Daily report for 2 March 2005

CSD 13 Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM)

Delegates met in parallel sessions throughout the day to discuss policy options and possible actions to address water, sanitation and human settlements.


SANITATION: Chaired by CSD-13 Vice-Chair Elbakly, this morning session focused on capacity and finance requirements for meeting the JPOI sanitation target. Many delegations stressed South-South cooperation, education, capacity building and technology transfer.

On finance, NORWAY noted the need to prioritize demand-driven strategies that leverage private and household resources, ensure fiscal responsibility, and enable the self-sufficiency of utilities. SWITZERLAND suggested that initial investments from IFIs could enable SMEs, and noted the continued necessity of public funds and intelligent subsidies targeted at high-impact investments. The US proposed the establishment of national or regional project development facilities to assist in preparing infrastructure projects, pooled or revolving funds to provide low interest loans to municipalities, and partial loan guarantees to mobilize domestic capital. COLOMBIA underscored the role of intermediate financial organizations at the national level in bridging the gap between IFIs and communities. SOUTH AFRICA urged budgeting for the operation and maintenance of infrastructure. UN-HABITAT stressed the need for unbundled loans for communities, and outlined its community loan guarantee scheme. The NETHERLANDS highlighted that secure land tenure and equal access for women could facilitate access to loans and microcredit. TRADE UNIONS, with several delegations, said full cost recovery does not work when providing services to the poor. WOMEN, supported by WSSCC, urged consideration of self-financing schemes that generate income.

IRAN underscored the need to recognize sanitation as a cross-sectoral issue. With SOUTH AFRICA, he highlighted the need for an institutional home for sanitation in the UN system. The NETHERLANDS stressed the need to define roles of various international organizations and to ensure their commitment to implement policy actions. UN-WATER said its terms of reference and plan of work explicitly mention sanitation activities.

BANGLADESH outlined its target for providing total sanitation by 2010, and CHINA outlined its goal to achieve 65% sanitation coverage in rural areas by 2010. YOUTH called for adequate and separate sanitation facilities for boys and girls. UN-HABITAT said national plans should approach sanitation provision from an IWRM perspective.

SOUTH AFRICA expressed concern over references to the sanitation target as a MDG, noting that the target was outlined in the JPOI as part of an elaborate programme of implementation to achieve the internationally-agreed development goals in the Millennium Declaration. She said policy measures and actions from CSD-13 would contribute to the 2005 review of the Millennium Declaration. The US emphasized that partnerships will be the key measure of success.

WATER: Chaired by CSD-13 Vice-Chair Berbalk, this afternoon session focused on monitoring, and securing finance for water-related investments.

On monitoring, many delegates discussed the use of existing versus new mechanisms. The EU emphasized the role of UN-Water, and KENYA requested clarification on UN agencies’ roles. NORWAY and NGOs emphasized the need to monitor access to, as well as the convenience, reliability and sustainability of, services. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY noted that inadequate monitoring inhibits indicator development. With the US, he cited the Global Earth Observation System of Systems as a possible source of information. KENYA and NGOs highlighted the need for standardized indicators, with WOMEN calling for gender-disaggregated and gender-sensitive data and indicators. EGYPT said monitoring IWRM plans should be limited to national and regional levels, where appropriate. UN-HABITAT said beneficiary communities should be included in decision-making and monitoring processes. NGOs stressed the need for regular monitoring, and called for collected data to be made publicly available to ensure accountability. SOUTH AFRICA suggested that countries and agencies prepare implementation reports, and that the Secretariat prepare a report based on these.

On finance, delegates addressed, inter alia, tariffs, cost recovery, inclusion of water issues in national plans, mobilization of private capital, the priority of financing projects in Africa, the need for sustainable funding, and the financing and capacity of local authorities. The EU discussed the role of revolving funds and microcredit programmes in stimulating sustainable household-level funding. TANZANIA noted the lack of private sector funding for partnerships. SWITZERLAND called for smart subsidies targeted at grid connection for the poor, and with AUSTRALIA stressed the need to separate service delivery from system oversight. Many countries called on developed countries to meet the 0.7% ODA target, with SOUTH AFRICA urging CSD-13 to consider measures to expedite the implementation of the ODA target, including a process to report on progress.

TUVALU called for the CSD to ensure that the issues of small island developing States are adequately addressed in each cycle, urged the provision of finance for capacity building and technology transfer, and with MAURITIUS, drew attention to the freshwater elements of the Mauritius Strategy. Highlighting the urgent need for funding for Africa, SOUTH AFRICA proposed that such funding should, inter alia, be easily accessible, foster the principle of learning-by-doing, and support infrastructure development. WSSCC outlined the financing elements of the Dakar framework, highlighting, inter alia, the need to move from subsidy-led to demand-driven programmes. TRADE UNIONS called for a focus on the impacts of, inter alia, off-book accounting of long-term concessions to private operators, and the costs and market distortions of public guarantees to private actors.

HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: The morning session, chaired by CSD-13 Vice-Chair Shin, focused on providing improved housing and associated services to the urban and rural poor. The afternoon session, chaired by CSD-13 Vice-Chair Mamadova, focused on creating jobs and promoting local entrepreneurship.

Introducing the Secretary-General’s report on human settlements, Vice-Chair Shin stressed the importance of land tenure for slum dwellers, which was underscored by delegations, many of whom also emphasized the importance of securing land tenure and inheritance rights for women.

Many delegations stressed the importance of decentralization and the critical role of local authorities. FINLAND and SWEDEN emphasized the need for good local governance in tackling urban challenges. SPAIN, MEXICO and TRADE UNIONS underlined the importance of citizen and community participation. Stating that the urban poor are the most important agents for social and economic change, NORWAY highlighted the potential of women and youth to this end, and called for empowering these groups and informing them of their rights. NGOs urged a reference to the human rights dimension in the Secretary-General’s reports. The HUMAN SETTLEMENTS CAUCUS said sustainable human settlements, adequate shelter and basic services can only be achieved through policies that realize the right to housing, land access, secure tenure and infrastructure provision. INDIA noted that land titling was not the only solution to address human settlements issues and cautioned that rights-based approaches may impede rather than accelerate sustainable human settlements objectives.

KENYA and SENEGAL highlighted challenges associated with rapid urbanization, MEXICO underscored the importance of regulations in preventing illegal squatting, SOUTH AFRICA stressed the need for national slum eradication targets, and INDIA stressed the need for flexible land policies adapted to local conditions.

Many delegations underscored the need for integrated urban planning, with the EU supporting enhancing the capacity of national and local governments and underscoring the role of South-South and North-South local-level cooperation. INDIA, LESOTHO and VENEZUELA stressed the need for integrated approaches to address human settlements issues. AUSTRALIA supported reforming and improving governance, and urged broad-based economic growth, with a focus on service delivery, stressing the need for adequate infrastructure to meet development needs. EGYPT called attention to how satellite images can monitor encroachment on agricultural lands. SAUDI ARABIA stressed the importance of education in addressing service provision needs.

On finance, the G-77/CHINA said reducing developing countries’ debt burden would free resources for slum upgrading, noting that an influx of foreign private resources targeted at slums is unlikely. He called for national and international macro-level policies to facilitate earnings and employment of slum dwellers. The US underscored the need to: attract people into the formal economy through home ownership, land tenure and property rights; mobilize local level and private sector financial resources; and improve technical skills of administrators for medium- and long-term planning. He also underscored the need to mobilize domestic capital markets using risk-sharing mechanisms to reduce the cost of lending in slums. The NETHERLANDS stressed the importance of facilitating local authorities’ access to credit. UN-HABITAT noted the challenge of accessing housing finance by the urban poor. JAMAICA stressed the need to expand local capital markets, and said current IFI policies do not foster sustainable human settlements. BRAZIL, with SOUTH AFRICA, called for engaging the Bretton Woods Institutions in addressing human settlements issues. WOMEN stressed the need to enable slum dwellers to raise capital and purchase land. UGANDA urged strengthening human settlements issues in PRSPs. AUSTRALIA cited trade liberalization and increasing market access for developing countries as a means of mobilizing resources. INDIA urged development of urban finance institutions, SENEGAL called for the establishment of special funding mechanisms, and VENEZUELA and YOUTH underscored the role of microcredit.

On national initiatives, CANADA elaborated on a number of innovative financial measures linking infrastructure investment with sustainable development. SOUTH AFRICA said its human settlements approach incorporates aspects such as healthcare, transport, telecommunications and a local economy. EGYPT shared its experience in engaging the private sector in providing affordable housing. AZERBAIJAN highlighted policies regarding refugees and internally displaced persons. INDONESIA discussed plans to build subsidized housing, BURKINA FASO announced a national campaign on security of tenure, and TANZANIA outlined policy frameworks to ensure land supply and regulate tenure. JAMAICA elaborated on programmes for, inter alia, renewing inner city areas and providing housing through public-private ventures.

On job creation, many delegates emphasized the need to develop sound and transparent legal and regulatory frameworks to support job creation. TRADE UNIONS said investment in infrastructure can provide paybacks in terms of employment creation, income generation, capacity building and import substitution through local procurement. The EU and FINLAND supported strengthening the informal sector, EGYPT highlighted the role of the construction sector, and VENEZUELA noted the role of local construction cooperatives. The US urged matching urban youth with skills training and apprenticeships to access jobs in the local labor market. SOUTH AFRICA underscored the importance of local economic development, noting the role of SMEs in this regard. He encouraged international investors to seek partnerships with local suppliers. CÔTE D'IVOIRE said rural development could reduce the pressure of urbanization. TRADE UNIONS highlighted their role as partners in job creation, training and skills transfer.

Delegates also presented their views on the post-CSD-13 scenario. The EU urged: ensuring follow-up on implementation and monitoring of the three themes between CSD-13 and the overall appraisal in 2016/2017; strengthening monitoring, reporting and assessment at all levels; clarifying the scope of various global water fora; enhancing the role of UN-Water and the World Water Assessment Programme; recognizing the role of UN-HABITAT; and continuing DESA’s role in stock-taking. The EU, UN-HABITAT, CHILE and others stressed utilizing existing institutions and capacities. AUSTRALIA prioritized the role of enabling networks and partnerships, supported flexible mechanisms, advocated DESA’s role in enhancing information-sharing on partnerships, proposed the convening of a practitioners’ conference, and with the US, welcomed the creation of an internet-based information resource. SOUTH AFRICA and others underscored the need to define how the CSD-12/CSD-13 themes would be monitored following the conclusion of the Implementation Cycle. FRANCE urged the adoption of an international declaration outlining the roles of each UN agency.


Some delegates noted with resignation that no representatives of the Bretton Woods Institutions were present during Wednesday’s discussions on finance, despite their importance to many of the deliberations at hand. As a result, some wondered whether the finance discussions were productive in moving towards implementation. Several delegates, musing over the irony of running separate sessions on the three themes while delegations continually emphasized the importance of integration, expressed hope that Thursday’s session on interlinkages will be able to identify synergies and adequately address the issue of integrated approaches.

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