerable groups of both sexes, the US proposed language on enablement and responsibility, and the G-77/China stated that human settlement problems are rooted in poverty. During discussion, some delegates again objected to NGO participation and called for an adjournment pending resolution. The group agreed to present the matter to the Bureau.

Paragraph 11 notes that there are critical differences between and within nations regarding human settlements that make it necessary to adjust the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, taking into account the specific situation of each country. Delegates debated the language for specific situations and designated the EU to produce a new draft. Paragraph 12 states that the Habitat Agenda issues a global call to action. The group agreed to use the original text with amendments specifying that Habitat II issues a global call to action at all levels, and included a reference to children and Local Agenda 21s.


The Chair opened the morning session by stating that all work must be finished by next Wednesday afternoon. The Chair of Working Group II, Amb. de Silva (Sri Lanka) proposed establishing a Subgroup C. Delegates agreed.

SECTION A. INTRODUCTION: The Chair then invited delegates to resume consideration of paragraph 41 (furthering principal goals of Habitat II). The US, the Holy See, the EU, and the G-77/China supported an amended paragraph: "In Habitat II, Governments at all levels, the community and private sector considered how the achievement of the two principal goals of Adequate shelter for all and Sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world can be furthered at the local level through an enabling process in which individuals, families and their communities play a central role. This is what is special about the Habitat II Global Plan of Action and its strategies for implementation. Implementation of these measures will need to be adapted to the specific situation of each country and community."

In 42 (strategy of the GPA), the G-77/China, supported by Local Authorities, proposed that governments at all levels "work with each other, in their own communities, to determine collectively their future and decide on priorities for action to identify and allocate resources fairly to build a partnership to build common goals." China proposed "sustainable development, including sustained growth," but the US objected. The informal working group will continue consideration of references to "sustainable growth."

The EU, supported by the US, proposed a new 42(a) noting that enablement creates "the situation in which the full potential and resources of all actors in the shelter production and improvement process are mobilized." Delegates accepted G-77/China amendments in 42(a) (conditions to exercise rights and responsibilities), noting that rights and responsibilities are exercised "equally" and removing the reference to "equitably" improving environments. Japan, supported by UNICEF and Norway, proposed a reference to children, but India, the G-77/China, and Local Authorities objected.

In 42(b) (building partnerships for sustainable development), delegates postponed a decision on the G-77/China-proposed reference to "sustained economic growth." In 42(c) (conditions for self-improvement), delegates accepted the G-77/China and US proposal to delete the reference to "Government." Delegates agreed to add the G-77/China-proposed new 42(d) noting that enablement creates "the conditions for enhancing international cooperation."

SECTION B. ADEQUATE SHELTER FOR ALL: In paragraph 43 (definition of adequate shelter), delegates added the following aspects to the definition: physical accessibility (US); including security of tenure (G-77/China); heating (Canada); suitable environmental quality (Israel) and other health-related factors (US); and accessible location (Canada). They noted that adequacy depends on cultural, social, environmental and economic factors (EU). They also noted that adequacy should be determined in consultation (EU) and that gender- and age-specific factors should be considered (US). Delegates began considering amendments offered by organizations. The Holy See, Egypt and Jordan supported modified text from the Local Authorities regarding mental, emotional and spiritual well-being in shelters. The G-77/China asked the Chair how to use the compilation of amendments from organizations. The Chair suggested that only those supported by delegates would be considered. The US opposed the Local Authorities amendment.

Delegates transferred consideration of 44 (right to housing) to a small group that will discuss all text regarding the right to housing. In 45 (shelter strategy based on an enabling approach), delegates added text noting that management of resources must be "people-centred (EU)" and "environmentally (Canada and EU)" sound. Discussion of the G-77/China reference to "sustained economic growth" was transferred to the informal group considering similar references in Section A (Introduction).

In 46 (enabling markets, the primary housing delivery mechanism, to perform), delegates included an Australian-proposed reference to private, public and community rental sectors. The EU agreed to retain the list of components of shelter delivery systems at the request of the G-77/China. A US-proposed reference to special attention to women who are inhibited from participation in shelter markets was added. Israel reformulated a US proposal noting that actions including, where appropriate, market-based incentives and compensatory measures, are recommended.


The first session of Subgroup C of Working Group II convened in the afternoon to consider proposed amendments to Section B (Adequate shelter for all). Paragraph 66 details actions to be taken by all levels of government to ensure the equitable provision of basic infrastructure and service delivery systems. In the chapeau, the G-77/China, EU and Australia wanted to retain "equitable" provision; the US preferred a reference to provision "for all". In 66a, the G-77/China called for the provision of serviced land for the development of new and upgraded schemes for basic services and recreation. In 66b, citing FWCW, the US specified the inclusion of men, women and people with disabilities in decision-making. In 66c, the US preferred "involve, encourage and, as appropriate, assist." In 66e Australia, supported by the United States, highlighted the mobilization of private sector funds. In 66f the US suggested WSSD language, referring to "people living in poverty." In 66g, delegates preferred dialogue "among" all stakeholders. The EU proposed deletion of additional 66h (information) proposed by UNESCO.


Questions about financial discipline have led to the formation of an informal group to look at Habitat II funding and expenditures. Some delegations are concerned about a lack of clarity in the accounts, raising questions about the nature of certain expenditures.


SUBGROUP A: Informal informals are expected to discuss "Goals and Principles" in Conference Room 2.

SUBGROUP B: The Subgroup is expected to continue consideration of Section B (Adequate shelter for all) in Conference Room 3.

SUBGROUP C: The subgroup will resume work on paragraph 67 (infrastructure and services) in Conference Room 4.


National governments
Negotiating blocs
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions
Local Authorities