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Habitat II Conference                      [ Back to Habitat II ]

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IV Global Plan of Action

E. International cooperation and coordination

3. Financial resources and economic instruments

203. The demand for shelter and infrastructural services in human settlements is continuously increasing. Communities and countries, especially developing countries, have difficulty in mobilizing adequate financial resources to meet the rapidly rising costs of shelter, services and physical infrastructure. New and additional financial resources from various sources are necessary to achieve the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world. The existing resources available to developing countries - public, private, multilateral, bilateral, domestic and external - need to be enhanced through appropriate and flexible mechanisms and economic instruments to support adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements development.

204. The full and effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda, in particular in all developing countries, especially those in Africa and the least developed countries, will require the mobilization of additional financial resources from various sources at the national and international levels and more effective development cooperation in order to promote assistance for shelter and human settlements activities. This will require, inter alia:

(a) Raising the priority of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development among multilateral and bilateral donors and mobilizing their support for the national, subregional and regional plans of action of developing countries;

(b) Striving to fulfil the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of the gross national product of the developed countries for official development assistance as soon as possible and to increase, as necessary, the share of funding for adequate shelter and human settlements development programmes commensurate with the scope and scale of activities required to achieve the objectives and goals of the Habitat Agenda;

(c) Striving to fulfil, consistent with commitments in international agreements, such as and in particular the Paris Declaration and Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries in the 1990s (para. 23), the target, where agreed, of 0.15 per cent of the gross national product of the developed countries for assistance to the least developed countries as soon as possible and to increase, as necessary, the share of funding for adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements development programmes commensurate with the scope and scale of activities required to achieve the objectives and goals of the Habitat Agenda;

(d) Striving to ensure that structural adjustment programmes are consistent with the economic and social conditions, concerns, objectives and needs of each country, including the need for adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development, and protect basic social programmes and expenditures, in particular those benefiting people living in poverty, women and vulnerable groups, from budget reductions; and also striving to ensure that corresponding investment programmes take account of human settlements development priorities, including local, urban and rural priorities;

(e) Inviting the international financial institutions to examine innovative approaches to assisting low-income countries with a high proportion of multilateral debt, with a view to alleviating their debt burden;

(f) Inviting multilateral development institutions and bilateral donors to support countries, particularly developing countries, in their efforts to pursue enabling strategies through which national Governments, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, communities and the private and cooperative sectors can form partnerships to participate in the provision of adequate shelter and the development of sustainable human settlements;

(g) Exploring ways and means to strengthen, support and expand South-South cooperation, including through triangular cooperation, and partnership between developing and developed countries;

(h) Consolidating the solidarity of the international community and its organizations to provide adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development for people living under foreign occupation;

(i) Promoting, in a manner consistent with the legal framework of each country, the decentralized development assistance programmes of local authorities and their associations which transfer financial and other resources directly from a donor local authority to their partner local authority in a developing country;

(j) Enhancing the effectiveness of official development assistance and other external financial flows through improving coordination between and among donors and United Nations operational activities, and through better integration of those flows into national sustainable human settlements development strategies;

(k) Supporting programmes that increase the effectiveness and transparent utilization of public and private resources, reduce wasteful and untargeted expenditure and increase access to housing and services for all people, particularly those living in poverty;

(l) Recognizing the negative effect of excessive military expenditures and trade in arms, especially of arms that are particularly injurious or have indiscriminate effects, and excessive investment for arms production and acquisition, while acknowledging legitimate national defence needs;

(m) Giving preference, wherever possible, to the utilization of competent national experts in developing countries or, where necessary, of competent experts from within the subregion or region or from other developing countries in project and programme design, preparation and implementation, and to the building of local expertise where it does not exist;

(n) Maximizing the efficiency of projects and programmes by keeping overhead costs to a minimum;

(o) Integrating practical measures for reducing disaster vulnerability in development programmes and projects, in particular in the construction of buildings, infrastructure and communication systems accessible to persons with disabilities, including those financed by the international community, and ensuring that such measures become an integral part of feasibility studies and project identification;

(p) Developing and devising appropriate measures to implement economic policies to promote and mobilize domestic savings and attract external resources for productive investments, and seeking innovative sources of funding, both public and private, for adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements development programmes, while ensuring effective utilization of those resources;

(q) Strengthening financial and technical assistance for community-based development and self-help programmes, and strengthening cooperation among Governments at all levels, community organizations, cooperatives, formal and informal banking institutions, private enterprises and international institutions, with the aim of mobilizing local savings, promoting the creation of local financial networks, promoting socially responsible corporate investment and reinvestment in local communities, and increasing the availability of credit and market information to low-income individuals, women, and vulnerable and disadvantaged groups for shelter and human settlements development;

(r) Facilitating access to global finances for those Governments and local authorities that are initiating or are involved in public-private partnership programmes;

(s) Establishing and supporting linkages of informal credit mechanisms to the global pool of resources and increasing the access of the majority of the population to housing finance through participatory processes involving communities, non-governmental organizations, credit unions, international financial institutions and other relevant actors;

(t) Attracting international flows of public and private finances for shelter provision and settlements development through appropriate economic instruments;

(u) Considering means of facilitating foreign private sector investment in sustainable human settlements projects, including public-private joint ventures or partnerships, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and transportation;

(v) Implementing effective and equitable pricing mechanisms for adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements, infrastructure and services and assisting countries, in particular developing countries, for that purpose in order to induce greater flows of private, domestic and global funds, while ensuring transparent and targeted subsidies for people living in poverty;

(w) Examining appropriate debt-equity swapping measures in favour of shelter and infrastructure development in human settlements;

(x) Developing innovative sources of funding, both public and private, for human settlements development and creating a supportive environment for the mobilization of resources by civil society, including beneficiary and individual voluntary contributions;

(y) Promoting assistance for activities in the field of shelter and human settlements development in favour of people living in poverty, particularly women, and vulnerable groups, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, people with disabilities, street children, migrants and the homeless, through specific targeted grants;

(z) Recognizing the need for adequate shelter for all and human settlements development in order to address the special conditions of some countries experiencing natural and human-made disasters and the urgent need to reconstruct their economies and human settlements;

(aa) Giving high priority to the critical situation and needs of African countries and the least developed countries in implementing the objectives of the provision of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development;

(bb) Implementing the commitments of the international community to the special needs and vulnerabilities of human settlements in small island development States, in particular by providing effective means, including adequate, predictable, new and additional resources, for human settlements programmes, in accordance with the Declaration of Barbados and on the basis of the relevant provisions of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Development States;

(cc) Providing international support and assistance to the land-locked developing countries and supporting these countries and their neighbour transit developing countries in their efforts to implement the outcome of Habitat II, taking into account, as appropriate, the challenges and problems characteristic of those countries;

(dd) Agreeing on a mutual commitment between interested developed and developing country partners to allocate, on average, 20 per cent of official development assistance and 20 per cent of the national budget, respectively, to basic social programmes.

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