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Habitat II Conference                      [ Back to Habitat II ]

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IV Global Plan of Action

D. Capacity-building and institutional development

5. Metropolitan planning and management

185. Although the managers of human settlements face many common challenges, those responsible for the management and development of metropolitan areas and mega-cities face unique problems caused by the size and complexity of their tasks and responsibilities. Among the characteristics of metropolitan areas that require special skills are increasing global competitiveness; their ethnically and culturally diverse populations; large concentrations of urban poverty; extensive infrastructure networks and transport and communications systems; their strategic role in national, regional and international production and consumption patterns; economic development, trade and finance; and their potential for severe environmental degradation. Large metropolitan areas and mega-cities also represent the largest potential risks of human, material and production-capacity loss in the case of natural and human-made disasters. In some countries, the lack of a metropolitan-wide authority or effective metropolitan-wide cooperation creates difficulties in urban management.


186. To address the special needs of metropolitan areas and the needs of all people living in those areas, Governments at the appropriate level, including local authorities, should:

(a) Promote metropolitan-wide and/or regional planning, development and management strategies that address all aspects of urban activities in an integrated manner and that are based on agreed outcomes for the metropolitan area;

(b) Incorporate a gender perspective in policy, planning and management strategies;

(c) Adopt and apply metropolitan management guidelines in the areas of land, environment and infrastructural management, as well as finance and administration;

(d) Monitor and analyse the effectiveness and efficiency of metropolitan structures and administrative systems and incorporate the results in policies for dealing with macroeconomic, social and environmental issues;

(e) Create a legislative framework and adopt organizational structures that ensure coordinated, efficient and equitable service delivery, resource mobilization and sustainable development throughout metropolitan areas;

(f) Strengthen, as appropriate, the capacity and mandates of metropolitan authorities to deal effectively with, or respond to, issues of regional and national importance, such as land and property rights of women, land management, energy and water resources management, environmental management, transport and communications, trade and finance, adequate social services and infrastructure and access to them, and social integration;

(g) Develop or, where necessary, create a core of professional staff that includes women, trained in the areas of urban planning, environmental management, engineering, transportation, communications, social services, development of primary infrastructure, and emergency planning, and with the skills to work together to address major planning issues in an integrated way;

(h) Facilitate and promote policy dialogue, both nationally and internationally, and the exchange of experience, expertise, know-how and technology among metropolitan authorities in such areas as transport and communications, water management and waste-water treatment, waste management, energy conservation, environmental management, and social welfare that recognizes women and marginalized groups;

(i) Look for value-driven solutions to urban problems that extend out of ethnically and culturally diverse populations, rather than relying on new technologies alone.

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