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Habitat II Conference                      [ Back to Habitat II ]

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IV Global Plan of Action

F. Implementation and follow-up of the Habitat Agenda

3. Implementation at the international level

214. In the context of international cooperation and partnership, the effective implementation of the outcome of the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) should take into account the integration of adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements development with broader environmental, social and economic considerations. The main intergovernmental actors at the global level for the implementation and follow-up of the Habitat Agenda will continue to be all States, the United Nations General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and in particular the Commission on Human Settlements, according to its mandate and role as contained in General Assembly resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977 and in all other relevant resolutions of the Assembly. Other relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system also have an important role to play in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and all relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system should take into account the Habitat Agenda with a view to implementing it in their respective fields of competence.

215. All States should exert concerted efforts to achieve the implementation of the Habitat Agenda through bilateral, subregional, regional and international cooperation, as well as through the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions. States may also convene bilateral, subregional and regional meetings and take other appropriate initiatives to contribute to the review and assessment of the progress made in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

216. With regard to the consideration of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development at the intergovernmental level, special consideration should be given to the roles of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.

217. The General Assembly, as the highest intergovernmental body, is the principal policy-making and appraisal organ on matters relating to the follow-up of Habitat II. At its fifty-first session, the Assembly should include the follow-up to the Conference in its agenda as an item entitled "Implementation of the outcome of the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II)". At the special session of the General Assembly to be convened in 1997 for the purpose of an overall review and appraisal of Agenda 21, due attention should be given to the issue of human settlements in the context of sustainable development. At its fifty-second session, the Assembly should review the effectiveness of the steps taken to implement the outcome of the Conference.

218. The General Assembly should consider holding a special session in the year 2001 for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of Habitat II and should consider further actions and initiatives.

219. The Economic and Social Council, in accordance with its role under the Charter of the United Nations and with the relevant General Assembly and Economic and Social Council resolutions and decisions, would oversee system-wide coordination in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and make recommendations in this regard. The Economic and Social Council should be invited to review the follow-up of the Habitat Agenda at its substantive session of 1997.

220. The Economic and Social Council may convene meetings of high-level representatives to promote international dialogue on the critical issues pertaining to adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development as well as on policies for addressing them through international cooperation. In this context, it may consider dedicating one high-level segment before 2001 to human settlements and the implementation of the Habitat Agenda with the active involvement and participation of, inter alia, the specialized agencies, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

221. The General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council should, where appropriate, promote subregional and regional cooperation in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. In this regard, the regional commissions, within their mandates and in cooperation with regional intergovernmental organizations and banks, could consider convening high-level meetings to review progress made in implementing the outcome of Habitat II, to exchange views on their respective experiences, particularly on best practices, and to adopt appropriate measures. Such meetings could involve, as appropriate, the participation of the principal financial and technical institutions. The regional commissions should report to the Council on the outcome of such meetings.

222. The Commission on Human Settlements, under the Economic and Social Council, should have, inter alia, the following objectives, functions and responsibilities, particularly in view of its role in promoting, reviewing, monitoring and assessing the progress made in implementing the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in all countries, in accordance with the Habitat Agenda:

(a) To promote integrated and cohesive policies at all levels, aiming at achieving the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in all countries, with due regard to the carrying capacity of the environment, in accordance with the Habitat Agenda;

(b) To track progress in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, inter alia, through the analysis of relevant inputs from Governments, local authorities and their associations, relevant non-governmental organizations and the private sector;

(c) To assist countries, particularly developing countries, subregions and regions, in increasing and improving their own efforts to solve shelter and human settlements problems, including through promotion of vocational training;

(d) To promote, for effective national follow-up plans and activities, greater international cooperation in order to increase the availability of resources to all developing countries, especially those in Africa and the least developed countries, and promote the effective contribution of the private sector and local authorities and their associations;

(e) To provide appropriate recommendations to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council on the basis of an analysis and synthesis of the information received and to inform the Commission on Sustainable Development;

(f) To facilitate cooperation and partnerships among all countries and regions to achieve the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development;

(g) To continue to develop and promote policy objectives, priorities and guidelines regarding existing and planned programmes of work of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) in the fields of adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements development, in accordance with the Habitat Agenda;

(h) To track the progress of the activities of the United Nations system, to cooperate with other international organizations in the fields of adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements development and to propose, when appropriate, ways and means by which the overall policy objectives and goals in those fields within the United Nations system might best be achieved;

(i) To promote adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in harmony with the recommendations made by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, particularly chapter 7 of Agenda 21, taking into account, as appropriate, the relevant outcomes of other major United Nations conferences and summits;

(j) To promote the full and effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda at the national and international levels;

(k) To study in the context of the Habitat Agenda new issues and problems with a view to developing solutions for adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development, including those of a regional or international character;

(l) To continue to give overall policy guidance to and carry out supervision of the operations of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), including the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation;

(m) To review and approve periodically the utilization of funds at its disposal for carrying out shelter and human settlements development activities at all levels;

(n) To monitor and evaluate the progress made towards and obstacles encountered in achieving the goals of the Habitat Agenda and recommend appropriate measures and alternative actions as deemed necessary to enhance the dynamic nature of the Habitat Agenda.

223. Taking into account the recommendations of the General Assembly at its fifty-first session, the Commission on Human Settlements should, at its forthcoming session, review its programme of work in order to ensure the effective follow-up and implementation of the outcome of the Conference, in a manner consistent with the functions and contributions of other relevant organs of the United Nations system, and make recommendations thereon to the Economic and Social Council within the framework of its review of the activities of its subsidiary bodies. The Commission should also review its working methods in order to involve in its work the representatives of local authorities and the relevant actors of civil society, particularly the private sector and non-governmental organizations, in the field of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development, taking into account its rules of procedure.

224. The General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, in accordance with their respective mandates, are invited to review and strengthen the mandate of the Commission on Human Settlements, taking into account the Habitat Agenda as well as the need for synergy with other related commissions and Conference follow-up, and for a system-wide approach to its implementation.

225. As a standing committee assisting the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Human Settlements should have a central role in monitoring, within the United Nations system, the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and advising the Council thereon. It should have a clear mandate and sufficient human and financial resources, through the reallocation of resources within the regular budget of the United Nations, to carry out that mandate.

226. The Commission on Human Settlements should assist the Economic and Social Council in its coordination of the reporting on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda with the relevant organizations of the United Nations system. The Commission should draw upon inputs from other organizations of the United Nations system and other sources, as appropriate.

227. The Commission on Human Settlements, in developing its work programme, should examine the Habitat Agenda and consider how to integrate in its programme of work the follow-up to the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II). In this context, the Commission on Human Settlements could consider how it could further develop its catalytic role in promoting adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development.

228. Within its mandate, and considering the necessity for it to focus on well-defined objectives and strategic issues, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) shall have, inter alia, the following responsibilities:

(a) To monitor, with a view to ensuring the harmonization, at the intersecretariat level, of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development programmes planned and carried out by the United Nations system;

(b) To assist the Commission on Human Settlements in formulating recommendations for coordinating adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development activities in the United Nations system, to keep them under review and to assess their effectiveness;

(c) To promote, facilitate and execute adequate shelter and human settlements development programmes and projects;

(d) To facilitate the global exchange of information on adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development by, inter alia, exchanging information on best practices and encouraging research activities on sustainable approaches and methods concerning building materials and construction technology;

(e) To deal with interregional issues relating to adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in full cooperation with the regional commissions as well as the principal financial and technical institutions and other relevant partners at the regional levels;

(f) To supplement regional expertise in formulating and implementing adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development programmes and projects when so required, paying due attention to regional institutions of cooperation;

(g) To promote and consolidate collaboration, within the legal framework of each country, with all partners, including local authorities, and private sector and non-governmental organizations, in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda;

(h) To maintain and update a global directory of consultants and advisers to supplement the skills available within the United Nations system and, where necessary, to assist in the recruitment of experts at the global level, including those belonging to developing countries and countries with economies in transition;

(i) To initiate public information activities on adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in cooperation with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Secretariat;

(j) To promote increased use of audiovisual and information technology relating to adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements development;

(k) To carry out any additional responsibilities and functions assigned to it by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council;

(l) To continue to execute the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, taking into consideration the Habitat Agenda;

(m) To analyse and monitor major trends in urbanization and the impact of policies for urban and rural settlements, to track progress in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, and to continue its publications programme, including, inter alia, publication of the Global State of Human Settlements report;

(n) To provide assistance in establishing guidelines for national and local monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda through the use of housing and human settlements indicator programmes;

(o) To promote human settlements management and community-based development, in particular aiming at achieving transparent, representative and accountable governance through institutional development, capacity-building and partnership.

229. The primary function of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), located in Nairobi, Kenya, is to provide substantive servicing to the Commission on Human Settlements and other intergovernmental bodies concerned with adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development. It should be designated as a focal point for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. In the light of the review of the mandate of the Commission on Human Settlements, requested in paragraph 224 above, the functions of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) will also need to be assessed with a view to its revitalization. The Secretary-General is requested to ensure more effective functioning of the Centre by, inter alia, providing sufficient human and financial resources within the regular budget of the United Nations.

230. Within their mandates, subsidiary bodies of the Economic and Social Council, such as the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on Population and Development, should give due regard to human settlements issues, as set out in the Habitat Agenda.

231. The Secretary-General is invited to ensure effective coordination of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and adequate consideration of human settlements needs in all activities of the United Nations system. The Administrative Committee on Coordination should review its procedures at the inter-agency level to ensure system-wide coordination and full participation of its entities in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. These entities should examine their programmes to determine how they can best contribute to the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The Secretary-General is requested to include the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in the mandates of the existing inter-agency task forces of the Administrative Committee on Coordination to facilitate integrated and coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

232. The Secretary-General is invited to continue to ensure effective functioning of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) so as to enable it to fully discharge its mandate.

233. The important role of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in monitoring those aspects of the Habitat Agenda that relate to States parties' compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be emphasized.

234. To strengthen their support for actions at the national level and to enhance their contributions to an integrated and coordinated follow-up by the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system should be urged to consider and identify the specific actions they will undertake to meet the priorities identified in the Habitat Agenda.

235. In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of United Nations organizations in providing support to the efforts for the provision of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development at the national level, and to enhance their capacity to achieve the objectives of Habitat II, there is a need to renew, reform and revitalize the various parts of the United Nations system, in particular its operational activities. All relevant specialized agencies and related organizations of the United Nations system are invited to strengthen and adjust their activities, programmes and medium-term strategies within their mandates, as appropriate, to take into account the follow-up to Habitat II, particularly at the field level. Relevant governing bodies should examine their policies, programmes, budgets and activities in this regard.

236. International financial institutions should contribute to the mobilization of resources for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. To this end, the relevant institutions are invited to take the following measures:

(a) The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the regional and subregional development banks and funds and all other international finance organizations should be invited to integrate adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development goals in their policies, programmes and operations, for example by giving higher priority to those goals, where applicable, in their lending programmes;

(b) The Bretton Woods institutions and other organizations and bodies of the United Nations system should be invited to work together with concerned countries, particularly developing countries, to improve policy dialogues and develop new initiatives to ensure that structural adjustment programmes promote adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development, giving particular attention to people living in poverty and other vulnerable groups;

(c) The United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions and other United Nations specialized agencies, should be invited to expand and improve their cooperation in the field of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development to ensure that efforts are complementary and, where possible, should combine resources in joint initiatives for adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development built around the objectives of Habitat II.

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