Countdown to Istanbul +5
Regional Preparatory Meetings for Istanbul +5
by Axumite Gebre-Egziabher
Regional preparatory meetings for Istanbul + 5 were organized in close collaboration with the Regional Economic Commissions between September and November 2000. Ms. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UNCHS (Habitat) provided key note address in the regional meetings. The purpose of the regional meetings was not only to review progress but also to identify and agree on concrete initiatives for extending and strengthening action to implement the Habitat Agenda in the regions. All meetings were attended by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of Habitat.
In organizing the ECE Ministerial Meeting and 61st session of ECE Committee on Human Settlements, Geneva, 18-20 September 2000, the ECE had taken into consideration General Assembly resolution 53/180 and Resolution 1/4 of the first session of the Preparatory Committee. UNCHS (Habitat) was invited to participate in the meeting. UNCHS (Habitat) prepared two documents as a contribution to the discussion: (1) Preliminary Synthesis of National Reports on the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda; and (2) Human Settlements Conditions and Trends in the ECE Region. The main objective of the preliminary synthesis was to highlight the main trends and issues of concern in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, as identified in the national reports received by UNCHS (Habitat). The presentation was organized in six chapters: shelter; social development and eradication of poverty; environmental management; economic development; governance; and international cooperation, as per the guidelines for country reporting. The second report was produced as part of the preparation of the Global Report on Human Settlements due to be issued by UNCHS (Habitat) in June 2001. The report followed the structure of the Global Report on Human Settlements and the findings were based on information from a wide range of sources, including UNCHS (Habitat)'s Urban Indicators, Statistics and Best Practices Programmes. A panel discussion on the Global Campaigns for Secure Tenure and Good Urban Governance was also organized by UNCHS (Habitat) during the meeting.
The Executive Director of UNCHS (Habitat) shared her vision of the Preparatory Process in her address to the Ministerial Meeting and stated that the ECE Strategy was an important step for the future implementation of the Habitat Agenda in the ECE region. The Ministerial Meeting decided that the Declaration and the Strategy would constitute the ECE's contribution to the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, and would facilitate further cooperation between ECE and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.
The Regional Meeting for Western Asia was organized together with the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and hosted by the Government of the State of Bahrain. The meeting was held in Manama, Bahrain from 16 to18 October 2000. In addition to Member States of ESCWA, participants at the meeting included delegates from the League of Arab States. The meeting discussed a Review of the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda which was based on the synthesis of the national reports received by UNCHS (Habitat) and also from a wide range of sources, including UNCHS (Habitat)'s Urban Indicators, Statistics and Best Practices Programmes. Delegates presented an overview of their country reports following the Guidelines for Country Reporting. ESCWA presented a document entitled "Principles and Framework for the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda in the Arab States." A presentation was made on the Global Campaigns for Secure Tenure and Good Urban Governance including the World Charter of Local Self Government and delegates addressed some of the fundamental issues. The meeting recommended further cooperation between Habitat, ESCWA, the Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, Arab Local Authorities, and the Arab Towns Organization. The meeting concluded by adopting the "Manama Declaration on Cities and Human Settlements in the New Millennium".
Asia and Pacific
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) in close collaboration with UNDP's Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI), the Asian Development Bank, WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Office and CityNet, organized a Regional High-Level Meeting for the Asia and the Pacific region from 19 to 23 October 2000 in Hangzhou, China. The Government of China hosted the meeting. Representatives from national and local authorities, NGOs, research and training institutes and the private sector ¾ a total of 157 delegates from 22 countries ¾ participated in the meeting. The meeting was organized around six key areas of the Habitat Agenda: Shelter, Poverty, Environmental Management, Economic Development, Governance and International Cooperation. An overview of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda by UNCHS and five background papers on the themes of the meeting. Four stakeholder symposia were convened for national governments, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, and research and training institutions. The meeting indicated the need for more regional cooperation for further implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
Latin America and the Caribbean
The Latin American and Caribbean Regional Preparatory Conference for the special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the Habitat Agenda was held in Santiago de Chile from 25 to 27 October 2000. The Conference was co-organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat). Twenty-three Member States and Habitat Agenda partners including Local Authorities, NGOs, Women's organizations and regional institutions attended. Habitat presented a review of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean, which highlighted progress made and constraints encountered, as identified in the national reports received by Habitat's and information from a wide range of sources, including Habitat's Urban Indicators, Statistics and Best Practices Programmes. ECLAC presented a document entitled "From rapid urbanization to the consolidation of human settlements in Latin America and the Caribbean: a territorial perspective," which recognizes the region’s spatial configuration as the scene of important social, economic and environmental processes. Latin America and the Caribbean is the only region that had drawn up a regional plan of action for Habitat II. The Conference took into account the interest expressed by the Forum of Ministers and High level Authorities of the Housing and Urban Development Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI) in the implementation and updating of the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Plan of Action on Human Settlements. Panel discussions were also organized on the Global Campaigns for Secure Tenure and Good Urban Governance and the two Campaigns were launched during the meeting. The Conference recommended that collaboration between ECLAC and Habitat should be strengthened, and concluded by adopting the Santiago Declaration on Human Settlements.
The Regional African Ministerial Conference on the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda was held at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 6 to 8 November 2000. The Conference was jointly organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. The Conference was attended by a total 216 delegates from 33 Member States, and Habitat Agenda partners including parliamentarians, local authorities, NGOs, Women's and Youth organizations, regional institutions and the UN system. The Conference discussed the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and a regional strategy for human settlements development in Africa by UNCHS (Habitat). Governments and Habitat Agenda partners presented their experiences in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. A presentation was made on the Global Campaigns for Secure Tenure and Good Urban Governance including the World Charter of Local Self Government and delegates addressed some of the fundamental issues. A dialogue on "Water for African Cities" and a parallel event on "Children and Youth for Habitat" were also organized during the meeting. The Regional African Ministerial Conference concluded by adopting a Draft Regional Position on Progress, Challenges and Future Initiatives and the Addis Ababa Declaration on Human Settlements in the New Millennium.
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