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Habitat II Conference                      [ Back to Habitat II ]

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III. Commitments

B. Sustainable human settlements

42. We commit ourselves to the goal of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world by developing societies that will make efficient use of resources within the carrying capacity of ecosystems and take into account the precautionary principle approach, and by providing all people, in particular those belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, with equal opportunities for a healthy, safe and productive life in harmony with nature and their cultural heritage and spiritual and cultural values, and which ensures economic and social development and environmental protection, thereby contributing to the achievement of national sustainable development goals.

43. We further commit ourselves to the objectives of:

(a) Promoting, as appropriate, socially integrated and accessible human settlements, including appropriate facilities for health and education, combating segregation and discriminatory and other exclusionary policies and practices, and recognizing and respecting the rights of all, especially of women, children, persons with disabilities, people living in poverty and those belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;

(b) Creating an enabling international and domestic environment for economic development, social development and environmental protection, as interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development, that will attract investments, generate employment, contribute to the eradication of poverty and provide revenues for sustainable human settlements development;

(c) Integrating urban planning and management in relation to housing, transport, employment opportunities, environmental conditions and community facilities;

(d) Providing adequate and integrated environmental infrastructure facilities in all settlements as soon as possible with a view to improving health by ensuring access for all people to sufficient, continuous and safe freshwater supplies, sanitation, drainage and waste disposal services, with a special emphasis on providing facilities to segments of the population living in poverty;

(e) Promoting integrated water use planning with a view to identifying effective and cost-efficient alternatives for mobilizing a sustainable supply of water for communities and other uses;

(f) Implementing the social and development goals already agreed to by the international community in the areas of basic education, primary health care and gender equality;

(g) Acknowledging, harnessing and enhancing the efforts and potential of productive informal and private sectors, where appropriate, in creating sustainable livelihoods and jobs and increasing incomes, while providing housing and services for people living in poverty;

(h) Promoting, where appropriate, the upgrading of informal settlements and urban slums as an expedient measure and pragmatic solution to the urban shelter deficit;

(i) Promoting the development of more balanced and sustainable human settlements by encouraging productive investments, job creation and social infrastructure development in small and medium-sized cities, towns and villages;

(j) Promoting changes in unsustainable production and consumption patterns, particularly in industrialized countries, population policies and settlement structures that are more sustainable, reduce environmental stress, promote the efficient and rational use of natural resources - including water, air, biodiversity, forests, energy sources and land - and meet basic needs, thereby providing a healthy living and working environment for all and reducing the ecological footprint of human settlements;

(k) Promoting, where appropriate, the creation of a geographically balanced settlement structure;

(l) Giving priority attention to human settlements programmes and policies to reduce urban pollution resulting especially from inadequate water supply, sanitation and drainage, poor industrial and domestic waste management, including solid waste management, and air pollution;

(m) Encouraging dialogue among public, private and non-governmental interested parties to develop an expanded concept of the "balance-sheet", which recognizes that the economic, environmental, social and civic consequences for directly and indirectly affected parties, including future generations, should be taken into account in making decisions on the allocation of resources;

(n) Improving access to work, goods, services and amenities, inter alia, by promoting effective and environmentally sound, accessible, quieter and more energy-efficient transportation systems and by promoting spatial development patterns and communications policies that reduce transport demand, promoting measures, as appropriate, so that the polluter bears the cost of pollution, taking into account special needs and requirements of developing countries;

(o) Promoting more energy-efficient technology and alternative/renewable energy for human settlements, and reducing the negative impacts of energy production and use on human health and on the environment;

(p) Promoting optimal use of productive land in urban and rural areas and protecting fragile ecosystems and environmentally vulnerable areas from the negative impacts of human settlements, inter alia, through developing and supporting the implementation of improved land management practices that deal comprehensively with potentially competing land requirements for agriculture, industry, transport, urban development, green space, protected areas and other vital needs;

(q) Addressing population issues affecting human settlements and fully integrating demographic concerns into human settlements policies;

(r) Protecting and maintaining the historical, cultural and natural heritage, including traditional shelter and settlement patterns, as appropriate, of indigenous and other people, as well as landscapes and urban flora and fauna in open and green spaces;

(s) Protecting holy places and places of cultural and historic significance;

(t) Promoting the redevelopment and reuse of already serviced but poorly utilized commercial and residential land in urban centres in order to revitalize them and reduce development pressures on productive agricultural lands on the periphery;

(u) Promoting education about, and training on, environmentally sound technologies, materials and products;

(v) Promoting equal access and full participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of human settlements and providing adequate policies and legal protection against discrimination on grounds of disabilities;

(w) Developing and evaluating policies and programmes to reduce the undesired adverse effects and improve the positive impact of structural adjustment and economic transition on sustainable human settlements development, especially on those belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, and women, inter alia, through reviewing the impact of structural adjustment on social development by means of gender-sensitive social impact assessments and other relevant methods;

(x) Formulating and implementing programmes that contribute to maintaining and strengthening the vitality of rural areas;

(y) Ensuring that the importance of coastal areas is recognized in the national development effort and that all efforts are made to ensure their sustainable use;

(z) Preventing man-made disasters, including major technological disasters, by ensuring adequate regulatory and other measures to avoid their occurrence, and reducing the impacts of natural disasters and other emergencies on human settlements, inter alia, through appropriate planning mechanisms and resources for rapid, people-centred responses that promote a smooth transition from relief, through rehabilitation, to reconstruction and development, taking into account cultural and sustainable dimensions; and rebuilding disaster-affected settlements in a manner that reduces future disaster-related risks and makes the rebuilt settlements accessible to all;

(aa) Taking appropriate action to manage the use of heavy metals, particularly lead, safely and effectively and, where possible, eliminating uncontrolled exposure in order to protect human health and the environment;

(bb) Eliminating as soon as possible the use of lead in gasoline;

(cc) Developing housing that can serve as a functional workplace for women and men.

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