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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

2. An enabling international context

200. The provision of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development are increasingly influenced by the global economy. The process of urbanization is linked to economic development, social development and environmental protection, which are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development. In this context, it is imperative to enable all countries, especially developing countries, to improve living and working conditions in human settlements. This calls for an enabling international environment and for integrated approaches at the national and international levels that take account of the efforts of countries to implement programmes of economic reform or economic transition. Furthermore, technological developments are leading to major changes in the structure of employment. It should be recognized that in social and economic terms housing is a productive sector. Achievement of the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development at the global level would be facilitated by, inter alia, positive actions on the issues of finance, external debt, international trade and transfer of technology.

201. The international community should support Governments in their efforts to cope with the impact of these changes on human settlements within a framework of enabling strategies. The international community should promote:

(a) The establishment of an open, equitable, cooperative and mutually beneficial international economic environment;

(b) The coordination of macroeconomic policies at all levels to achieve an international financial system that is conducive to economic development, social development and environmental protection, as components of sustainable development;

(c) An international financial system that is more conducive to stable and sustainable human settlements development through, inter alia, a higher degree of stability in financial markets, a reduction of the risk of financial crises, and lower real interest rates;

(d) An environment in all countries that attracts foreign direct investment and encourages savings and domestic investment;

(e) Enterprise development, productive investment and expanded access to open and dynamic markets in the context of an open, equitable, secure, non-discriminatory, predictable, transparent and multilateral rule-based international trading system and access to appropriate technologies and know-how for all people, especially those living in poverty and the disadvantaged, as well as for the least developed countries;

(f) Capacity-building in all developing countries, particularly African countries and the least developed countries, and in countries with economies in transition;

(g) The strengthening and improvement of technical and financial assistance to developing countries to promote sustainable development and to facilitate their full and effective participation in the world economy.

202. With specific reference to sustainable human settlements development and the provision of shelter, the international community should:

(a) Ensure that the benefits of global economic growth improve people's quality of life in all countries, whether they live in urban or rural areas;

(b) Mobilize national and international financial resources from all sources for shelter provision and sustainable human settlements development;

(c) Facilitate increased access by all levels of government and the private sector in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition to international financial resources so as to enable them to attract investment in shelter and infrastructure for sustainable human settlements development;

(d) In a manner consistent with national legislation, strive to promote the ability of local authorities, the private sector and relevant organizations to link with global capital markets and to have access to financial markets, in accordance with prudent safeguards in those markets as well as national monetary policies, in order to finance shelter and infrastructure programmes, mechanisms and instruments to facilitate risk-sharing and credit enhancement;

(e) Encourage the adoption of policies for the creation and development of the private sector and promote strategies for substantial and well-directed public and private investment in the construction and development of shelter, infrastructure, health, education and other basic services through, inter alia, the provision of appropriate technical and financial assistance; in addition, encourage Governments to promote strategies to ensure that the private sector, including transnational corporations, complies with national laws and codes, social security regulations, applicable international agreements, instruments and conventions, including those related to the environment, and other relevant laws, and to adopt policies and establish mechanisms to grant contracts on a non-discriminatory basis; recruit women for leadership, decision-making and management and provide training programmes, all on an equal basis with men; and observe national labour, environment, consumer, health and safety laws, particularly those that affect women and children;

(f) Encourage international cooperation in order to address relevant impacts of international migration through, inter alia, technical assistance, management know-how and exchange of information;

(g) In consultation with Governments, continue to provide support to displaced persons, including refugees, other displaced persons in need of international protection and internally displaced persons, in order to meet their needs, bearing in mind the recommendations emanating from regional meetings on international migration, internally displaced persons and returning refugees, and assist in assuring them a just, durable solution in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions and international law, noting, with due regard to the principle of voluntary repatriation, that sustainable human settlements should preferably be established for them in their land of origin;

(h) Facilitate access to international financial resources for all developing countries, particularly those in Africa and the least developed countries, so that they may benefit from the growing international financial markets in order to promote investments in shelter, including social housing, and infrastructure for sustainable human settlements;

(i) Facilitate access to growing international financial markets for countries with economies in transition in order to promote investments and to support the implementation of housing reforms as part of the realization of the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in those countries.

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