Daily report for 23 April 2004

CSD 12

In the morning, delegates in Conference Room 1 discussed human settlements, focusing on financing, and urban governance. Delegates in Conference Room 2 discussed sanitation, focusing on hygiene, sanitation and water management, and technologies. In the afternoon, delegates in Conference Room 1 heard a review of progress in implementation in the UNECA region, and overall review statements on the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme of Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the JPOI. Delegates in Conference Room 2 addressed human settlements, focusing on partnerships and city development strategies, and reconstruction and recovery.


THEMATIC DISCUSSION ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: This morning session was chaired by Vice-Chair Bolus Paul Zom Lolo (Nigeria).

Financing human settlements development: Mark Hildebrand, Cities Alliance, addressed ways of meeting the need for increased financial resources, through, inter alia, local partnerships, security of tenure, and access to credit. Dinesh Mehta, UN-HABITAT, focused on prerequisites for sustainable financing, said international funding must play a catalytic role, and called for making the poor “bankable.” Joel Bolnick, Slum Dwellers International, South Africa, emphasized the importance of community-based savings.

DiscussionSeveral delegates described national constraints and programmes to address housing problems. Several countries stressed the need for innovative financing mechanisms. IRAN noted differences between a rights-based and a development-based approach, and cautioned against going beyond provisions agreed in the JPOI. INDIA said the right to housing is not an intergovernmentally-agreed concept. NGOs spoke of the plight of women and the adverse impacts of multinationals. CANADA highlighted the rehabilitation of existing housing as an environmentally-sound approach to providing affordable housing. PAKISTAN identified the lack of affordable urban land as an obstacle.

Urban governance: Amos Masondo, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, said sustainable development of human settlements requires local good governance, decentralization, and adequate resources. Arputham Jockin, National Slum Dwellers Federation, India, highlighted the capacity and ingenuity of slum dwellers and stressed that they are the actors who will deliver sustainable development.

DiscussionSeveral delegates described domestic experiences. NEW ZEALAND said there was a need to address the problems of cities in developed countries. SWEDEN discussed ways to raise resources for upgrading slums, and FINLAND focused on security of tenure to enhance the “bankability” of the poor. TRADE UNIONS suggested the ILO as a partner in housing strategies, and INDIGENOUS PEOPLES recounted problems resulting from relocation from traditional lands. The UK suggested tapping the skills of slum dwellers, and BURKINA FASO and COLOMBIA called for decentralization. The EU stressed good urban governance, partnerships and subsidiarity. WOMEN said the demands of IFIs to reduce government regulation in countries of the former Soviet Union have led to the occurrence of homeless people. CUBA called for increased ODA, and KENYA urged donor countries to honor their ODA commitments and implement debt swaps in support of urban development. The US and the EU urged the dissemination of urban management tools and good practice.

UNECA REGIONAL SESSION: This afternoon session was chaired by Vice-Chair Lolo. Josue Dione, UNECA, said the ECA’s Committee on Sustainable Development will serve as the region’s main forum for future CSD review sessions. Francis Babu, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Uganda, presented the outcomes of the regional implementation meeting held in Addis Ababa in December 2003. Shehu Yahaya, African Development Bank, outlined the Bank’s programmes initiated in response to implementing the MDGs and JPOI targets. Thomas Fofung Tata, Forum for African Civil Society for Sustainable Development, called on African governments to recognize the role of civil society in supporting capacity building. Ibrahim A Gambari, Under-Secretary-General and Special Advisor on Africa, said CSD-12 marks a significant turning point where “words are translated into concrete deeds.”

Discussion: Several countries outlined their national efforts in implementing the MDGs and JPOI targets and goals, and stressed the need for financial assistance and technology transfer. NIGERIA highlighted constraints from high levels of external debt and SOUTH AFRICA called for a conducive international environment for addressing sustainable development. SIERRA LEONE outlined the challenges facing post-conflict countries in meeting the MDGs, and UNEP urged governments to set annual service delivery targets for the MDGs. Several donor countries outlined relevant initiatives and partnerships on water and sanitation in Africa.

OVERALL REVIEW: The EU called for strengthening UN system-wide synergy, agreed with the need for credible information on partnerships, and stressed the importance of indicators. The G-77/CHINA identified as obstacles to implementation, inter alia, the lack of adequate financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building, as well as low ODA flows and “stagnation” of partnerships. He cautioned against new policy interpretations or “additional guidance” beyond JPOI, and stressed the primacy of the CSD. He called for considering thematic issues “through the lens” of the three pillars of sustainable development. AUSTRALIA emphasized capacity building and market-based approaches in order to allocate resources effectively. NORWAY stressed monitoring progress and ensuring coherence at national and international levels. TURKEY recalled Habitat II, and INDIA noted that bilateral arrangements exist for managing transboundary waterways. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY called for improving interdisciplinary knowledge. The US underscored the continued momentum of partnerships, referred to the catalytic role of ODA and innovative financial tools, and suggested unleashing capital from domestic sources. The UK said partnerships are an important element of implementation.


INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION ON SANITATION: This morning session was chaired by Vice-Chair Toru Shimizu (Japan).

Hygiene, sanitation and water management at the household and community levels: Yasumoto Magara, Hokkaido University, presented on how Japan’s increased sanitation and water supply coverage succeeded in eradicating water-borne diseases and increasing public immunity to pathogens. T.V. Luong, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, described Thailand’s approach to achieving universal sanitation coverage, noting, inter alia, strong government commitment and social mobilization as elements of success. Edgar Quiroga, CINARA, Colombia, stressed the need to train and support agents of change.

DiscussionSeveral delegations presented information on their national experiences, highlighting the need for: establishing educational programmes; providing sanitation facilities at schools; creating sanitation demand; scaling up initiatives; applying a gender approach to sanitation service delivery; facilitating decentralized management of services; increasing rainwater harvesting; and disseminating information to health practitioners. UGANDA said there was a need to address legislation and enforcement. Describing its water policy, SWITZERLAND highlighted the use of IWRM in linking environmental protection and health. YOUTH said the health of children can be used as an indicator of community and environmental health. NGOs identified the lack of coordination among local and central government, the international community, NGOs and communities as an obstacle to meeting the sanitation target.

Technologies – potential for and key obstacles in scaling up and marketing of sanitation: Quiroga highlighted social resistance to eco-sanitation, and advocated developing strategies to promote new concepts and technologies. Christine Werner, GTZ, outlined principles, benefits and challenges of eco-sanitation, and underscored the need for implementing large-scale urban projects to showcase its benefits. Mi Hua, Rural Water and Sanitation Program Office, Guangxi, China, addressed China’s progress in promoting eco-sanitation, highlighting cultural acceptance, political commitment and low cost, as factors for success.

DiscussionMany delegates underscored the importance of hygiene education and awareness raising. SWEDEN noted that eco-sanitation is based on an ecosystems approach, and highlighted its role in promoting health, food security, environmental protection and income generation. WOMEN underscored the role of men, in addition to women, as agents of change in promoting sanitation. SWITZERLAND described eco-sanitation as a strategy, but said it was not limited to one specific technology. FRANCE said technologies should be simple and adapted to meet the requirements of local people. The US emphasized the role of small business and the importance of a market-based approach. UGANDA raised the need for structured subsidies in promoting the widespread use of eco-sanitation at the household level, while the UK cautioned using subsidies for household infrastructure.

INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Planning the sustainable city: This afternoon session was chaired by Vice-Chair Shimizu. Pietro Garau, MDG Task Force on Slum Dwellers, outlined examples of sustainable city planning, with a focus on Brazil. He identified, inter alia, leadership, thinking beyond the short term, and active citizen participation, as critical for success. Krishnaswamy Rajivan, Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund, India, noted the challenges facing cities of upgrading infrastructure, decentralization, and obtaining financing. He urged that city investment plans be based on people’s consent. Adepoju Onobukun, Centre for African Settlement Studies and Development, said sustainable strategies require a holistic and integrated approach to planning that enhances the capacity of local governments, using principles of partnership and participation.

DiscussionSeveral delegates described their experiences in planning sustainable cities, with many stressing civil society participation. BRAZIL said it replicates good practices and prioritizes the poorest segments of society. CANADA outlined concrete steps taken in expanding their sustainable cities programme, and the UK described procedures for sustainability appraisal and community engagement. The US advocated decentralized budgeting. VENEZUELA called for the diffusion of information technologies, and CHINA described how urban initiatives are evaluated and replicated.

Reconstruction and recovery following conflicts and natural disasters: This session was chaired by Vice-Chair Lolo. Teodor Antic, independent consultant, presented on Croatia’s post-war experience. Noting that challenges were of both a material and psychological nature, he outlined the critical roles of government and communities. Nabeel Hamdi, Oxford Brooks University, UK, said there was a need to link the relief and development phases of reconstruction. He stressed that while most institutions are sectorally-based, reconstruction requires inter-sectoral work.

DiscussionSeveral countries identified means of disaster management and risk mitigation, including through land use planning, and advanced preparedness. Delegates also stressed capacity building and the role of women. IRAN called on CSD to consider how it can contribute to the 10-year review of the Yokohama Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and called for a regional collaborative center for disaster management. INDIA highlighted the development of hazard mapping, formulation of building standards, and increased interest in traditional housing designs following disasters. TRADE UNIONS stressed the need to rebuild social infrastructure following disasters and conflicts. CROATIA urged bridging the gap between relief and development. Hamdi advocated micro-level action plans and the re-establishment of community trust through practical steps. Onobukun favored feasible and pragmatic goals over ideal standards, while Garau cautioned against disregarding construction standards and stressed that regulations be suited to local circumstances.


The end of the first week of CSD-12 saw mixed reactions to the new format. With the review discussions concluded, some delegates have expressed doubt over the usefulness of the technical “talkshop,” while others have welcomed the opportunity to meet and interact with other experts.

Foremost on the minds of many seasoned delegates are questions over the Chair’s summary, in particular what it will contain and how it will reflect issues raised in the past week’s discussions. A number of developing countries have expressed disquiet that several strategies that have surfaced as recommendations go beyond commitments agreed to at the WSSD and border on issues of national sovereignty. Some feel that a thorough discussion on the Chair’s summary is necessary. Participants are also looking into how the summary will address the inter-sessional preparations for the policy year, with a number of delegates suggesting that regional policy meetings might be in order.


CONFERENCE ROOM 1: In the morning, delegates will hear reviews of progress in implementation for the UNECLAC and UNESCWA regions. In the afternoon, delegates will discuss the relationship among the three themes, focusing on the role of local authorities, and rights-based approaches.

PARTNERSHIPS FAIR AND LEARNING CENTER: Partnerships presentations will take place in the Dag Hammerskjöld Library Auditorium. The Learning Center will be held in Conference Room D. Check CSD Today for details or visit http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/csd12.htm for details.

Further information