United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development

Background Paper


                          IMPLEMENTING AGENDA 21

                             Prepared for the
                   Commission on Sustainable Development
        the United Nations Centre for Human  Settlements (Habitat)
                      Task Manager, Human Settlements
                                March 1994

The Task Manager's report on Human Settlements was prepared for
the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development by the
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat).  The
report incorporates contributions from a wide range of United
Nations agencies and organizations including: UNDP, UNEP, UNICEF,
UNFPA, UNHCR, DPCSD, the Regional Commissions, FAO, ILO, ITU,
UNESCO, UNIDO, WHO, WMO, the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund.

For more information contact:

Office of Programme Coordination
UNCHS (Habitat)
P.O. Box 30030
Nairobi, Kenya

Fax: (254-2) 624264

                             TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary 


          A.   Human settlements and sustainable development
          B.   Development-environmental relationships
               in human settlements
          C.   Cross-cutting issues and appropriate
               management of human settlements
          D.   Participation in decision-making
               and implementation
          E.   Partnership and the United Nations
               role as catalyst
          F.   Main thrust of Chapter 7 of Agenda 21


          A.   The basis for a review of current
               United Nations system activities
          B.   Assessment of progress
          C.   Assessment of the role of major groups
          D.   Assessment of the scientific and
               technological means of implementation
          E.   Financial implications and the
               strategic role of joint programming


          A.   Emerging priority issues
          B.   Promoting effective management
          C.   Applying more efficient delivery




                               List of boxes

1.   Inter-agency programmes supporting urban environmental
planning and management

2.   Developing local environmental agendas in Santaf de Bogota,

3.   International networks supporting urban environmental
planning and management

4.   Financing inter-agency programmes in human settlements: an
estimate of financial requirements

5.   Financing transport investment in Indonesia

6.   "Win-win" solutions

7.   New approaches to urban management in Dar-es-Salaam

8.   Inter-governmental transfers

9.   Public private partnerships for sustainable development

                             EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Major Issues

     The poorer you are, the greater the threat.  In human
settlements, especially in large cities, the poor, without a
doubt, are disproportionately threatened by environmental hazards
and health risks posed by air and ground pollution, inadequate
housing, poor sanitation, polluted water and lack of other basic
services.  Many of these already deprived people also live in the
most ecologically vulnerable areas and on marginal lands
characterized by high susceptibility to environmental degradation
- in urban slums and squatter settlements, on steep slopes and in
flood plains.  One of the greatest threats to sustainable human
and economic development comes from the downward, mutually
reinforcing, spiral of poverty and environmental degradation
which is endangering current and future generations in the
developing countries.

     From 1990 to 2030, global population will grow by 3.7
billion people.  Ninety per cent of this increase will take place
in the developing countries.  Ninety per cent will be urban,
virtually all of it will accrue to human settlements in the
developing world.  By 2030, urban populations there will be twice
the size of rural populations. Primarily due to a decaying urban
environment, at least 600 million people in human settlements
already live in "health and life" threatening situations.  Upto
one-third or more of urban populations live in substandard
housing.  At least 250 million urban residents have no easy
access to safe piped water; 400 million lack sanitation. Without
a doubt, rapid urban population growth is exacerbating the often
mutually reinforcing effects of poverty and environmental damage
in human settlements.

     Current trends in the liberalization of the global as well
as national economies are accelerating urbanization and the
economic importance of cities.  Human settlements have much to
gain from and contribute to ongoing processes of decentralization
and democratization, but are also potential sources of upheaval
if their resources are left to stagnate and decline.

     Clearly the evidence is compelling.  As population growth
will be virtually synonymous with urban growth in the coming
decades, the focus of efforts at sustainable human settlements
development must be on urban areas as that is where most of the
world's population will live and work, where most economic
activity will take place - and where most pollution will be
generated and most natural resources consumed - with impacts,
environmental and otherwise, which will be felt way beyond the
city limits.

     By implication, this also means that the focus of many, if
not most, of the various sectoral programmes of Agenda 21 will be
on human settlements, and especially on cities and towns.  Here
is where they have to be coordinated, managed and implemented. 
It is at this level where policy initiatives become an
operational reality.  It is also at this level where policies, as
they directly affect people and interests, become an eminently
political affair: conflicts have to be resolved and consensus
found among competing interests and parties.

     Breaking the cycle of poverty and environmental decline
requires rapid economic growth, without which developing
countries will not have the resources necessary to increase
employment opportunities and to provide the basic services and
environmental infrastructure needed to reduce levels of poverty. 
Economic growth depends, among other factors, on the closing of
the ever-widening infrastructure gaps, especially in urban areas
where already more than one-half, on average of GNP is generated
and where in less than two generations the majority of the
developing world's population will live and be looking for work. 
Moreover, future economic growth will have to be generated in
such a way so as to not result in further environmental decline
and a rapid drawing-down of non-renewable resources.

     The working paper illustrates throughout how human
settlements policies and management are crucial for the
achievement of Agenda 21 goals.  Achieving the overall
macro-economic, social and environmental goals of Agenda 21
requires development management at the local level which is not
only efficient, transparent and accountable, but also
inter-sectoral: capable of balancing and achieving the primary
goals of increased productivity, poverty reduction and
environmental protection.  The paper outlines the basic elements
required to help local authorities to become less controllers and
more enablers and describes the type of multi-sector and
multi-actor strategies which can mobilize and leverage local
financial, economic and human resources.

     In human settlements development, on average well over 95
per cent of investments come from the private sector and
households, and from national and local governments.  External
support agencies can only be effective if they play a catalytic
role by helping to improve policies and strengthen institutions. 
Influencing the actions of private economic forces so they are in
step, broadly speaking, with the goals of Agenda 21, may be the
single most significant challenge facing the United Nations and
will take the organization and its agencies into waters which are
still largely uncharted.  However, such a role is absolutely
necessary if sustainable development is to become the guiding
principle of international development and if Agenda 21 is to
meet its objectives.  In light of this, an initial attempt to
evaluate the contribution of the major groups has also been
included in the working paper.

Assessment of Progress Towards Sustainable Human Settlements

     The assessment of progress achieved since UNCED in
implementing Chapter 7 of Agenda 21 (Promoting Sustainable Human
Settlements Development), reveals that most UN agency activities
relevant to Chapter 7 are concentrated in three of its eight
programme areas: human settlements management, environmental
infrastructure, and capacity-building.  Whereas agencies
recognize the importance of the human settlements chapter, the
consequences of urbanization on Agenda 21 implementation are
still not fully appreciated.  Moreover, there does not appear to
be much new movement in two programme areas which are crucial for
achieving Chapter 7 objectives: land resource management and
urban transport.  The majority of agencies appear to be
continuing with their established work programme priorities. 
Some significant exceptions have been noted, but the most
important ongoing multi-agency initiatives which are facilitating
cross-sectoral approaches to settlements management have not
attracted adequate additional resources.  This is due to two
principle factors: the proliferation of new agency programmes
which are not designed from the outset as multi-agency
initiatives; and the (not unrelated) recent severe cutbacks in
multilateral aid flows.

     It is clear that if the UN is to serve as a catalyst for
action and for co- ordinating and monitoring Agenda 21
implementation (and given the need to most efficiently use
shrinking resources) the UN must first learn to better cooperate
and coordinate among itself.  However, the downturn in resource
flows to most UN system agencies may increase competition rather
than cooperation.  Given that likelihood, and its negative impact
on a concerted system-wide implementation of Agenda 21,
mechanisms should be established which provide incentives for
multi- agency programmes and joint programming.

Future Directions

     -  Priority Issues

     The assessment of progress so far achieved suggests a number
of priority issues which must be addressed to facilitate the
implementation of the human settlements chapter of Agenda 21. 
Several of the most significant of these are:

     Bridging the resource gaps and linking technical assistance
     with capital investment.  Developing countries are facing a
     financial crunch when it comes to the enormous investments
     required for urban infrastructure  and basic services. 
     Greater emphasis must be placed on the development of
     financial mechanisms and on domestic resource mobilization. 
     Many of the programme areas of Chapter 7 require large
     amounts of capital investment to reach their objectives. 
     Technical assistance, the main activity of the UN, often
     prepares the ground for capital investment by banks and
     private firms.  There is a need to broaden the range of
     actors for the implementation of Chapter 7, beginning with
     regional development banks.  This process should also be
     extended to the private sector and modalities established
     for it.

     Emerging Intersectoral Priorities:  Focus on the "brown
     agenda" and urban poverty.  Among the most critical problems
     in human settlements are the health impacts of urban
     pollution.  Collectively dubbed the "brown agenda", this set
     of issues is closely linked to the poverty-environment
     relationship.  Similarly, many of the problems of access by
     low-income groups to basic services, land, housing and
     health care are grounded in their poverty.  A focus on the
     "brown agenda" and urban poverty lends itself to a
     comprehensive and strategic multi-sector, and thus
     multi-actor, approach to sustainable development, through
     which many of the separate sectoral goals of Agenda 21 can
     be achieved in a more effective manner.

     Even and balanced approach to all programme areas of Chapter
     7, with more emphasis on two key areas: land resource
     management and urban transport.  Both have been relatively
     neglected and require urgent multi-agency responses,
     particularly given the rapidly escalating transport needs in 
     the face of population growth and the related physical
     expansion of urban centres with their large "footprint" and
     symbiotic relationship with agricultural production. 
     Failure to act in both programme areas will lead to serious
     negative consequences for the environment and sustainable
     urban development.

     Strengthening the economic, political and social
     institutions and organizations of civil society.  In the
     area of human settlements, this means institution building,
     especially at the municipal level, and enhancing the
     capacity of community groups and NGOs as intermediaries and
     organizers, as well as assisting the private sector in
     developing countries to expand its contribution to
     settlements development and management.

     Special measures for the least developed countries.  Given
     their limited resources and stage of development, and in
     light of their growing environmental problems, the least
     developed countries will require special funds similar to
     the GEF mechanism for Agenda 21 implementation.  Such funds
     must be part of a wider assistance programme which can
     foster accelerated economic growth.

     -  Improved Management Approach

     Given the importance of settlements management for the
implementation of Chapter 7 and other parts of Agenda 21, special
emphasis must be placed on management capacity building.  Such
improvement should focus on basic management and organizational
skills first, later to be complemented by technical skills; a
concentration on strategic interventions (such as land
management); and a focus on good governance, broad-based
participation, and curbing malfeasance and corruption in
municipal institutions.  The promotion of good management
practice should be accompanied by measures to strengthen the
powers and financial base of local authorities so they are free
to pursue local development opportunities.  Given the enormous
and growing capacity building requirements at the municipal
level, the best approach to training may be one which focuses on
building "capacity for capacity", meaning strengthening the
capacity of regional, national and local training institutions
for capacity-building in all aspects of human settlements
management and development.  Such an approach is ultimately more
sustainable than "one off" training courses.

     -  More Effecient Delivery Mechanisms

     Finally, the assessment of progress so far achieved in the
human settlements chapter of Agenda 21 clearly indicates that
innovative and efficient delivery mechanisms for external support
are crucial if progress towards the goals of Agenda 21 is to be
accelerated.  To move coherently in this direction, a number of
suggestions have been put forward in the Task Manager's Working
Paper.  The most important of these are:

     Consortium Approach to Key Issues.  One of the more
     efficient ways to implement the human settlements programmes
     of Agenda 21 may be through a focus on a limited number of
     strategic issues which can serve as an umbrella through
     which the objectives of programme areas of Chapter 7 (and
     related programmes in other Chapters) can be implemented in
     a cohesive and effective manner.  Examples of such
     "umbrellas" would be the "brown agenda" and urban poverty. 
     A consortium of all agencies which have a stake in the issue
     could then be formed for long-term support in implementation
     through joint programming and pooling of resources. 
     Ideally, it should be possible to identify a relatively
     limited number  of umbrella issues through which the vast
     majority of all Agenda 21 programmes could be linked and
     implemented.  This would make operationalizing Agenda 21
     easier and remove difficulties inherent in the sectoral
     structure of Agenda 21.

     Incentives for Inter-Agency Initiatives.  Inter-agency
     cooperation in the implementation of Agenda 21 must be
     driven by incentives, otherwise it will not take place to
     the extent required for the speedy implementation of Agenda
     21.  The Commission on Sustainable Development should
     consider incentives, particularly financial incentives, such
     as establishing funding mechanisms to reward multi- agency
     programmes which pursue Agenda 21 goals, so as to promote
     interagency collaboration in the implementation of Agenda 21

     Joint Programming and new Strategic Alliances.  The range of
     collaborative approaches should also be widened beyond the
     traditional external agency/national government
     arrangements. As stressed throughout the working paper,
     emphasis should be on developing and expanding joint
     programmes and activities, based on new alliances (for
     example, with the private sector and business community and
     with local authorities and local communities), in order to
     mobilize and channel the enormous potential which lies
     outside traditional international assistance mechanisms.


Human settlements and sustainable development

     The call for sustainable development in Agenda 21 is not
simply a call for environmental protection.  Instead, sustainable
development implies a new concept of economic growth - one that
provides fairness and opportunity for all the world's people, not
just the privileged few, without further destroying the world's
natural resources and without further compromising the carrying
capacity of the globe.  Sustainable development is a process by
which economic, social, environmental, fiscal, trade, energy,
agricultural, and industrial and technological policies are
designed and are mutually supportive in such a way as to bring
about development which is economically, socially and
environmentally sustainable.  This is the message of Agenda 21
and is reflected in its structure and logic. Current consumption
cannot be financed by incurring economic debts that others must
repay in the future; investments must be made in the health,
housing, basic services and environmental infrastructure of
today's population so as not to create a social debt for future
generations;  and natural resources must be used in ways that do
not create ecological debts by over-exploiting the carrying and
productive capacity of the earth.

     Yet it must also be pointed out that most future generations
will be born in the developing countries, and most will be born
or come to live in towns and cities.  Many if not most will be
poor, condemned to an existence of bare survival, if that, at the
bottom rung of society.  For these hundreds of millions of
desperate human beings, there is no hope for the future unless
economic growth is greatly accelerated in a way which provides
them with greater opportunity and mobility. Much, if not most, of
that growth will have to be generated in human settlements - in
the urban economy - of developing countries, and in cities and
towns whose environments are already under severe threat and
pressures as a consequence of rapid and unprecedented physical
and demographic expansion over the past decades.

     To understand sustainable development then as a challenge of
particular daunting dimensions for the developing countries
(where already 77 per cent of the world's population lives), is
to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship between environment and
development in those countries and is also to understand why
their prominent environmental concerns are not so much about the
quality of life (as they are in the industrialized countries) but
directly concerned with the preservation of life itself: polluted
water is a threat to life, eroded land a threat to livelihoods.

     The poorer you are, the greater is the threat.  In human
settlements, especially in large urban agglomerations and
megacities, the poor, without a doubt, are disproportionately
threatened by environmental hazards and health risks posed by air
and ground pollution, inadequate housing, poor sanitation,
polluted water and lack of other basic services.  Many of these
already deprived people also live in the most ecologically
vulnerable areas and on marginal lands characterized by high
susceptibility to environmental degradation - in urban slums and
squatter settlements, on steep slopes and in floodplains.  One of
the greatest threats to sustainable human and economic
development comes from the downward, mutually reinforcing, spiral
of poverty and environmental degradation which is endangering
current and future generations in the developing countries.

Development - environmental relationships in human settlements

     Demographic trends support the view of the growing
importance of human settlements.  During the period from 1990 to
2030, within the lifetime of most of those alive today (as the
average age of the world's population is only 24), global
population will grow by about 3.7 billion.  Ninety per cent of
this increase will take place in developing countries.1  Ninety
per cent of it will be urban, virtually all of it will accrue to
human settlements in Latin America, Africa and Asia and elsewhere
in the third world.  By 2030, urban populations will be twice the
size of rural populations.  The opposite is true today. After
having already tripled in the years from 1950 to 1990, between
1980 and 2030 the urban population of developing countries will
increase by 160 per cent overall, whereas rural populations will
only grow by 10 per cent over the same period.2

     Clearly the evidence is compelling.  As population growth
will be virtually synonymous with urban growth in the coming
decades, the focus of efforts at sustainable development must be
on urban areas as that is where most of the world's population
will live and work, where most economic activity will take place
- and where most pollution  will be generated and most natural
resources consumed - with impacts, environmental and otherwise,
which will be felt way beyond the city limits.

     By implication, this also means that the focus of many, if
not most, of the various sectoral programmes of Agenda 21 will be
focused on human settlements, and especially on cities and towns. 
Here is where they have to be coordinated, managed and
implemented. It is at the human settlements level where policy
initiatives become an operational reality. It is at this level
also where policy, as it directly affects people and interests,
becomes an eminently political affair:  conflicts will have to be
resolved and consensus found among competing interests and

     -  Environmental consequences of rapid urban growth

     The rapid urban expansion of the last decades, although it
has greatly increased the economic importance of human
settlements, has also increased the pressures on the urban
environment and on surrounding regions and their natural
resources.  It has created immense and growing problems of air
and water pollution, land degradation, traffic congestion and
noise pollution.  Thus, about 1.3 billion people, mostly in
developing countries, live in urban areas that do not meet World
Health Organization (WHO) standards for airborne dust and smoke,
while about 1 billion people live in cities that exceed WHO
standards for sulphur dioxide.3  Risks from hazardous waste, even
if local, are acute.  In some large cities, the daily outpouring
of industrial wastes into water bodies reaches millions of cubic
metres.  In some countries, as little as 2 per cent of sewage is
treated.  From 30 to 50 per cent of urban solid waste is left

     The implications of all the above for the globe's shrinking
supply of freshwater, the health of urban residents, and the
integrity of the globe's atmosphere are obvious.  And as the
physical and natural environment in and around cities
deteriorates, the most affected are the urban poor, whose
substandard living environment does not protect them from human
and other wastes and from pollution of all types.  This is why
for the poor, the most important environmental priorities are
access to clean water, sanitation and safe housing.

     -  Poverty, human settlements and environmental decline

     And the number of the urban poor are growing.  Recent
statistics give a global figure of 1.4 billion people living
below the poverty line, with the numbers increasing virtually
everywhere, most dramatically in the developing regions.  What is
particularly striking is the increase in urban poverty, as a
direct consequence of urban economic growth not being able to
keep up with urban demographic growth.  While the increase of the
world's rural poor is estimated at 11 per cent over the period
1970-1985, for example, the number of the urban poor increased by
73 per cent over the same period.  In perhaps a quarter of all
developing countries, the poor in urban areas now outnumber the
poor in rural areas.  Already in 1988, it was estimated that a
quarter of the urban population in developing countries lived in
absolute poverty.  Some 300 million had incomes inadequate to
fulfil even the most basic nutritional and housing requirements.5 
But those suffering from absolute poverty are not the only
underprivileged.  Primarily due to a decaying urban environment,
at least 600 million people in human settlements, according to
some estimates, live in "health and life" threatening situations. 
Up to one third (and sometimes more) of urban populations live in
substandard housing.  At lease 250 million urban residents,
according to WHO, have no easy access to safe piped water and at
least 400 million lack sanitation.6  The effects of all these
deficits on health are shocking.  Providing access to sanitation
and clean water would not eradicate all disease, but it would be
the single most effective means of alleviating human distress and
keeping such common causes of death as diarrhoea, cholera,
typhoid and paratyphoid in check.

     Certainly rapid population growth has also exacerbated the
often mutually reinforcing effects of poverty and environmental
damage in human settlements.  The poor are both the victims and
unwilling agents of environmental damage.  The absence of waste
disposal and sanitation, for example, is not just a health risk
to the poor, it is also a cause of ecological damage as human and
other wastes pollute groundwater and streams.

     -  Economic growth, human settlements and environment

     Breaking the cycle of poverty and environmental decline will
require - and for some this will appear paradoxical - further
economic growth.  Yet without rapid economic growth, developing
countries will not have the resources necessary to provide basic
services for the poor and for environmental infrastructure or to
abate and mitigate environmental damage and pollution.  Without
economic growth there will be no dramatic increase in employment
opportunities nor reductions in the level of poverty.  In
developing countries there are only limited possibilities for
financing basic services, environmental infrastructure, poverty-
alleviation programmes or environmental protection through
transfer taxes or other similar mechanisms.  On the other hand,
international assistance can only, at the most, provide a small
fraction of the resource requirements.  They will have to be
mobilized domestically and this is only possible in an expanding
economy.  But such new growth will have to be generated in
developing countries in such a way as not to result in further
environmental decline and a rapid drawing down of natural
resources.  And it will have to be generated in human settlements
- in cities and towns - where already more than one half, on
average, of GNP is generated and where in less than two
generations, the majority of the developing world's population
will live and be looking for work.7  There is also the fact to be
considered that the accelerated globalization of the world
economy and liberalization and market reforms tend to increase
the pace of urban growth.  Liberalization and market reform in
China and India (with one third of the world's total population
between them) has quickened urbanization trends and led to rapid
growth in the urban economy, exceeding that of the agricultural

     Clearly, the environmental problems which countries face
vary with their stage of development, the structure of their
economies and their environmental policies.  Some problems are
clearly associated with the lack of economic development:
inadequate sanitation and clean water, indoor air pollution from
bio-mass burning, and many types of land degradation have poverty
as their root cause.  The challenge here is to accelerate
equitable access to land tenure and income growth and to promote
access to resources and technologies.  But many other
environmental problems are, as already indicated, the product of,
and indeed exacerbated by the growth of economic activity. 
Industrial and energy-related pollution (local, regional and
global), overuse of water and overconsumption are the result of
economic expansion that fails to take account of the value of the
environment.  In this case, the challenge is to build the
recognition of environmental constraints and resource scarcity
into cost analysis and decision-making both at the government and
business level, to promote environmentally sustainable
technologies which are also clearly "win-win" options, and to
provide for a wide range of other incentives through fiscal
measures and regulatory frameworks.

     Understanding the environment/development relationships in
sustainable development and in Agenda 21 must also inevitably
lead, for all the reasons already cited, to an appreciation of
the centrality of human settlements in these relationships. 
Human settlements development fundamentally affects (and will
certainly affect even more in future) the environment, and the
environment affects human settlements development.  Human
settlements policies and management, as will be illustrated
throughout this working paper, are crucial for the achievement of
Agenda 21 goals - as indeed achievement of all Agenda 21 goals is
vital for sustainable human settlements development.

Cross-cutting issues and appropriate management of human

     It is at the human settlements level - at the city level -
where the sectoral programme areas of Agenda 21 have to come
together, where policies will have to be put into practice. Given
the primacy of human settlements in future development efforts
due to their growing demographic and economic weight, it is in
human settlements where the overall macro- economic, social and
environmental goals of Agenda 21, represented by its
cross-related chapters, will have to be realized.  This will
require a style of development management at the local level
which is not only efficient, transparent and accountable, but
also inter-sectoral, capable of balancing and achieving the prime
goals of increased productivity, poverty reduction and
environmental protection.

     But then human settlements issues, policies and activities 
have always been, by their very nature, cross-sectoral,
inter-institutional, involving a multitude of actors.  Over the
past 20 years, a substantial body of knowledge has been developed
on approaches and good practice in human settlements management. 
It is now time to act on this knowledge, especially in light of
the fact that in virtually all developing countries, human
settlements management - in urban centres of all sizes - is
deficient and not up to the tasks at hand, to say nothing of the
challenges of the future.  Human settlements are almost
everywhere suffering one form of fiscal crisis or another which
can be attributed, in many cases, not just to the overall state
of the national economy and external factors, but also to the
fact that, as a rule, cities in developing countries contribute
more to the national exchequer than they receive in return. 
Further institutional constraints to effective management are
artificial public and private monopolies and inappropriate or
excessively rigid regulations.

     A change of approach will be required in human settlements
management if Agenda 21 is to be successfully implemented against
a backdrop of rising levels of urbanization. The basic elements
of such a new approach to urban management have long been
identified. They are, inter alia, decentralization of powers and
responsibilities to local levels of government; administrative
and civil service reforms aimed at improving the efficiency of
local government; fiscal and tax reform to enhance the financial
base of municipalities; regulatory reform so as to remove
obstacles to security of land tenure and private initiative;
improvement of administrative capacity at the local level; and
the establishment of performance indicators.  It is now time to
put these into wide practice as the first stage towards the kind
of innovative management which will lead to urban authorities
being less controllers and more enablers.  Only such a change in
basic outlook will allow multi-sector and multi-actor local
initiatives, such as local "agenda 21s", to succeed.  It will
also be required to make sustainable development a reality.   One
of the principal goals of this working paper is to assess if such
a shift towards more effective and integrative urban management
is indeed taking place in order to facilitate the implementation
of all Agenda 21 goals.

Participation in decision-making and implementation

     Efficiency, transparency and accountability at the city
level will not be assured unless institutions are subject to
public scrutiny and review.  It will also not be assured without
greater public participation in decision-making.  In reality,
human settlements development is the result of a multitude of
decisions taken not only by public institutions but also by
individuals, families, interest groups, businesses, industry, to
name just a few.  To be effective and to make optimum use of
resources, human settlements management, in the pursuit of the
objectives of Agenda 21 and sustainable development, must involve
this multitude of actors in a process of participatory
decision-making and concerted action.  Such an approach is of
particular importance if progress is to be made in improving the
living and working environment of the poor.  Here the process of
urban management and the task of implementing Agenda 21 at the
local level becomes a decidedly political process - not a
technocratic exercise.  Governments will, in future, be under
increasing political pressure from the poor and dispossessed for
security of tenure, for economic and employment opportunities and
for basic services and amenities to improve their immediate
living environment.  These pressures will be most intense and
direct at the local municipal level. As a consequence, priority
will have to be given to those aspects and programme areas of
Agenda 21 which can both improve environmental conditions, on the
one hand and reduce poverty and improve the living environment of
people in the short term on the other.  This means, as previously
indicated, an emphasis on sanitation, water disposal, clean water
and safe housing.

     The focus on poverty reduction in the pursuit  of
sustainable development at the local level must also be informed
by the recognition among decision-makers that poverty is also
among the major causes, and among the major results, of the
disintegration of family structures, the rise of single-parent
households (most of them headed by women), the proliferation of
street children, the rise in the use of child labour, an increase
in urban and domestic violence, ethnic  and racial tensions, and
more widespread use of drugs.  Another effect of the despair
arising from widespread poverty is a global decline in social and
personal security.  All of this ultimately, and negatively,
effects the governability and management of human settlements and
thus threatens the implementation of Agenda 21 and the goal of
sustainable development.

     To involve the poor, and their organizations - NGOs,
community and womens groups, political associations - effectively
(along with the private business, which must play a central role
in local industrial and commercial development) means not just
sharing responsibility, but sharing power as well over such
matters as land-use decisions, budget allocations and service
delivery priorities, thereby helping cities to use resources
efficiently.  Self-help programmes and private initiative will
become increasingly important in providing urban services and
urban infrastructure during the next decades, especially in light
of escalating demand and limited public resources.  Government
agencies have sometimes served as catalysts in organizing the
community to provide inputs and contributions to development.
These functions have been vital in the past in initiating and
sustaining community participation.  They will be absolutely
essential in future to achieve sustainable development, given the
changing political climate in developing countries.

Partnership and the United Nations role as catalyst

     In the area of human settlements development, it has long
been realized that limited resources vis--vis the scale and
complexity of urbanization problems require donors to assume a
catalytic role by helping to improve policies and strengthen
institutions in the sector.  This should also be an approach that
the international community could well consider in implementing
the human settlements chapter, as well as other chapters, of
Agenda 21. In human settlements development, multilateral
agencies finance only a very small share of total investments. 
On average, well over 95 per cent comes from the private sector
and households themselves, as well as from national and local
governments.8  United Nations agencies can have a significant
impact only by influencing the decisions of the same private
sector, households and various levels of government, by acting as
a catalyst for action, and in helping national and local levels
of government to play their enabling role more effectively.  All
of this puts a premium on initiatives which focus on policy
advice, management capacity and institution-building and on the
introduction of technologies which are both affordable and
environmentally sustainable.  Since the direct impact of external
multilateral support is necessarily limited, the focus must be on
strategies which mobilize and "leverage" local financial,
economic and human resources.  Past experience in assistance for
human settlements development has shown that such targeted
strategic assistance can mobilize substantial local follow-up

     What all of this demonstrates is that the business of
development is an eminently private affair.  Even if the
financial and technical support provided by United Nations bodies
and agencies is complemented by those of bilateral national
assistance agencies and institutions, NGOs and voluntary
associations in the industrialized countries, it pales to
relative insignificance when compared with the capital and
technology flows from North to South (and increasingly from South
to South) as a consequence of private business investment and
lending by private financial institutions.  This tendency will
increase, rather than abate, given the globalization of the world
economy and financial markets.  All of this private investment
impacts on human settlements and on environmental sustainability,
and will, no doubt, influence the success or failure of Agenda 21
and the sustainable development paradigm.  Coordinating with and
influencing the actions of private economic forces which are
transforming the developing countries so they are in step,
broadly speaking, with the goals of Agenda 21 may be the single
most significant challenge facing the United Nations in the
decades to come and this will take the Organization and its
agencies into waters which are yet largely uncharted.  But such a
role may become absolutely necessary if sustainable development
is to become the guiding principle of international development
and Agenda 21 is to have the impact its drafters intended.

Main thrust of Chapter 7 of Agenda 21

     Chapter 7's emphasis on human settlements planning,
management and capacity- building, on the provision of
environmental infrastructure, basic services and housing, on
land-use planning and management, on more efficient use of energy
and energy-efficient transport systems, and on sustainable
construction activities reflects an appreciation of the
centrality of all these programmes to the achievement of the
overall goals of Agenda 21. Throughout, the Chapter's programmes
advocate an enabling approach as well as cooperation with a wide
range of public, private and community partners in the pursuit of
sustainable development, for no model of development is
ultimately sustainable unless it has the support of people.  The
accent is on improved governance, broad-based participation and
on an inter- sectoral and integrated approach to human
settlements management and development.  The focus is on human
development, based on an appreciation of the fact that the
ultimate goal of environmental protection and enhancement is the
sustainability of human life on this planet.


     A summary review of current United Nations system activities
focused on implementing Agenda 21 in the area of human
settlements is annexed to this paper.  This review is the outcome
of a system-wide consultative process among the relevant
organizations of the United Nations, set in motion by the
Commission on Sustainable Development following its first session
in May 1993.  In the course of this consultation, valuable
contributions were received by the Task Manager from a wide range
of United Nations agencies and bodies including UNDP, UNEP,
UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, DPCSD, the Regional Commissions, FAO, ILO,
ITU, UNESCO, UNIDO, WHO, WMO, The World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund.  Without this constructive response,
the preparation of this Report would not have been possible, and
the Task Manager would like to thank all these agencies and
organizations for their cooperation.

     Although intensified information exchange and inter-agency
consultation began in earnest after the designation of task
managers at the second meeting of the Inter-agency Committee on
Sustainable Development in September 1993, it is obvious that
even the first stage of the review process is as yet far from
complete.  While the first outlines of an overall picture of
system-wide efforts is just emerging, many gaps still remain to
complete the mosaic.  The most important of these gaps pertain to
the fact that very little quantitative information has so far
been made available, e.g., how much money is being spent in each
programme area, how well priority cities and their most critical
problems are being covered, what is the evidence of positive
impacts.  Accordingly, although additional information was still
coming in at the time of writing this paper, one important gap
which needs to be remedied as a basis for future analysis
pertains to capital investment flows.  Although the World Bank
provided some useful information in this regard, information was
not received from any of the regional development banks, so the
picture remains both incomplete and lacking a perspective of the
volume of capital investments in relation to technical
cooperation activities.  Moreover, without more complete
information on the impact of Agenda 21 on capital investments
related to sustainable human settlements development, the
analysis which follows remains somewhat subjective.

The basis for a review of current United Nations system

     It has been less than two years since the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development and the launching of
Agenda 21 on the part of the international community as a
comprehensive action plan to achieve sustainable development. 
Given the inevitable time lapse between the declaration of
principles and commitments and their transformation into
policies, financial commitments and programmes at the
international, national and local levels, it would be unrealistic
to expect a wide range of operational activities which are
already achieving measured progress towards achieving Agenda 21
goals.  What can be assessed, however, is if the momentum of
UNCED is being maintained and progress is being made in the
strengthening and/or start-up of strategic initiatives which: (a)
have the potential for maximizing effective application of the
United Nations system's resources and which lend themselves to
inter-agency cooperation; (b) are enlisting the support of and
cooperation with the private business and voluntary sectors; and
(c)  are serving as the catalyst for action at the national and
local levels around which major groups (as defined in Agenda 21)
can coalesce so that measurable progress can be achieved on the

     This is based on the recognition that Agenda 21 goals cannot
be realized through sometimes unrelated, often uncoordinated,
many times duplicating agency initiatives, however laudable.  Nor
can it be achieved without other partners at the international
level and the full cooperation and partnership of all the major
groups at the national and local levels: local authorities, the
private business sector, and community and women groups,
supported by NGOs.  Given the limited resources of the United
Nations system - human, financial and organizational - when
compared to the tasks at hand in the implementation of Agenda 21
- the United Nations' role will best be served by acting as a
catalyst, by working together to bring the stakeholders together,
facilitating policy dialogue, disseminating new knowledge and by
setting in motion actions at the international, national and
local levels. For this reason, the activities of the United
Nations system cannot be analysed in isolation from those of
major groups and other actors; their ultimate effectiveness, to a
great extent, depends on these groups and what they and national
governments do to implement Agenda 21.  This underscores the
inclusive nature of Agenda 21; this was emphasized at Rio and
this message continues to be valid today.  This partnership
approach and "enabling role" for the agencies and bodies of the
United Nations is especially pertinent in the area of human
settlements development, given the complexity of the issues, the
diversity of the actors, and the need for stake-holder
participation and policies of inclusion.

     Any undertaking of this type is by its very nature a process
of "learning by doing", and it should not come as any surprise
that, as a consequence of moving forward towards Agenda 21 goals,
the international community discovers deficiencies in knowledge
which must be addressed through research, as well as new
obstacles to sustainable development which must be removed
through new policies and changes in work-programme priorities.
Implementation, is after all, the final test of any strategy, and
the same holds true for Agenda 21.  Without a doubt,
implementation will, over time, require adjustments.  New areas
of emphasis, new programme priorities and changes in management
approaches, as well as in delivery mechanisms - as circumstance
change and more experience and knowledge is gained - should be a
positive consequence of the implementation process.  To inform
this process of adjustment and modification, both strategic and
tactical, is the very purpose of this reporting exercise.

Assessment of progress

     Most United Nations agency activities relevant to Chapter 7
are concentrated in three programme areas: human settlements
management, environmental infrastructure, and capacity-building,
with a clear link between the first and the last. Whereas most
agencies recognize, to a greater or less extent, the importance
of the human settlements chapter (or parts thereof) to achieving
the goal of sustainable development, the consequences of
urbanization on Agenda 21 implementation has still not been fully
appreciated.  Moreover, there appears to be not much new movement
in the programme areas of urban transport and land-resource
management, despite the fact that they are clearly crucial to
sustainable human settlements development. Likewise, although
there is general agreement that shelter is an important issue
which must be addressed, this has not been followed by
accelerating the implementation of the Global Strategy for
Shelter to the Year 2000.

     The majority of agencies appear to be continuing with their
established work- programme priorities with no significant shift
yet taking place in the direction of core tasks as defined by the
programme areas of Chapter 7.  There are, however, some important
exceptions including, for example: the Secretary-General's
decision at the beginning of 1993, to foster a closer working
relationship and joint programming between UNEP and UNCHS
(Habitat), the two agencies in Nairobi which are responsible for
the natural environment and the built environment respectively;
and the creation in 1993 of a Vice Presidency for Environmentally
Sustainable Development in the World Bank, encompassing the
central departments for the environment, infrastructure,
transportation, water and sanitation, urban development and
agriculture.  These two initiatives are already facilitating the
type of cross- sectoral approaches to settlements management
which, as is described elsewhere in this paper, will be required
to implement Agenda 21 successfully.  UNDP's Capacity 21
initiative also has the potential of making an important
contribution to the implementation of the human settlements
programme of Agenda 21, providing it can be successfully
transformed into an inter-agency partnership.

     However, these new initiatives must be placed in the context
of total agency expenditures and programmes to ascertain the new
human and financial resources which are actually being mobilized. 
The same must be asked of on-going inter-agency programmes: are
they being given the priority they deserve, and are budget
allocations increasing as part of Agenda 21 implementation?  So
far the answer is less than conclusive, although there have been
significant recent shifts in the style of work of some agencies
towards increased demand orientation, consensus building and
capacity building.  Moreover in terms of the United Nations
system's operational activities, the proliferation of new agency
programmes which are not designed from the outset as multi-agency
initiatives, combined with recent severe cutbacks in multilateral
aid flows in general, and in particular, in UNDP's financing for
operational activities (by 33 per cent) do not augur well for the

     It is clear, that if the agencies in the United Nations
system are to serve in a catalytic capacity for action and for
coordinating and monitoring Agenda 21 implementation globally and
by all sets of actors, they must first learn to better coordinate
and cooperate among themselves.  Many agencies, in reporting to
the task manager, have pointed out that "the experience of the
past in respect of cooperation within the system has not been
very positive as all concerned parties are well aware of". 
Moreover, in the context of shrinking multilateral resources,
there  is a likelihood that competition, rather than cooperation,
among agencies may increase in the future.  In this context it
seems imperative that joint programming should become more the
order of the day.  Accordingly, consideration should be given to
establishing funding mechanisms to reward multi-agency programmes
which pursue Agenda 21 goals in cooperation with the "major
groups".  Examples of two such programmes which were cited and
recommended for future strengthening in Chapter 7 of Agenda 21
are described in box 1.

Assessment of the role of major groups

     -  NGOs

     There has been no major redirection of efforts and
activities of NGOs working in the area of human settlements since
Rio, but rather a continuation and strengthening of trends,
experiences and experiments that were evident prior to 1992.  The
results of the Earth Summit (and the event itself) are
illustrative of the strength of such trends.  Three of these
trends are worth noting:  first, greater dialogue and cooperation
between NGOs and government institutions, including national and
local governments and other State organizations; secondly, NGOs'
increased knowledge and sophisticated use of the media, market
mechanisms and the private sector; and thirdly, greater awareness
of the links between environment and development objectives,
leading to liaison between local environment and development NGOs
and environment components within community development projects
in urban areas. NGO activities in each of these areas existed
prior to the Earth Summit, but have been strengthen by the
debates and events connected to the Earth Summit, and have
continued since June 1992.

     This general observation holds a specified significance for
the implementation of Chapter 7 of Agenda 21, as it is precisely
local NGOs and community-based organizations which will be
essential to the success of the programme areas of the Chapter. 
This puts a premium on those initiatives which can do this
through participatory multi-actor approaches to human settlements
development at the local level.  One other mechanism which could
have the potential for "reaching down" or "breaking through" to
the local level and mobilizing NGO and community support for
sustainable development goals could certainly be the preparatory
process for the series of United Nations global conferences
schedules from now to the end of the decade.  Certainly the
national preparatory process for Habitat II, the second United
Nations Conference on Human Settlements, which will be held in
Turkey in 1996, should be used to build up local and national
multi-actor coalitions for sustainable human settlements
development.  This will present a challenge to a number of human
settlements NGOs, however.  Whereas, in terms of action on the
ground, human settlements NGOs are at least strong as environment
NGOs, especially in those countries where the voluntary sector is
permitted space and given support by government, they have been
so far weak at the national and international levels in terms of
effectively lobbying for policy changes.

     United Nations agency partnerships with NGOs are certainly
on the increase, but equal partnership is often difficult when
there is an imbalance of resources between the partners.  Often
it leads to dependence and NGOs becoming nothing more than
convenient implementation instruments for donor programmes at the
national and local levels. Moreover, national governments at
times do not view very favourably being bypassed by international
assistance agencies, United Nations or otherwise, in favour of
local authorities, NGOs, community groups or private companies
and institutions.  On the other hand, a number of international
NGOs based in the industrialized countries, such as OXFAM, Save
the Children, MISEREOR, EZE and CEBEMO, among others, are now
getting substantial funding direct from bilateral programmes and
this has opened the way for new kinds of equal partnership and
positive collaboration between United Nations agencies and NGOs
in the pursuit of sustainable development.

     -  Business sector

     As for the private business sector, of some significance for
human settlements work is the growing activism of some sectors of
industry in regard to such issues as pollution control, waste
management, energy use and water supply.  Here the activities of
the Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World
Industry Council for the Environment and the International
Network for Environmental Management are playing an important
role at the international level, supported by initiatives of
sectoral industrial and trade associations, especially in the
areas of construction, chemicals and tourism.  This activism at
the international level on the part of concerned companies has
been echoed to some extent at the national level as well.  It is
also apparent that trade and business associations are beginning
to appreciate the central role of human settlements in
sustainable development.  An example is the Global Forum '94,
which will be held in Manchester, United Kingdom.  The theme of
the Global Forum will be "Cities and Sustainable Development" and
its business and industry programme will address a number of core
business issues, such as enterprise and employment in cities,
corporate responsibility, infrastructure development and finance.

     Yet while business is moving at varying speeds towards the
goal of environmental excellence, including a focus on such core
human settlements concerns as pollution control, waste
management, energy use and infrastructure in general, it has yet
to be challenged or to start thinking about socio-economic
dimensions.  Business remains uneasy about entering debates on
poverty, human needs and equity, and invariably falls back on
calls for more economic growth.  The emerging agenda of business
responsibility to its stake-holders (employees, borrowers, host
communities, consumers and future generations) is perhaps only
one of many possible entry points for engaging industry in this
important debate, central to achieving sustainable development
and Agenda 21 goals.

     -  Local government

     Twinning programmes of Northern local authority associations
have led to exchanges and projects between North and South.  Many
of these are directly focused on human settlements development,
especially on the improvement of management and technical skills
at the administrative level.  However, what is needed is to
strengthen the links between these efforts and those of
developing-country networks of local authorities and
professionals, as well as those of the United Nations system and
others, otherwise the possibility exists that sustainable
development will be implemented on four or five parallel tracks
with no relation and much duplication and contradiction between
them.  Existing regional developing-country and national networks
also need to be strengthened.  One way to start may be at the
regional level (CITYNET, EAROPH and the Asian Coalition for
Housing Rights are examples of relevant networks in Asia; the
Settlements Information Network Africa (SINA) is one in Africa).

Assessment of the scientific and technological means of

     As for scientific and technological means of implementation,
the increasing populations and urbanization in developing
countries and the global commitment to facilitate adequate
shelter for all by the year 2000 pose enormous challenges to the
ingenuity and resourcefulness of developing countries.  Recent
scientific and technological developments in such areas as
geographical information systems for land-resource management,
natural hazard assessment and prediction, in the area of resource
management and pollution control, and most importantly, the
revolutionary advances in information technology can together
lend valuable support in providing for a more sustainable

     Yet, in the settlements of most developing countries, and in
the least developed countries in particular, the role of
technology in development remains marginal, and its potential
largely unexploited.  It is more so for environmentally sound
technologies, which are mainly knowledge-intensive and often
capital-intensive; these technologies need more
inter-disciplinary support for application, and are still
evolving and hence prone to rapid obsolescence.  The transition
to environmentally sound technologies will, therefore, have to be
engineered and managed by building consensus, commitment and
capacity at all levels.

     The primary stakeholders and actors for harnessing the
scientific and technological means and opportunities in human
settlements development are: (a) the scientific and technological
community, especially the professional bodies; (b) business and
industry, which provide the delivery mechanisms through the
formal sector; and (c)  community groups including women's groups
which translate these opportunities into concrete and affordable
actions at neighbourhood and household levels.

     An encouraging fact is that Agenda 21 has already stimulated
an extensive debate on the scientific and technological
implications of sustainable development among professional bodies
worldwide.  Through this debate, the scientific and technological
community is already doing what they always do best: they are
disseminating information, creating awareness among the public
and policy-makers alike, and stimulating research and development
of new technologies through their association with industry. 
Governments can help improve communication and cooperation among
the scientific and technological community by funding and
promoting networking activities, seminars and consultations at
national level; similarly, international agencies can enlarge
this consultation and communication at  regional and
international levels.

     For business and industry, the 18 months since Rio have been
dominated by the impact of the global economic slowdown. At the
international level, the trade and environment debate has
increasingly focused attention on the ways in which environmental
legislation on such things as "ecolabelling" and waste disposal
can act as "green protectionism".  Greater focus is also being
placed on competitiveness and environment policy and this will
have important human settlements implications in the areas of
construction materials, recycling and reuse of wastes, energy
conservation and pollution control in the construction sector. An
important way forward, and here business and industry are 
already making strides, is internalizing environmental costs 
through the use of economic instruments and mobilizing financial
markets for sustainable development.

     Positive initiatives of community groups, including women's
groups, to develop solutions to locally defined problems are also
coming in from several countries.  Local groups are active in the
area of renewable energy technologies, in energy efficiency
projects, in recycling and in reuse of wastes, and in many other
areas.  Human resource development efforts should increasingly be
directed in this area.  Experience has shown that a participatory
approach and end-user involvement is crucial to successful
formulation and implementation of technology projects and
programmes in human settlements.

     Finally, there is the resource question.  Increasing the
flow of resources is, clearly, an urgent priority.  The Global
Environmental Facility (GEF), jointly administered by the World
Bank, UNDP and UNEP has been scheduled to be roughly doubled in
size, and additional resources were also provisionally pledged to
the International Development Association (IDA) for use in
poorest countries.  To date, however, the GEF has not been
characterized by its flexibility in response to demand, and the
most promising examples of technology financing have come from
the countries which have mobilized domestic resources through
innovative financing schemes without relying heavily on
international finance. Industry can also be stimulated to invest
in environmentally sound technologies.  In doing so, developing
countries should make use of the lessons from the past experience
of industrialized countries utilizing fiscal incentives for
industry (which have proved successful in many European
countries).  Subsidies, in contrast, have proved more effective
when applied to the demand side rather than to the supply side.

Financial implications and the strategic role of joint

     The implementation of the programme areas of Chapter 7 of
Agenda 21, and indeed any serious sustainable development
process, must take place under the authority of the governments,
institutions, enterprises, communities and people of member
countries.  They must be the true controllers of their own
development process.  As a consequence, the role of the United
Nations system, bilateral agencies and other external groups must
be service- oriented, serving the development efforts of
countries.  The effectiveness of the support services of the
United Nations system has to be measured by their cost-effective
contribution towards furthering self-sustainable national, local
and regional development.  Such effectiveness can only be
achieved, however, in an atmosphere of genuine cooperation and
teamwork both among the various partners in the service team or
inter-agency task group and between the team and the client.  A
major effort should be made, particularly within the United
Nations system, to foster such a cooperative team spirit.

     This then raises two questions:  first, are the current
activities, especially inter-agency programmes, in the area of
human settlement of a strategic and catalytic nature?; and,
secondly, if they are, are they sufficiently funded to be able to
fulfil this strategic and catalytic role?  In regard to the
first, the answer can be a qualified "Yes", at least as far as
some of the inter-agency programmes are concerned.  The problem
is, however, that these programmes have not attracted appropriate
levels of funding, and, partly as a result, some of the strategic
areas vital to the implementation of Chapter 7 are simply not
adequately covered.

     The order of magnitude of urban infrastructure investments
made annually by developing countries themselves is approximately
US$150 billion (not including investments in housing).9  By all
accounts, this figure will have to rise substantially in the
future, not only to accommodate the continuing growth of the
urban population, but also to catch up with the service and
infrastructure deficiencies that have accumulated due to the
relative neglect of urban investments over the years.  What is
more, the overall cost implications of heightened attention to
the environmental sustainability of urban growth have yet to be
defined.  On the other hand, there is no doubt that
forward-looking planning and investments are more cost-effective
than "upgrading" after the fact.

     The bulk of these investments will have to come from local
resources;  even under the most optimistic assumptions about
external finance, donor assistance will remain a small portion of
the total.  In the past, however, external support has clearly
been insufficient for the desired catalytic effect.  The World
Bank, by far the biggest funding agency for human settlements
development, is now planning to finance 150 urban development
projects over the period 1991-1995 for a total of US$ 15 billion. 
Despite the expected doubling of commitments from recent levels
to US$ 3.5 billion in 1993 and beyond, this would represent only
9 per cent of its total lending compared with 5 per cent in the
preceding five year period.  And while urban development
investments have emerged as a priority for the World Bank's
borrowers, this is not the case for most bilateral donors.  It
should also be noted that nonconcessional loans constitute about
two thirds of World Bank financing.  These go to the more
prosperous countries, not to the poorer ones which may need
funding even more.  This in turn has serious implications for
sustainable development:  the high-income and middle- income
developing countries may have a chance of making it, while the
poorer may fall further and further behind.  Another example are
UNDP commitments for urban activities,

which varied between 2.8 per cent and 4.7 per cent of UNDP's
total funding commitments from 1987 to 1989, with no dramatic
change since.  Agriculture, forestry and fishing attracted more
than 20 per cent in each of the years cited.10

     What all this means basically is that the international
assistance community, including the United Nations system of
course, must increase its own funding levels for human
settlements in order to reach that still small, but nevertheless
critical level of assistance which can really be catalytic.  This
assistance will also have to focus more on mobilizing local
financial resources and on developing mechanisms to finance
sustainable urban development. At present the resources are quite
simply not being effectively mobilized either at the municipal or
at the national levels.  External support activities should also,
given the amount of investments required, focus more on
mobilizing and leveraging private external financing and
investment for urban development.  This would be a challenging
new task for United Nations agencies.  On the other hand, it must
be recognized that many of the poorest developing countries do
not have the capacity to rapidly develop strong financial
services and mobilize sufficient domestic resources.  For this
reason, these countries may continue to be rather unattractive to
private financiers and investors.  This raises the prospect of
uneven development and uneven implementation of Agenda 21, which
would, in turn, condemn a substantial part of humanity to
perpetual poverty and growing environmental threats to health and
welfare.  Clearly the stakes are very high, particularly for the
fast-growing human settlements in the least developed countries,
which would seem to provide a rather compelling case for more
effective joint programming by the United Nations system.


     The human settlements development goals of Chapter 7, and
other chapters of Agenda 21, are being pursued by United Nations
agencies and by a wide range of private and public actors at both
the national and international levels.  Despite a number of
promising activities and new initiatives, however, the overall
impact is not sufficient to deal with the enormous scale of human
settlements problems, especially in the developing countries. 
Moreover, at this initial stage of Agenda 21 implementation, it
appears that some programme areas of Chapter 7 are receiving less
attention than others.  If this trend continues, implementation
of Chapter 7 will be lop-sided at best.  Given the
interdependence of the various programmes of the human
settlements chapter, this would mean, in effect, failure to reach
some of the central socio-economic and environmental goals of
Agenda 21.

     Furthermore, the explosive growth of urban areas in the
developing countries not only will progressively complicate and
exacerbate inter-related problems of human settlements and the
environment, but will also greatly accelerate the demand for
infrastructure, basic services and housing in expanding urban
areas.  The situation is not static, but fluid;  urbanization has
created a dynamic of its own.  Failure to act expeditiously just
increases the ultimate cost of intervention.  Meeting these
future needs, as well as the accumulated back log, will be one of
the principal challenges for sustainable development and Agenda
21 implementation. Clearly there is a resource gap, which cannot
be bridged with old cliches and new buzz words.  The money will
have to come from somewhere.  Both historical and contemporary
examples demonstrate the positive relationship between
infrastructure (capital) investment and economic growth: one is
the prerequisite for the other.  Failure to act in this key area
will only worsen environmental problems in human settlements,
thus dimming the opportunity for sustainable development.  All
this underscores once again the observation made at various
points in this review, that the overall challenge of sustainable
development will, in fact, become, over time, more and more a
human settlements challenge, and it is in human settlements that
this challenge will have to be met.

     The review and assessment undertaken in this working paper
also leads to the inevitable conclusion that, to achieve the
goals of sustainable human settlements development, more clearly
focused and effectively coordinated action by the world community
will be required.  In particular, future efforts should emphasise
active collaboration and concerted activity by all the relevant
actors and interested parties (United Nations system agencies and
bodies, other multilateral and bilateral agencies, national and
local government, the private sector and other "major groups"). 
Such an effort should concentrate on identifying (and acting on)
priority issues, improving management approaches and on devising
and applying effective delivery strategies.

     On the basis of this initial review and analysis of progress
in the implementation of Chapter 7 of Agenda 21, with all its
limitations (of available information and time), it is already
possible to identify some major priority issues, and suggest
management approaches and delivery strategies which hold the
promise of more effective implementation of the human settlements
programmes of Agenda 21.  These are expressed below, in the form
of general and specific recommendations.  In considering these
recommendations, it should be kept in mind that although these
are based on only a little more than a year's experience in
Agenda 21 implementation, it is less costly and easier to make
modifications and course corrections to strategies and programmes
at an early stage than further down the road.

Emerging priority issues

     In general, it is absolutely vital to promote a better
understanding of the present and future importance of human
settlements to sustainable development and of the interactions
between urbanization and the environment.  All of this is still
not very well appreciated by all, policy-maker and ordinary
citizen alike.  However, such an understanding must focus
attention on strategically important and operationally relevant
issues, to resolve uncertainties or conflicts concerning such
issues, and prioritize them in a realistic manner.  Only in this
way can feasible strategies for action be formulated.  The
preceding assessment seems to suggest that the following are some
of priority issues which must be addressed to facilitate the
implementation of the human settlements chapter of Agenda 21:

~    Bridging the resource gap.  As already indicated above,
developing countries, giving urbanization trends and existing
unmet needs, are facing a financial crunch when it comes to the
enormous investment requirements for urban infrastructure and
basic services.  Such investments are necessary prerequisites for
economic development and the improvement of environmental
conditions.  Given the general prospect of cutbacks in
multilateral and bilateral assistance (with only a few
exceptions), greater emphasis than before must be placed on the
development of financial mechanisms and on domestic resource
mobilization for human settlements development, as well as on
increasing the real value of existing and future investments
through better management practices, clearer lines of
accountability, improved operations and maintenance capabilities
and appropriate technologies which can exploit effective demand. 
In fact, it could be argued that a main emphasis of United
Nations technical assistance should be in this direction and
could become a major contribution of the United Nations system to
achieve Agenda 21 goals.  Such efforts need to address three
principle issues: a) how best to mobilize resources to finance
the delivery of urban services; b) how to improve the financial
management of those resources; and c) how to organize municipal
institutions to promote greater efficiency and responsiveness in
urban service delivery.  When combined with market and regulatory
reform, such measures can also open the door to greater
competition in the provision of basic services and to private
equity finance for urban development.

~    Linking technical assistance with capital investment.  The
vast majority of United Nations System agencies are primarily
providers of technical assistance.  Many of the programme areas
of Chapter 7 require large amounts of capital investment to reach
their objectives.  On the other hand, technical assistance often
prepares the ground for capital investment by banks and private
firms.  There is, therefore, a need to broaden the range of
actors for the implementation of Chapter 7, beginning with
regional development banks, through joint programming and
coordination of activities.  Ideally, such cooperation should be
extended to the private financial and business sector and
modalities developed for it.  The UNDP/UNCHS/UNEP Public-Private
Partnership Programme (PPP) proposal with the Business Council
for Sustainable Development may be considered as a step in this
direction (see box 9).

~    Focus on the "Brown Agenda".  Among the most critical
problems facing human settlements in developing countries are the
health impacts of urban pollution that result from inadequate
water, sanitation, drainage and solid waste services, poor urban
and industrial waste management, and air pollution, especially. 
Collectively dubbed the "Brown Agenda", this set of issues is
closely linked to the poverty-environment relationship.11 
Important underlying issues typically involve inappropriate land
use, precarious housing, deficient public transport and road
congestion and accidents.  A focus on the "Brown Agenda" lends
itself to a comprehensive and strategic multi-sectoral and thus
multi-actor and multi-agency approach to sustainable human
settlements development which isolated actions along sectoral
lines could not hope to achieve.  Such an approach is
particularly required in human settlements.  It would also allow
for linkages to "human settlements" components of Agenda 21 which
are outside of Chapter 7.  For instance, improved infrastructure
and services for both small communities and urban centres alike
are a critical part of Chapter 6, "Protection and Promotion of
Human Health".  Chapters 18 to 21 also have important human
settlements components.  A focus under the umbrella of the "Brown
Agenda" could concentrate effort and resources and avoid

~    A comprehensive approach to urban poverty.  Many of the
problems of access to basic services, housing, healthcare etc. of
low-income groups (which in many developing countries constitute
the majority) are grounded in their poverty and lack of income. 
It seems reasonable to suggest, therefore, that one of the most
effective means to redress the service and housing needs of the
poor is through a comprehensive assault on poverty which links
community economic development and employment generation with the
provision of housing, health and other basic services.  Such an
approach may also be one of the most effective means to
accelerate implementation of the objectives of the Global
Strategy for Shelter as is foreseen in the housing programme of
Chapter 7, which at present is falling behind its goals. Examples
of this would include the Urban Poverty Partnership programme
which has recently been initiated by UNDP, UNCHS (Habitat) and
ILO.  Comprehensive and inter-linked community development
strategies implemented through intermediaries such as non-
governmental and community organizations, if given a firm
economic and organizational basis, not only provide sustainable
approaches to alleviating poverty, but also serve as vehicles to
focus and bring together a number of related programme areas
across Agenda 21. A concerted focus on urban poverty would  also
slow the process of social disintegration and urban violence
which is so apparent in many cities and towns today.

~    Even and balanced implementation of all programme areas of
Chapter 7, with more emphasis on such key programme areas as land
and transport, which have been relatively neglected until now,
thus putting into question the goal  of sustainable development. 
As observed earlier, implementation of the programme areas of the
human settlements chapter is proceeding at an uneven pace.  For
example, there is not very much movement in the area of land
management, with no new inter-agency initiatives having
commenced.  Much of the focus in this programme area appears to
continue to be on technical aspects of land registration (land
and geographic information systems, and so on), and here efforts
also seem to be falling behind growing needs.  But with urban
land requirements being roughly at par with urban population
expansion, there is a need to manage the process of land
planning, acquisition and development to avoid ecological damage,
to reduce the cost of urban development and to guide the
conversion of agricultural land for urban use.  At the edge of
rapidly expanding metropolitan areas, at the urban-rural
interface, the process of urban expansion is particularly
chaotic, and often takes place outside any legal framework and
jurisdiction, with immense negative ecological, social and
economic consequences. Controlling this "Wild West"-like
situation at the urban frontier should be a priority of human
settlements action.  What has hindered it so far is the political
sensitivity of the land issue.  Control over land tenure is,
after all, still the basis of power in many societies.  This
having been said, it should not, however, prevent an inter-agency
initiative from being attempted to assist countries in this
regard.  It is ready-made for United Nations action as the
emphasis would be on technical assistance: regulatory reform,
legislation, enforcement, management mechanisms.  Ideally such an
initiative could combine the relevant programme areas of Chapters
7 and 10 (Integrated Approach to the Planning and Management of
Land Resources) as well as all concerned agencies, particularly
FAO and UNCHS (Habitat).

     As for transport, urban transport certainly deserves greater
attention than it has received so far, beginning with urban
transport planning and management to reduce air and noise
pollution, congestion and energy use.  Beyond this, however,
there is a need to re-think the whole issue of transport in urban
areas and to promote a shift to mass transport and measures to
encourage its use, especially given the rising motorization
levels in urban areas, which may be environmentally
unsustainable, ultimately economically inefficient and lead to a
lowering of urban productivity.  Although front-end costs are
expensive, such investments in mass transport may ultimately be
more cost-effective when all factors are taken into account.  It
may also offer the opportunity for the introduction of
energy-saving and environmentally-friendly transport
technologies.  However, the introduction of mass transport
requires an effective long-term urban planning and management
mechanism and, often, overcoming powerful political opposition. 
It can only be successful in cooperation with the private
economic interests which dominate the transport business in most
cities and countries. The United Nations is well placed to
spearhead such an approach, beginning with policy advice and
technical assistance, but it will only come to full bloom if it
includes development banks, bilateral institutions and the
private sector as investor and developer  of transport

~    Putting in place a macro-economic policy framework at the
national (and international) level compatible with achieving
sustainable human settlements development and Agenda 21 goals. 
Serious consideration must be given to the type of macro-economic
framework and policies which are compatible with achieving
sustainable development goals. This issue has been side-stepped
so far in Agenda 21.  The situation is similar to building an
automobile without a motor to drive it.  Surely, without it,
Agenda 21 will not go very far.  What is required are economic
policies that will allow countries to meet the environmental,
economic and social objectives of Agenda 21 simultaneously, not
sequentially. The dominant macro-economic policy framework in
place in all countries today is a liberal market-oriented one,
emphasizing monetary stability and export growth.  Is this
approach compatible with Agenda 21 or will it need modifications?

     Furthermore, structural adjustment programmes implemented in
many developing countries since the 1970s may have serious
ramifications for current and future human settlements management
and development.  Certainly, macro-economic policy can have
powerful effects on the process of urban development and on the
performance of the housing sector in particular.  This would lead
one to conclude that if Chapter 7 programmes are to have any
impact, there must be more of a meshing between Agenda 21
objectives with the "real" world economic processes which are
transforming all countries.  Both must be integrated with each
other and not continue to exist as if in separate spheres. 
Otherwise Agenda 21 will remain a paper manifesto of an "ideal"
world while another is relentlessly being created, with untold
environmental and social consequences for future generations.

     Returning to the specific issue of structural adjustment
programmes (SAPs), this means that the policy decisions taken by
national governments within the context of SAPs must take into
account the growing economic and social importance of human
settlements as a consequence of urbanization, and take care not
to worsen, but rather seek to ameliorate, growing urban
environmental problems and levels of poverty.  In the light of
this, it seems reasonable to suggest that sectoral agencies,
including, of course, those active in the areas of human
settlements management and development, work at the country level
in assisting the authorities to prioritize spending projects and
requirements across sectors. This would greatly facilitate
decision-making in countries faced with severe resource
constraints and would be a positive contribution to all
countries, particularly for those embarking on structural

     For it is certainly true, that judicious adjustment
programmes can build some of the necessary economic foundations
for sustainable development, especially through regulatory and
market reforms (particularly land, housing and financial market
reforms in the case of Chapter 7).  Moreover, by achieving
monetary stability, and subsequently convertibility of previously
weak national currencies, SAPs can help to integrate countries
into the global economy and provide both governments and the
private sector access to financial markets, as well as open the
door for private investment in human settlements development.

~    Strengthening the economic, political and social
institutions and organizations of civil society in developing
countries.  The United Nations system's contribution at best can
be that of a catalyst.  In the final analysis, implementation of
Agenda 21 can only be sustained by organizations and institutions
in the concerned countries themselves.  In many developing
countries, they tend to be weak and ineffective and require
support.  In the area of human settlements and management, this
means  institution-building, especially at the local municipal
level where policies, programmes and projects are implemented;
supporting and building the capacity of community groups as
intermediaries and organizers; and, finally, assisting the
private sector in developing countries build-up its ability for
human settlements development and management.  This may require,
at times, political and economic reforms at the national level, a
challenge which the United Nations will not be able to sidestep
if it wishes to see successful implementation of Agenda 21.  One
method to strengthen institutions and organizations of civil
society may be through the strengthening and building of networks
at the national level and by providing such networks with avenues
for external support, as the UNDP has done in Indonesia, for
example.  UNICEF and many international development NGOs have
also done much to strengthen NGOs in the developing countries.
Other United Nations system agencies are also doing their part: 
UNIDO in the case of the construction sector, for example.  WHO
is doing valuable work in the basic health sector; (UNCHS)
Habitat's Community Development Programme is focused on training
community leaders; the World Bank on institution-building.  Local
authority and international professional associations are
supporting their counterparts in developing countries.  What is
needed now is to bring all of this under one umbrella.  This
should not be confused with centralized control, but rather
linkages which allow for information exchange, the pursuit of
common objectives, and the avoidance of duplication.

~    A greater focus on human settlements development environment
interactions in research and analysis.  Although some progress
has been made to increase the understanding of the role of human
settlements in development processes and the impact of
urbanization on the environment - and governments and the
international community have begun to act on that knowledge  -
there is an urgent need for "more learning before doing" and to
disseminate that knowledge so as to inform policy-making.  This
is especially the case when it comes to projections of the impact
of future growth of urban settlements on changing development
patterns in the developing countries; the economic role of cities
and the wider regional environmental impact of continued urban
growth.  Examples of good practice need also to be documented and
disseminated globally.  Knowledge and information gained as a
consequence of intensified and more focused urban and urban
environmental research should be easily accessible and
disseminated through information networks linking private and
public research institutions, United Nations agencies, NGOs the
business sector and to government advisory and policy planning
bodies.  Establishing such a mechanism for the collection and
dissemination of information should be a priority task of the
United Nations system, which is well-placed to handle it. 
Finally, more research should lead to the development of better
tools to measure the environmental impact of past, present and
future urban growth.

~    Support for the development and diffusion of pathbreaking
and appropriate technologies for sustainable human settlements
development.  Historically, new technologies have expanded the
carrying capacity of the Earth.  In the light of urbanization
trends, growing needs and urban environmental decline, greater
emphasis has to be placed on the development and diffusion of
pathbreaking technologies which are both affordable for
developing countries and environmentally sound.  Such an effort
should support all programme areas of Agenda 21 focused on
environmental technology and should involve all relevant agencies
and major groups, in particular the private business sector, the
scientific community and NGOs.  A particular focus of United
Nations action should be on catalysing, coordinating and
diffusing research, development and information on promising new
technologies and to promote their application.

~    Addressing special needs of vulnerable groups.  A serious
aspect of the current crisis in human settlements development and
management is the unequal burden it places on the more vulnerable
groups such as women and children.  As intensive users of the
indoor environment, women and children are more susceptible to
diseases related to overcrowding and the lack of adequate
environmental services.  Also, women, particularly single women
with children and abandoned wives, continue to labour under
significant disabilities when it comes to access to shelter. 
Even when they have legal rights to land and property, customs
and disciplinary practices often prevent them from exercising
those rights.  Future policy must address these issues as well as
those of abandoned children, an ever-growing problem in urban
centres of many developing countries as a consequence of poverty,
social disintegration and the stress of everyday urban life.

~    Special measures for the least developed countries as they
lack the domestic resources to implement the recommendations of
the human settlements programmes of Agenda 21. Implementation of
the human settlements programmes of Agenda 21 will be difficult
enough even for those middle- and high-income developing
countries which are enjoying economic growth.  It will be
virtually impossible for the poorest of developing countries
whose economic future is already anything but bright given the
circumstances in which they find themselves.  But it is exactly
in these countries where the social consequences of urban growth
have been most severe and where environmental problems are
increasingly rapidly precisely because of the lack of
institutional capacity, technical skills and resources to deal
with them.  To speak of domestic resource mobilization under
these circumstances is a cruel joke.  In this regard, it is
well-worth noting that one of the more absurd oxymorons that has
surfaced in development literature in recent years in response 
to this and similar situations has been the call "to mobilize the
resources of the poor".  Apart from determination and human
resources, however, there is little by way of financial resources
to mobilize and this is why the least developed countries will
require special funds and assistance, possibly similar to the GEF
mechanism, to enable them to implement Agenda 21 programmes.  And
such mechanisms must be part of a wider programme of development
assistance and other measures to foster accelerated economic

~    Coordination: focus and coverage.  Programme and project
activities should be more clearly and narrowly focused on
strategic priority issues. This should, however, not be
exaggerated.  It is important to eliminate or reduce outright
redundancy of effort, although overlap per se is not necessarily
a disadvantage; overlap can also represent a creative diversity
of approach which can be effective if clearly oriented toward the
same or complementary issues and objectives.  Too much
coordination can be worse than too little: it can suppress
creativity, obscure the real diversity of needs and views, and
add costly additional layers of non-productive administration. 
And no one wants to be coordinated from the outside.  The focus
should be on inter-agency joint programming with the major groups
rather than on setting up new coordinating mechanisms.   Both
ongoing single-agency strategic programmes as well as new
programme development initiatives should as a rule become
multi-agency programmes, so as to force the United Nations system
to learn to capture the added value of synergy among partners.

~    Acknowledgement of the "political" dimension.  Identifying
and reaching agreement upon priority issues inescapably involves
a political and social process, not simply a technical process. 
Avoidance of politically-sensitive issues may be administratively
convenient, but it carries the danger of diverting effort into
less important and non-strategic directions. Thus, the process of
reaching agreement on issues and their priorities must be a
participatory process:  it should be a "bottom-up" process, not
the more familiar "top-down" process.

~    Reconsidering the cross-sectoral nature of human
settlements.  In an urbanizing world, human settlements,
especially cities and towns, will be the place where most of the
sectoral programmes included in Agenda 21 - be it water-resource
management, the management of solid wastes or the protection of
the atmosphere - will have to be largely implemented.  It is at
the human settlements level that various policy initiatives will
become an operational reality, and where relevant actions will
have to be coordinated and managed. Also, since peoples and
communities are the central actors and the driving force behind
human settlements development, the broader human development
needs can be met in a large measure through this process. 
Sustainable development of human settlements is, therefore,
crucial to sustainable development at large.  Sensitizing
national policy-makers and planners and the international
community on the cross-sectoral nature of human settlements will
be an important initial step toward sustainable development.

Promoting effective management approaches

     Throughout this paper, the importance of human settlements
management and of good management practice has been repeatedly
stressed, not only for the implementation of the programme areas
of Chapter 7, but also for the implementation of the other
programmes of Agenda 21 which come together at the local level. 
The technical or substantive content of development activities
will vary, but the management frameworks and approaches should be
coherent and consistent, because it is the overall management
process which typically determines the success of individual
programmes and projects.  Moreover, one of the more important
justifications for competent and accountable human settlements
management is the cost-effectiveness of forward planning and
preventive management actions in the face of the dynamic process
of urbanization.  Based on experience, and on the analysis of
expected needs contained in this paper, the following
recommendations are suggested to strengthen management practices
so as to facilitate the speedy implementation of the human
settlements chapter in particular and Agenda 21 in general:

~    Promotion of modern development management approaches.  More
vigorous and focused promotion of modern development management
approaches (based on principles such as transparency,
accountability and efficiency) is urgently required.  More than
technical skills, what local administrations require in many
developing countries are basic management and organizational
skills to carry out their responsibilities.  This should be the
first priority of capacity-building for urban management. 
Technical skills and competence should be grafted on to this
edifice.  This is not the case today.  Management approaches and
techniques should: (a) address the need to mobilize, coordinate
and more effectively apply local technical and institutional
resources; (b) involve strategies for broad-based participatory
approaches to problem identification, strategy and plan
formulation; and (c) apply the full range of instruments
available for implementing strategies and managing development. 
Even where the private sector is the primary protogonist and
agent of development (and this is the case in most countries
today), it cannot carry out this role in the absence of an
effective development management and institutional framework,
whether at the city or national levels.

~    Convergence on key characteristics of appropriate
management.  Effectiveness of development activities can be
significantly enhanced by "learning from experience":
incorporating key management approaches which have proved to be
appropriate in the human settlements context.  These include the
following characteristics: a process rather than a plan
orientation; an emphasis on "connectedness" rather than
"comprehensiveness"; a results-and- output orientation rather
than a procedural-and-input orientation; making full use of local
expertise and financial resources; utilizing the full range of
implementation instruments; collaborative and non-bureaucratic
decision-making processes; and use of streamlined strategic

~    Concentration on strategic interventions.  Because it is not
realistically possible to push forward simultaneously on all
fronts, it is important to focus on a limited number of strategic
interventions or activities which can then be effectively managed
even with limited resources.  Land management is an excellent
example of a strategic and "cross-cutting" topic which is of
fundamental importance to almost every aspect of sustainable
human settlements development.

~    Focus on good governance, not just better management.  The
wave of democratization which is sweeping many countries around
the globe has focused attention on the political dimension, and
in particular on the political processes and institutions which
do so much to shape urban life and the development prospects of
human settlements.  If sustainable development is to succeed at 
the local municipal level, these processes must be inclusionary
and transparent, so that political decisions regarding urban
development, provision of services, fees, charges and taxes etc.
are seen as legitimate and complied with by the entire community. 
Only an open political process is capable of eliciting the
participation of lower- income groups and of bridging the
economic, political and social schisms which separate many urban
communities.  Good governance also means curbing malfeasance and
corruption at the level of municipal institutions.  Failure to do
so impacts negatively on the ability to create a professional and
effective management/administrative structure, puts the
legitimacy of municipal government in question and acts as a
barrier to full and equal participation of stake-holders in the
process of human settlements development.

~    Broad-based participation.  Management approaches should be
firmly based upon meaningful involvement of all of the relevant
actors: local government, private sector ("formal" and
"informal"), households, community groups and NGOs, women, the
poor, and other marginalized or disadvantaged groups.  This
participation should encompass all different aspects of the
management process: in strategy formulation, planning,
implementation and evaluation of human settlements development. 
This participation is important to give all actors a sense of
common purpose and ownership, because if they are not involved in
planning and decision-making, they are unlikely to support
implementation. Operationalizing such participation will not be
easy, and a full-scale participatory process will probably emerge
slowly in most situations; still, strong and consistent efforts
must be made to move things in this direction.

~    Strengthening local authorities.  As has been observed
earlier, most of the human settlements programmes of Agenda 21
(and many other related programmes as well) will have to be
implemented at the municipal level.  At present, local
authorities in many countries are financially and politically
weak and dependent on central government.  They are often
actually prevented by statutes and legislation from pursuing
local opportunities for development and from taking the
initiative in exploiting the local resource base for development
purposes.  Efforts to improve the efficiency and responsiveness
of urban service delivery by local authorities must go
hand-in-hand with political decentralization. Accordingly,
measures should be vigorously pursued which: clarify the
responsibility for service delivery between levels of government;
reduce the uncertainty of, and better target, central to local
government transfer programmes; increase municipal government
access to financing for capital investments; and institutionalize
systems of accountability which are responsive to local

~    Maximum use of local resources.  Sustainable human
settlements development, to be effective, must be firmly based in
the local/national economy and society, and must be build on
local knowledge, capacity and action.  Resources of all kinds are
strictly limited; thus, interventions (financial, technical, or
other) should be aimed at the maximum "leverage" or "multiplier"
effect.  In other words, management of development activities
should aim for the systematic mobilization and effective
application of the the fullest possible range of local human,
technical, economic, financial and organizational resources. 
This is vital, not only to secure a sufficient quantity of
resources (for example, user charges are often the most effective
way to finance municipal services to individual consumers),  but
also to liberate and utilize the ingenuity and creativity which
is present in the various actors and stake-holders. This is yet
another reason why broad-based participation is vital.

~    Full incorporation of environmental considerations into
management and urban planning practice.  In many countries,
consideration of environmental factors is still not incorporated
in the local planning and management process.  The local and
wider regional environmental impact of urban growth (especially
in environmentally-sensitive zones and in coastal areas) is not
very well understood and thus not taken into account when
development decisions and investments in infrastructure are made. 
Management and planning tools such as environmental impact
assessment should be incorporated into planning and management
practice at the local level, and environmental management
frameworks put in place which involve all stake-holders in the
decision-making process.

~    Partnership and collaboration.  Greater use should be made
of genuine "partnerships", especially those which link public and
private sectors, which link  external, national and local
institutions, and which link public organizations with NGOs and
community groups.  Partnership means much more than simple
administrative "coordination"; it means an active and interactive
"collaboration" in which the partners share responsibilities,
duties and rewards.  "Models" for effective partnership in urban
and environmental management are emerging in various parts of the
world and should be rapidly replicated where appropriate. 
(Partnership is also an effective form of participation.)

~    Consistency and coherence of guidance.  It is important to
promote consistency and coherence in the guidance given by
external support agencies to governments and other stake-
holders.  However, consistency does not mean uniformity;
approaches which are different may, nonetheless, be mutually
reinforcing and complementary - and a variety of approaches may
be a stimulus to innovation and creativity.  Coordination of
management approaches should be "bottom-up" and practical, coming
from the local stake-holders and client le; United Nations or
other external agencies should not impose "top-down" and
unrealistic forms of coordination.

~    Building "capacity-for-capacity".  Perhaps one of the most
important priorities for external support agencies (the United
Nations system included) should, in future, be capacity- building
for all aspects of human settlements management.  This is already
well understood by a number of United Nations agencies.  Given
the immense needs, the best approach would be one which focuses
on building "capacity-for-capacity", in other words,
strengthening the capacity of local training institutions for
capacity-building in all aspects of human settlements management. 
Such capacity-building should go beyond training just for
managerial and technical staff, but also include NGOs and others
which are increasingly acting as intermediaries in the delivery
of services and in assisting low-income communities.  Such an
approach, which has been pioneered by UNCHS (Habitat), the World
Bank and UNDP in their joint efforts to improve settlements
management capacity is more sustainable, and more effective than
externally-financed and "one-off" training courses.  This
approach would give an opportunity to public and private human
settlements training institutions in developing countries to link
with others in a process of South-South cooperation for

Applying more efficient delivery mechanisms

     Innovative and efficient delivery mechanisms for external
support are crucial if progress towards the goals of Agenda 21 is
to be accelerated.  This applies to all of the various ways in
which external organizations (especially the United Nations
system) seek to promote sustainable human settlements
development: technical cooperation, international conventions and
agreements, capacity-building, technology transfer,
awareness-raising etc. Systematic efforts to promote effective
and innovative delivery mechanisms will help identify
opportunities for mutual learning among external support
agencies, stimulate the exchange of experience and of "best
practice", increase the scale and complementarity of beneficial
impacts of external support, and thus allow the best use of
relative "comparative advantage" among different organizational
and institutional "entry points".  To move coherently in this
direction, a number of policy guidelines can be recommended. 
These are:

~    Consortium approach to key issues.  As has been suggested
earlier, one of the more efficient ways to implement the human
settlements programmes of Agenda 21 may be through a focus on a
number of strategic issues which can serve as an umbrella through
which the objectives of programme areas of Chapter 7 (and related
programmes in other chapters) can be implemented in a cohesive
and effective manner.  Examples of such "umbrellas" would be the
"Brown Agenda" and urban poverty.  A consortium of all agencies
which have a stake in the issue could then be formed for
long-term support in implementation through joint programming,
pooling of resources etc.  Ideally, it should be possible to
identify a relatively limited number of umbrella issues through
which the vast majority of all Agenda 21 programmes could be
linked and implemented.  This would make operationalizing Agenda
21 easier and remove difficulties inherent in the sectoral
structure of Agenda 21.

~    Promotion and support for inter-agency initiatives. 
Inter-agency cooperation in the implementation of Agenda 21 must
be supported and actively promoted, otherwise it will not take
place to the extent required for the speedy implementation of
Agenda 21.  The Commission on Sustainable Development should
consider ways and means by which financial resources could be
allocated on a priority basis (such as funding mechanisms for
multi- agency programmes which pursue Agenda 21 goals), so as to
promote interagency collaboration in the implementation of Agenda
21 programmes.

~    Joint programming and new strategic alliances.  The range of
collaborative approaches should also be widened beyond the
traditional external agency/national government arrangements.  As
has been stressed throughout this paper, emphasis should be on
developing and expanding joint programmes and activities of the
United Nations system of agencies, based on new alliances (for
example, with the private sector and business community, or
directly with NGOs and local communities), in order to mobilize
and channel the enormous potential which lies outside the
established international assistance mechanisms.

~    Better application of "best practice" in delivery
mechanisms.  Steps should be taken immediately to disseminate
wider awareness and understanding - and ability to effectively
apply - generally recognized "best practice" in delivery
approaches.  This would include an emphasis on features such as:
reliance on demand-driven systems, use of networking and TCDC,
"bottom-up" and system-wide capacity building, the use of
demonstration-replication strategies, regionalization and
decentralization etc.  There is need for a thorough overall
review of "best practice", based upon experience in human
settlements development activities, to provide a basis for
systematic dissemination of effective "models".

~    Replication, networking, and regionalization.  Greater use
should be made of demonstration-replication strategies, through
which projects or programmes are designed with explicit
mechanisms for replication, within the country and elsewhere. 
Replication requires conscious design and support, however; it
does not occur simply by force of "good example".  Similarly,
greater use should be made of networking and regionalization: the
linking of similar or related activities within countries and,
especially, among countries. This approach enhances the
opportunities for TCDC, for South-South cooperation, for mutual
learning, and for capacity-building based on local/regional

~    Greater local orientation.  Greater emphasis should be given
to delivery mechanisms which allow external agencies to work
directly with and for local communities and local governments, in
genuinely decentralized activities which promote greater
development and utilization of local resources.

~    Utilization of Habitat II opportunities.  Maximum
utilization should be made of Habitat II (the Second United
Nations Conference on Human Settlements) as a world-wide forum
for raising awareness, coordinating approaches and marshalling
support.  It should be used to focus the attention of all
relevant actors and stake-holders on a tightly-focused and
results-oriented agenda of realistic action to improve
significantly the social, economic and environmental quality of
human settlements.  For example, perhaps the two themes proposed
for Habitat II on shelter and urbanization could be combined by
promoting a new "Global Strategy for Sustainable Human
Settlements" (building on the work of the "Global Strategy for

~    Complementarity of strategies and entry points.  It is
important to move towards consistency, through the promotion of
complementary and mutually-reinforcing delivery strategies among
external support agencies.  This can have benefits by enhancing
collective efficiency, improving integration with national
efforts, and maximizing the impact of limited resources available
for external support.  The recent Country Strategy Note (CSN)
initiative moves in this direction.   However, "coordination"
should not be sought as an end in itself; especially when
institutionalized, coordination tends to divert resources from
operations to administration and to stifle innovation,
flexibility and responsiveness.  Informal and non-
institutionalized cooperation can be effective, especially where
there is genuine "demand- driven" collaboration based on shared
concepts and approaches.  In some cases, however, better
coordination is clearly required to avoid obvious redundancy and
competition among agency efforts.


1.   The World Bank, World Bank Development Report 1992 (New
York, Oxford University Press, 1992).

2.   UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank, "A new focus on aid for
urban development", note prepared for consideration at the
Development Assistance Committee (DAC) meeting on Aid for Urban
Development, 16-17 November 1992, Paris.

3.   Cited in World Development Report 1992; see also World
Health Organization (WHO), Our Planet, Our Health, (Geneva, WHO
Commission on Health and the Environment, 1992).

4.   UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank, op.cit.

5.   Urban Policy and Economic Development - An Agenda for the
1990s (Washington, D.C., The World Bank, 1991).

6.   United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II),
report of the Secretary General (A/47/360).

7.   UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank, op.cit.

8.   UNCHS (Habitat)/World Bank/UNDP Urban Management Programme;
see also UNCHS (Habitat) and World Bank, op.cit.

9.   "Urban development - donor roles and responsibilities", note
prepared for the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Meeting
on Aid for Urban Development, 16-17 November 1992, Paris.

10.  For figures cited above, see Ibid.

11.  For a more detailed discussion of the Brown Agenda see Carl
Bartone and others, Toward Environmental Strategies for Cities,
UMP No.18, (Washington, D.C., UNCHS (Habitat)/World Bank/UNDP
Urban Management Programme, 1994).

12.  For a more detailed discussion of decentralization issues
see William Dillinger, Decentralization and its Implications for
Urban Service Delivery, UMP No.16 (Washington, D.C., UNCHS
(Habitat)/World Bank/UNDP Urban Management Programme, 1993).


                          IMPLEMENTING CHAPTER 7
                               OF AGENDA 21



                                March 1994



     The review of current United Nations system activities in
the area of human settlements contained in this annex was
prepared in response to the decision of the Commission on
Sustainable Development to conduct a review at its second session
in May 1994 of progress achieved since UNCED in the human
settlements programmes (Chapter 7) of Agenda 21.  In order to
meet stringent deadlines imposed by obvious time limitations, the
following programme-by-programme descriptive analysis of the
implementation of the human settlements chapter was prepared over
a period of three months by UNCHS (Habitat), which was designated
as Task Manager for human settlements by the Inter-agency
Committee on Sustainable Development in September 1993.

     Preparation was preceded by a consultative process involving
all relevant United Nations agencies.  The information contained
in this annex has been extracted from the contributions of the
various United Nations agencies and other organizations named. 
An attempt was also made to give an impression of the type and
scope of activities "major groups", as defined by Agenda 21
(NGOs, community organizations, the private sector, among
others), are undertaking in the area of human settlements
development and management.    The purpose, however, was not just
to illustrate.  It also serves to give the reader an idea of the
actual and potential contribution of major groups to the
implementation of Agenda 21, for which the United Nations, in any
case, cannot and should not be any more than a catalyst for
action by others.

     The present review does not attempt to capture and
illustrate the whole universe of experience since the Rio
Conference - every project, every local action - in the
implementation of Chapter 7 on Human Settlements.  This would be
an impossible task given the restrictions of time and resources
available to prepare this working paper.  Neither would such an
exercise be conducive to producing the kind of document required
by deliberative bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable
Development to assist focused decision- making.  Rather, the
review attempts to analyse general trends in each of the
programme areas of the chapter so as to make possible an accurate
assessment of progress so far achieved, and to form the basis of
a set of recommendations which can facilitate a speedy and
successful implementation of the human settlements programme
areas of Agenda 21. That assessment and recommendations are
presented in the main body of the report. They constitute a menu
of policy prescriptions which should merit the attention and
consideration of the international community.


Objectives of the programme

     The primary objective of the programme, as stated in Agenda
21, is to achieve adequate shelter for rapidly growing
populations and for the currently deprived urban and rural poor
through an enabling approach to shelter development and
improvement which is environmentally sound.  Given the link
between sound housing and health, and that improvement of shelter
is an important, if not the most significant, step towards
improving the living environment of people and for providing
family stability and personal security, "Shelter for All" should
be considered as one of the principal social development
objectives of Agenda 21.

     Since 1988, the major global programme to achieve adequate
shelter for all has been the Global Strategy for Shelter to the
Year 2000.  As from 80 to 90 per cent of all shelter construction
and improvement activities in all countries is done by those
outside the public sector (private builders and developers,
building societies, cooperatives and families themselves), the
Global Strategy for Shelter calls for the establishment of an
enabling legislative and regulatory environment which can
facilitate accelerated improvement and construction of housing in
general, but particularly by the urban and rural poor.  This also
requires a macro-economic policy framework which is compatible
with such an enabling approach, and with housing development in
general, and which values the contribution that construction can
make to employment generation and economic growth.

     Success also depends, given the wide range of economic
agents and social groups involved in the construction of housing,
on a good working relationships between these groups and
government.  Such a relationship is often dependent on a
political climate which fosters cooperation and participation,
but the establishment of such is usually determined by factors
which lie outside the realm of the housing sector.  This touches
on something not considered very much in Agenda 21: the political
dimension.  The fact is that the achievement of sustainable
development may not only depend on new partnerships, but also on
the resolution of domestic and international, political, economic
and social conflicts as an a priori step towards that kind of
partnership for development.

Activities of organizations within the United Nations system

     Since UNCED, UNCHS (Habitat) and UNDP, working closely with
a number of other agencies, have continued to provide technical
support to governments in the review of housing policies and in
the preparation of national shelter strategies.  Assistance has
also focused on improving awareness of the need for public
participation, private-sector involvement and the role of women
in the shelter sector as well as on increasing cooperation with
NGOs and CBOs.  The Shelter Strategy Support Programme
implemented by UNCHS (Habitat) with financial assistance from the
Government of Finland has been a lead programme providing
assistance to countries in the implementation of the GSS.  Under
this Programme, technical assistance has been provided to six
countries, namely Costa Rica, Indonesia, Nicaragua, the
Philippines, Uganda and Zimbabwe, in the formulation of national
shelter strategies and translating them into viable and
replicable shelter programmes.  The experience of the Programme
has also been documented for global dissemination.  An additional
means of dissemination has been through a series of subregional
seminars for key policy-makers and representatives of the private
sector, NGOs and CBOs.  With UNDP's financial support, technical
assistance has also been provided by UNCHS (Habitat) to a number
of countries on GSS-related activities.  While these activities
have led to the acceptance of the enabling approach and the
formulation of new policies and strategies in many countries,
most of these are yet to reach the stage of implementation with
the introduction of necessary regulatory reforms.  The two main
constraints to the successful implementation of the GSS in most
countries are bottlenecks and inequities in both the functioning
of land markets and in access to credit.

     The World Bank has continued to make a major contribution to
the implementation of the GSS in its shelter-related lending
operations. The Bank's lending commitments for shelter total
approximately $900 million annually (excluding the value of its
related infrastructure lending). The Bank's policy orientations
now clearly reflect the Global Strategy directions and in 1993
the World Bank published a major policy paper entitled Housing:
Enabling Markets to Work which basically operationalizes the
Global Strategy within the Bank's lending operations. 
Accordingly, the Bank's lending has moved away from discrete
sites-and-services and slum-improvement projects towards
supporting enabling elements, particularly infrastructure and
housing finance and urban land management. The Bank's lending has
also tended, over the last two years, to take a holistic view of
the shelter sector, placing more emphasis on sector (regulatory)
reforms and on facilitating efforts by the private sector.

     An important initiative to assist and guide implementation
of the Global Strategy is the on-going Housing Indicators
Programme of UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank.  The Programme
was designed to identify a set of key indicators that would be
policy-sensitive, easy to collect and to update on a regular
basis, with a view to producing a framework for monitoring the
performance of the housing sector.  The indicators provide a
diagnostic tool to measure housing sector performance which is
particularly useful for policy-makers, both to provide effective
monitoring of the performance of the shelter sector and to
measure the effects of policies on housing sector performance.

     To further facilitate shelter construction and improvement,
reformulation and simplification of building standards,
specifications, regulations and codes have been undertaken,
chiefly with the assistance of UNIDO and UNCHS (Habitat), so as
to remove constraints to accelerated housing construction.  Such
reforms are also meant to reduce the cost of housing.  Assistance
by United Nations agencies in this area has been concentrated in
sub-Saharan Africa.  In a number of countries, progress has also
been achieved in the modernization of land mapping and
registration systems, in land titling and in land information
systems, assisted by a number of United Nations system and
bilateral agencies, although normally these interventions have
not been part of any coordinated effort to implement the Global
Strategy for Shelter.

     Although other United Nations agencies support the goal of
shelter for all, their efforts so far have been modest in scope. 
Recently several of the larger United Nations agencies, such as
the ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF and WHO have shown a greater interest in
housing and housing-related issues,  and this interest, if
expressed in actions coordinated with the Strategy, could have a
major impact.  The political and economic transformation of
Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 has led to greater work on
the part of the ECE in the area of housing policy and related
activities, especially land management.  It is also a hopeful
sign that the Commission on Human Rights and other
inter-governmental bodies are focusing greater attention on the
human right to adequate housing.  This could serve as an avenue
through which housing could enter the political arena at the
international level, given the renewed importance being given to
human rights by the international community.

Action by major groups

     Even though the vast majority (around 90 per cent) of
housing development, in most countries is carried out by actors
other than government, or for that matter the international
community, it should be pointed out that bilateral assistance
agencies, in particular USAID through its Housing Guaranty
Program, have had a significant impact in selected target
countries in the past.  The absence of enabling environments,
however, have often impeded the replication of these initiatives. 
Nevertheless, a wealth of experience has been acquired in working
with local NGOs, community groups and, in some cases, with local
authorities and private banks to extend access to credit to low
income groups.

     Many NGOs and low-income community associations have a long
experience of small-scale credit schemes to provide loans for
incremental or new housing investment by low-income households
and communities.  A number of recent initiatives bring together
the experience of NGOs, (capital) donors and financial
institutions in an attempt to increase the scale of operations of
such initiatives.  In Thailand, the Government has invested in a
housing-loan scheme for the urban poor.  In Colombia, the
financial systems developed by national credit unions are being
used on an experimental basis to offer housing loans.  In a
number of other countries proposals are being explored concerning
the feasibility of bringing commercial finance into low-income
community investment.  In addition, NGOs are increasingly seeking
to strengthen their own (institutional) base by identifying
possible sources of domestic funds, in some cases through the
sale of goods and services.

     It is not clear, however, that these individual initiatives
constitute a pattern or a conscious attempt to put into practice
the enabling principles of the Global Strategy for Shelter. 
Active promotion of the Global Strategy for Shelter is limited to
Habitat International Coalition and allied NGO groupings and
networks focusing on human settlements, housing and housing
rights.  But it must be said that these represent only a small
minority of the NGO and voluntary groupings active at the
national and international level. The vast majority of NGOs have
not in the past been interested in urban development and urban
housing, and only recently has this attitude been changing,
albeit gradually.  The absence of strong NGO support at the
international level for housing, especially when compared with
support for environmental issues, may be one of the most
important obstacles facing the programme objective of shelter for

     Apart from the limited NGO support just described, support
for the Global Strategy has, however, been broadly supported by a
number of professional and trade associations, particularly in
the real-estate sector (NAR, CREA, FIABCI etc.), which have taken
a number of effective initiatives to mobilize both public and
private-sector support for shelter development.  They have also
engaged in technical assistance in a limited number of countries
to improve the functioning of housing, financial and land

Final observations

     When taken together, the activities of the United Nations
system and major groups, even if we include those of bilateral
assistance agencies, to achieve the goal of shelter for all have
been very limited when compared with current demand and future
needs.  Although progress in policy advice has been made in a
number of countries, these policies have proved difficult  to put
into practice.  For a number of countries, housing continues not
to be a policy priority, thus protracting the type of weak
sectoral management which has lasted, in many cases, for years. 
The stakes of moving towards an enabling approach to housing are
very high. More effective joint programming and new alliances
within the United Nations system and with development banks and
the private sector to support the formulation and implementation
of national housing policies consistent with the Global Shelter
Strategy would not only result in strengthening the positive
contribution of the housing sector to macro- economic
performance, but would have the type of beneficial consequences
for the poor and the urban environment which are called for by
Agenda 21.


Objectives of the programme

     The principal objective of the programme is to ensure
sustainable management of urban settlements, in order to enhance
their ability to improve the living conditions of people,
especially the marginalized and disenfranchised, thereby
contributing to the achievement of national economic development

Activities of organizations within the United Nations system

     The primary strategic initiative within the United Nations
system to achieve improved human settlements capabilities and
capacities continues to be the Urban Management Programme (UMP),
an inter-agency effort between UNCHS (Habitat), the World Bank
and UNDP.  Over the years, the UMP has also acted as a channel
for external assistance from numerous bilateral agencies.  It is
a global programme which emphasises research, information
dissemination and capacity-building, working through networks of
regional expertise focused on five core issues: land management,
infrastructure management, municipal finance and administration,
urban poverty alleviation and the urban environment. Linked to
the Urban Management Programme, as its operational arm in the
environmental field, is the Sustainable Cities Programme which
provides local authorities and their partners in the public,
private and community sectors with improved environmental
planning and management capacity through demonstration projects.

     These activities are being complemented by other programmes,
such as WHO's Healthy Cities Programme which is focused on the
management of urban health issues and employs a participatory
approach involving coalition-building at the municipal level as
well as networking and information exchange among cities. 
Started in participating cities in North America and Europe, the
Healthy Cities Programme has been recently extended to developing
countries.  The Healthy Cities Programme also seeks to work
through regional networks of cities, such as  CITYNET, the
Asia-Pacific network of local authorities started by ESCAP. 
Another major complementary programme is the Municipal
Development Programme for Africa, a programme initiated by the
World Bank (assisted by the Government of Italy), which operates
in both West and East Africa from programme offices located in
Cotonou and Harare, respectively.

     Recently, the ILO, together with UNCHS (Habitat), UNDP and
the United Nations Volunteers, has entered into an Urban Poverty
Partnership in order to combine their respective expertise in a
more efficient and cost-effective manner.  The aim of the
partnership is job creation for the urban poor and enhancement of
the urban informal sector within the broader context of upgrading
human settlement conditions.

     Other regional initiatives, primarily focused on urban
environmental management, include the Metropolitan Environmental
Improvement Programme (MEIP) in the Asia/Pacific region, the
Urban Environmental Management Programme in Latin America and the
Environmental Programme for the Mediterranean (METAP), all except
the last mentioned programme are joint UNDP/World Bank efforts,
the last programme is also supported by the European Investment
Bank and the ECE.  Other supportive and related initiatives,
although of varying scale, ranging from projects in their pilot
phase to global monitoring programmes, are:  The new Settlement
Infrastructure and Environment Programme (SEIP) of UNCHS
(Habitat), consisting of field research and local
capacity-building to promote better integration in the planning,
delivery and management of environmental infrastructure and
services; the City Data Programme of UNCHS (Habitat) and the
GEMS/Air programme of UNEP and WHO, which support cities in the
systematic development of databases relevant for management of
urban development and urban environment; and, the Community
Development Programme funded by UNCHS (Habitat) and Danida which
aims at effective mobilization of community resources and
community participation in urban development. Its focus is on
research, training and operational activities.  Finally, the
Programme for Environmental Management and Protection of the
Black Sea is a new initiative supported by multilateral and
bilateral donors to reverse environmental degradation of the Sea,
partly through priority investment in municipal services and
industrial pollution control.

     UNICEF's Urban Basic Services (UBS) and Area Based
Programmes (ABS) reflect a primary community-based approach at
the local level.  The ABS approach specifically seeks sustainable
social action in an effort to combine strategies such as
community participation, empowerment of women, capacity-building
and convergent/integrated cross-sectoral interventions to improve
the conditions of children and women in poor rural and urban
settlements.  Almost all UNICEF country programmes include ABS
projects in the poorest areas, and have the technical know-how
and expertise in programme implementation of Basic Services
Packages including health, primary education, early childhood
development, environmental, water and sanitation, and sometimes
income-generating innovative schemes at the local level.  The
local level is also emphasized in UNESCO's work in urban
rehabilitation (particularly of historic centres) and in its
training activities.  UNESCO will also, together with UNEP, carry
out a human settlements management training programme focused on
local initiatives and NGOs and user associations.

     The World Bank has been the major lender for municipal
development and urban infrastructure. This support has taken a
variety of directions, including conventional support for urban
infrastructure. However, increasingly the focus of lending has
become more programmatic and policy-oriented and has also
included lending to municipal development funds or banks. 
Additionally, an important development in the post-UNCED period
is the growing environmental lending programme of the World Bank
in the urban sector.  This programme is guided by the Bank's new
policy to guide urban lending and sector work to focus on urban
economic productivity, poverty alleviation, enhanced urban
research, and protection of the urban environment.  The new
policy is based on the premise that degradation of the urban
environment has adverse effects on human health and resources,
both of which have negative consequences for the urban poor and
economic productivity. The Bank is also strengthening its policy
for environmental assessment of projects.  In 1993, 35 per cent
of its urban, transport, water and sanitation projects were
assessed for environmental impact.

     To varying degrees the major urban management initiatives
just described all have the following characteristics:

-    Reliance upon a broad-based participatory approach, to build
up effective local management procedures and institutions which
involve all the major actors (NGOs, community groups, the private
sector, the poor, women etc.) in the process of planning and
implementing urban development;

-    Mobilization and utilization of local resources (financial,
economic, technical, human) through direct involvement and
participation by all the major municipal interest groups;

-    Emphasis on support for, and collaboration with, local
government and local institutions, and on the strengthening of
their financial, managerial and operational capacities;

-    Building up a new management style, based on local
government and related local institutions and organizations,
which has a process rather than a plan orientation, which is
concerned with "connectedness" rather than comprehensiveness,
which emphasizes collaboration and consensus rather then
bureaucracy and hierarchy, and which integrates decision-making,
strategic planning, implementation and operations;

-    Focus on issues of key strategic importance, especially
those requiring cross-sectoral and inter-organizational
coordination and collaboration, such as topics concerning the
interaction of urban development and environment.

-    Demand orientation within the broad policy framework of
urban management.

     These urban management capacity-building activities do,
however, raise the question of what linkages should be
established between them, to avoid duplication of effort and to
achieve maximum effectiveness in resource use.  The partner
agencies in the UMP have made this a priority in order to create
much-needed synergies.  The issue has been discussed under the
auspices of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the
OECD, where the focus has been on reaching a common vision of
urban development shared by the multilateral and bilateral
institutions engaged in urban development and management as a
first step towards more cost-efficient and -effective

Actions by major groups

     It should be said at the very outset that at the
neighbourhood level in virtually every major city and town in the
developing world, the urban poor have banded together into self-
help groups in order to build simple, if imperfect, shelters,
collect rubbish and waste, provide for sanitary facilities and
water supply, and earn money in a kaleidoscope of ways through
collective effort in order to survive.  Most of this rudimentary
form of community management is undocumented.  Some examples,
such as Villa El Salvador in Lima, Peru, are well-known success
stories.  Often these efforts have been undertaken despite
government, many times in direct opposition to local authorities. 
And this has in turn left a legacy of animosity and distrust
which has yet to be overcome.  One of the explicit aim of United
Nations management activities has been not so much about
organizing low-income communities, but about bringing already
existing community organizations into local decision-making
processes, and into partnership with local public officials and
in touch with the private sector.

     This rich tradition of self-help and community activism is
also being built up in the Local Environmental Agenda initiatives
which have sprung up in a number of municipalities around the
world since UNCED.  Promoted by, among others, ICLEI, these local
environmental initiatives have an explicitly urban emphasis and
municipal focus, along the lines of the old credo of the
environment movement: "think globally, act locally" and this
thinking is in line with the observation made earlier in this
paper that global sustainable development challenges will have to
be addressed in the physical, political, economic and social
environment of human settlements.  Many of the issues around
which local environmental initiatives have been focusing their
work are of direct relevance to the human settlements development
and urban management agenda: safe waste disposal, clean water
supply, sanitation, pollution control.  The participatory,
bottom-up and inclusive approach of these initiatives, should
they proliferate in the course of the Agenda 21 implementation,
could also help to strengthen the process of democratization at
the municipal level and enhance the urban management process,
leading to a more equitable distribution of resources and

     Another significant change since the Earth Summit is the
increased use of participatory tools and methods through which
external agencies (NGOs, government agencies, international
donors) work with low-income groups and their community
organizations.  Environmental issues have also become much better
integrated into the problem diagnosis and action plans developed
by these participatory processes.  In addition, it is also being
recognized that addressing the needs and priorities of the
poorest groups usually has major environmental spin-offs -
including improved environmental health and improved access to
and better use of the natural environment.  The term "primary
environmental care" has been given to the process by which local
groups organize themselves, with some external support, to apply
their skills and knowledge to the care of natural resources and
the environment while meeting their livelihood and health needs. 
This community-level integration of meeting human needs while
working within ecological limits was one of the main messages of
Agenda 21.  Many of the Northern private voluntary agencies now
incorporate primary environmental care within their work.  Among
the large official donors, UNICEF is making increasing use of
primary environmental care as a way of integrating environmental
concerns within its traditional focus on community-based action
and empowerment in addressing the needs of poor women and

     Another activity of major groups conducive to improvements
in human settlements management has been the initiatives of
Northern associations of local authorities - national, regional
and inter-regional - in assisting municipalities in developing
countries upgrade their technical capacity and management
approaches through financing, training and exchange programmes. 
The most significant of these is Towns and Development, a
consortium of NGOs and national local-government associations
dedicated to promoting greater North-South cooperation through
joint local action.  With handbooks, pamphlets, newsletters,
conferences and meetings, Towns and Development has slowly built
a network of communities in which community groups, NGOs and
local authorities work alongside each other in twinning,
development education and other kinds of "community-based
development initiatives", an approach promoted by Towns and
Development since 1985.

     In 1990, Towns and Development organized an international
North-South Conference on Local Initiatives for Sustainable
Development, and the success of this meeting led to Towns and
Development and its members working with partners in the South. 
Along with the United Kingdom One World Linking Association
(UKOWLA) and with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat,
OXFAM and Christian Aid, it cooperated with a group of NGOs,
community groups, and local authorities in Africa to hold a
Conference in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in 1990, entitled "South-North
Linking for Development".  The outcome of this Conference was the
Bulawayo Appeal and the establishment of an Africa
Community-based Development Initiatives Secretariat.  This was
followed by another similar conference in Sevagram, India, which
culminated in another appeal for greater justice in India through
local action.  Besides the Towns and Development network, other
related movements have also sprung up.  Municipal involvement in
developing countries is also promoted by the Standing Conference
of Local and Regional Authorities through the North-South Centre
of the Council of Europe.  All this has led to an explosion of
linking and twinning programmes between Northern and Southern
municipalities over the past years.

     Twinning and linking invariably lead to projects.  For
example, the community-based development initiatives promoted by
Towns and Development aim at sharing and exchanging the
communities' special expertise and know-how with one another. 
Increasingly, individual municipalities and their professional
and technical organizations are offering their services to
counterparts abroad.  They are encouraged to do so in a growing
number of countries by their national associations, which
themselves play an initiating, supportive and coordinating role,
(Canada, Finland, France, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian
countries and the United Kingdom, for example).

     In 1988, with assistance from the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA), the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities launched its Africa 2000 Programme, which funds
city-to-city technical exchanges for up to three years.  Each
participating Canadian city is expected to provide three city
administrators or technicians to work briefly in Africa, and to
host two or more professionals from the African community for
three weeks.  CIDA provides communities with matching funds of up
to $25,000, which they can use to cover expenses, to buy
equipment for African partners, and to start up projects.  Thus
far, 37 Canadian communities have participated.

     Beginning in 1991, the VNG, the Netherlands municipal
association, began a programme to provide Southern partners not
only with technical know how but also with briefings on civil
society and local democracy.  For up to three months experienced
Netherlands municipal officers are sent South, and for up to six
months, municipal officers from the developing countries have
city internships in the Netherlands.  Netherlands participants
continue to receive salaries from their cities, while the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs covers their travel costs.  The
Ministry also pays municipalities that provide internships a
weekly compensation cheque.  At the end of 1991, 60 Netherlands
municipalities indicated that they wanted to participate in this
programme which seems to have been intensified since UNCED.

     This type of international cooperation is increasingly
supported by regional and international networks of cities.  The
International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) began promoting
inter-municipal cooperation in the 1960s.  It also started a
training programme, Decentralization for Development, which was
intended for municipal officials from developing countries. 
Similar programmes are being carried out by the United Towns
Organization (UTO) and more region specific organizations like
the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) (which
is the European section of IULA), CITYNET and the Union of Ibero
American Capitals and Cities (UCCI).

     Increasingly such initiatives obtain (financial) support
from bilateral and multilateral donor agencies which want to
foster forms of decentralized cooperation.  Examples of the
latter are the European Union, UNDP and the World Bank.  Such an
involvement on the part of United Nations agencies with a major
stake in the improvement of urban management would appear to be
timely and should be expanded so that the activities of these
major groups can be brought more closely under the umbrella of
Agenda 21 implementation, which is only partially the case now.

Final observations

     What the activities of major groups illustrate, for one
thing, is that human settlements are becoming more and more the
focal point of activities to implement Agenda 21 and other
objectives.  They further illustrate that some of the major
groups, such as local authority associations and NGOs, may be
moving ahead of United Nations agencies in the implementation of
some goals of the human settlements programme of Chapter 7,
consciously or unconsciously.  As stated earlier, this would seem
to call for better cooperation and coordination between major
groups and United Nations agencies engaged in activities under
this programme area so both share the same "common vision"
discussed before as well as a set of defined goals.  Such
cooperation also offers the possibility of a better use of
resources.  The issue of resources is in fact important to
mention, as a number of UN agencies have been unable to expand
their work in the area of human settlements management due to the
decline in funding flowing to United Nations agencies engaged in
development work, although there are some exceptions to this
general rule.  All this impacts, unless redressed, on the ability
of these agencies to play a leading role in the implementation of
Agenda 21.


Objectives of the programme

     The objective is to provide for the land requirements of
human settlements through environmentally sound physical planning
and land use so as to facilitate access to land to all households
and, where appropriate, the encouragement of communally and
collectively- owned and managed land.  Particular attention
should be paid to the needs of women and indigenous people for
economic and cultural reasons.  Rapidly expanding urban
population growth requires land for the physical expansion of
human settlements at equal rates.  This has been the experience
of the past decades, and will most likely continue in future. 
Already as a consequence of past urban growth, access to land is
being rendered increasingly difficult by the conflicting demands
of industry, housing, commerce, agriculture, land-tenure
structures and the need for open spaces.  Access to land, at
affordable costs, is becoming an ever-increasing bottleneck to
urban development and to access on the part of the poor to
housing.  The process of land titling and land mapping has
already fallen far behind the pace of urban growth, delaying the
start-up of development activities in urban areas.  Ineffective
land-use planning is leading to chaotic city growth in many
countries as well as to absorption of good agricultural land into
municipalities for physical development purposes.  All of this
puts into question environmentally-sustainable human settlements
development and growth.

Activities of the organizations of the United Nations system

     Activities in this programme area have involved promoting,
advancing, monitoring and assessing land policies and strategies,
the impacts of land-related activities on human settlements
development, analysis of procedures, regulations and instruments
for the progressive modernization of land-tenure systems, and the
formulation and implementation of land policies - all these aimed
at improving the land management system and facilitating access
to land by a majority of the population.  Governments,
particularly in developing countries, are being encouraged and
assisted to institute measures which stimulate the allocation of
adequate supplies of land to meet the requirements of orderly and
equitable human settlements development, particularly to meet the
shelter needs of low-income groups and women.  This includes
measures to encourage the private sector to increase the supply
of land, improve administrative and technical capacities for land
registration, and legal reforms to promote the efficiency of land
markets.  Improving access to land by low-income groups has
significant impacts on poverty alleviation and on reducing social

     One innovative technique which has been successfully
implemented in some developing countries - notably in Bangkok -
has been land-sharing.  The land-sharing technique is an
innovative approach to resolving the usual conflict between
landowners and slum dwellers by which agreements are negotiated
between the two sides to readjust and share the land.  This
enables the poor to stay where they are and gain formal land
tenure, albeit in return for considerably reduced housing plots. 
For the landowners, land-sharing is a realistic solution as it
makes land available for immediate development, thereby reducing
uncertainties and reducing the costs associated with long,
drawn-out eviction cases.  It also makes provision for essential
public uses such as access roads, drainage and other
infrastructure.  This is a technique of land management which
could be relevant in many developing countries cities and
therefore a relevant area for aid programmes.

     Land management is one of the major components of the
already-described global Urban Management Programme.  One of the
immediate objectives of the land-management component of the
Urban Management Programme is to develop and promote better
approaches to land issues, with particular attention to
land-tenure and land-rights questions, land-use policies and land
markets, land redevelopment policies (particularly in urban/rural
fringe areas), the management of public lands and the design and
implementation of affordable land-information systems (cadastres,
titling, mapping etc.).  The programme aims particularly at
developing comprehensive analyses and guidelines on various
aspects of land development and management with a view to
extracting and disseminating experience.  Based on these lessons,
the UMP also works to develop improved and better focused
technical assistance programmes.  Current efforts include, among
others, advisory assistance to Governments on land tenure (in
Ghana, Madagascar, and the Philippines); assistance to
Governments on improving land registration (in Bolivia, Colombia,
Ghana, Madagascar and the Philippines); assistance to Governments
in the establishment of improved land-information systems (in
Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Pakistan and Singapore); and
assistance to Governments in the formulation of land development
policies and mechanisms (in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon,
Indonesia, Madagascar and Rwanda).  The World Bank is also
supporting land-information system activities currently in urban
areas of Bolivia, Cameroon, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mali,
Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Tunisia.

     Bilateral agencies also appear to be increasingly offering
assistance to developing countries in several areas of land-use
planning and management.  The Australian Government, through its
development assistance agency (AIDAB), is supporting land-
information system (LIS) activities in Papua New Guinea, the
Philippines and Thailand. Germany, through its agencies BMZ and
GTZ, is supporting activities in Brazil, Haiti and Nepal.  Canada
is supporting similar activities in China, Indonesia and the
Caribbean.  The Netherlands is supporting the development of the
Colombian fiscal cadastre and the land- information system
programme in La Paz, Bolivia.  Finnish assistance in this areas
has gone to Angola, Bangladesh and Egypt and USAID supports
similar activities in Egypt, Pakistan and Central America.  In a
similar vein, the British Overseas Development Administration
(ODA) has sponsored land-delivery system studies in some
developing countries.  Some of these studies, as in Zambia,
attempt to identify the main issues of land policies affecting
the land-delivery system and the operational/procedural issues
affecting policy implementation and to analyse the practicability
and implications of alternative solutions and options for
improvements.  Over recent years, there has been significant and
effective Swedish technical aid in the information and record
systems of the Lands and Survey Departments of the Government of
Zambia.  This includes computerization of the property register,
revenue records and the land and deeds register, the improvements
to record storage and work on cadastral survey and mapping
programmes.  Further improvements are proposed, in a continuation
of this aid agreement, including the microfilming of all survey
diagrams and registered documents and a review of the
decentralization requirements of the Lands Department.  The
Government of the Netherlands has been providing assistance to
the Government of Indonesia on management and delivery systems of
land for human settlements.  This assistance covers practically
all aspects of land-use planning, management and administration.

Activities by major groups

     Activities by major groups in this programme are restricted
to assistance on the part of scientific and technical institutes,
most often assisted by governments of the donor countries in
which these institutes are located.  Professional associations,
such as the International Federation of Surveyors, provide
information exchange and limited technical assistance to local
authorities and institutes engaged in land mapping and surveying
in developing countries.  NGOs and community groups have a minor
role in these technical activities and exchanges, although the
experience of land-sharing projects and other similar schemes has
demonstrated the need to involve such groups if access to land by
the urban poor is to be achieved.  Socio-cultural and legal
obstacles in many countries continue to make it difficult for
women to gain access to land, despite some promising
international projects. In developing countries, as everywhere,
land is a source of economic and political power, and this
continues to be a powerful factor hindering access to land by the
urban poor.

Final observations

     Given the importance of land and equitable land management
and land-use planning for the success of other programme areas of
Chapter 7, such as "Shelter for All", as well as for sustainable
development objectives in human settlements in general, it is
clear that land has not been given the priority it deserves.  So
far, given the scale of urban  land problems, efforts inside and
outside the United Nations system have not been nearly at par
with the challenges at hand, and this is a state of affairs which
deserves the immediate urgent attention of decision-makers and
those concerned with the implementation of Agenda 21.


Objectives of the programme

     The primary objective of the programme, as stated in Agenda
21, is to ensure the provision of adequate environmental
infrastructure facilities in all settlements by the year 2025. By
setting this target, the international community has again
underscored the critical importance of environmental
infrastructure and services, water, sanitation, drainage and
solid- aste management, in improving health and the quality of
life, and in increasing productivity, especially for the urban
and rural poor.

     Experience from the International Drinking Water Supply and
Sanitation Decade, 1981-1990, however, clearly demonstrates that
achieving this goal will not be easy, with some 243 million still
remaining unserved with water supply and 377 million without
sanitation, in urban areas alone; and this number is steadily
rising.  Not only for water and sanitation, urgent attention is
also required to strengthen the capacity of local authorities for
solid-waste management.  Many developing country cities are
choking with waste, with city authorities unable to remove more
than a third of the solid waste generated each day. 

     Given the magnitude of the task, and the fact that an
expectation of increased future inflow of international resources
into the sector will be, at best, unrealistic, achieving the goal
of Agenda 21 will require a strategy that will set the priorities
right, mobilize the commitment and resources of all
stake-holders, and maximize the real value of past and future
investments by focusing on improved efficiency in the provision,
maintenance and management of environmental infrastructure and
services.  This is the crux of the "integrated approach" strategy
articulated in Agenda 21.

Activities of organizations within the United Nations system

     As the focal point within the United Nations system for
human settlements development, the United Nations Centre for
Human Settlements (Habitat) is supporting the implementation of
Agenda 21 by assisting governments and communities to enhance
their capacity to provide and manage affordable environmental
infrastructure services and promoting the involvement of the
"major groups", especially local governments, NGOs, the private
sector and women. The activities of the Centre are implemented
through a number of complementary programmes such as the
Settlement Infrastructure Environment Programme, the Urban
Management Programme, the Sustainable Cities Programme, the
Community Development Programme and the City Data Base Programme.

     The major substantive thrusts of these programmes are
directed at building capacity at local level to respond
effectively to the demand of the communities with the involvement
of service users, addressing equity concerns in urban service
delivery through appropriate standards and services, enhancing
management capacities for operations and maintenance, and
building partnerships among a broad range of institutional

     The World Bank has also shifted its focus from the
traditional supply-side approach to infrastructure to an on-going
process of delivering services, based on the demands of users and
their willingness to pay for services. The strategy is to achieve
this through greater involvement of the private sector and
increased community participation in design, together with a
renewed attention to maintenance of existing investments.  Recent
investment projects financed by the Bank focus on improving water
quality through improved sanitation and water treatement;
minimizing urban environmental risks through flood control and
drainage; as well as  protecting urban land resources through
solid-waste management.

     An important post-UNCED initiative of UNDP in the field of
urban environmental infrastructure is Phase II of the Urban
Management Programme.  Phase II is built on the lessons learned
in the first stage through sharing of individual country
experiences with infrstructure planning, financing and

     The focus of the Global Water and Environmental Sanitation
Strategy being formulated by UNICEF is on integrating water,
sanitation and hygiene education; the Strategy envisages national
plans of action with emphasis on community participation, NGO and
private-sector cooperation and women's involvement. Especially
targeted are deprived areas and women.

     The Global Strategy for Health and Environment prepared by
WHO includes water supply and sanitation as an important
component to address the health aspects of

environmental pollution.  The main elements of the strategy  are
environmental risk assessment and management, information
systems, strengthened community action and capacity-building.

Action by major groups

     It is now well recognized that because of the inability of
governments to meet existing demands, communities and households,
especially in low-income urban areas of developing countries, are
already among the main contributors to settlements construction
and water supply and sanitation service operation.  Women, in
particular, play an important role in organizing their
communities and mobilizing local resources. However, these
activities often do not evolve into sustainable forms of
settlements development and resource management since they are
carried out in a non-formal manner, reacting to immediate needs,
with variable degrees of efficiency, and insufficient
coordination with overall goals for settlements development and
resources management.

     To improve these conditions, United Nations bodies are
increasingly applying a community-based approach to the execution
of activities on water and sustainable urban development.
Practical applications of this approach can be seen in the field
projects implemented by UNICEF, the UNDP-World Bank Water and
Sanitation Programme, and in the UNCHS (Habitat) Community
Participation Programme.

     The work of action-oriented national and international NGOs
tends to focus on the provision of assistance to communities in
strengthening their capacity for participation in the execution
of activities on water and sustainable urban development. Being
an extremely heterogenous sector, the performance and
effectiveness of NGOs in achieving the above objectives is
variable. One of the main constraints to optimizing the
contribution of NGOs is the lack of an appropriate legal and
institutional environment to facilitate their operation and to
ensure the coordination of their activities with those being
executed by the public sector.  An important initiative in this
area launched at UNCED by UNDP is the inter- regional Local
Initiative Facility for Urban Environment (LIFE) started by UNDP
to promote "local-local" dialogue among municipal governments,
NGOs and CBOs to improve the urban environment.  LIFE supports
activities at the local and other levels, including documentation
and transfer of successful approaches replicable at local level.

     Since infrastructure facilities are considered as public
goods, their management has been traditionally associated with
the public sector. However, many public-sector agencies have
failed to modernize management procedures in response to evolving
demands and technological development. In this regard, countries
are currently being forced to review the role of government
agencies in the management of public goods, and to look the
functions that could be better performed by other agents, such as
the private sector.

     The experience of private-sector performance in the
management of infrastructure development in developing countries
is still too limited to draw general conclusions. However, there
is agreement that the private sector has a great potential of
playing a more active role in this area. Successful experiences
in the private managemnt of water-supply services in countries
like Chile and Cte d'Ivoire still have to be evaluated in more
detail before being replicated in other contexts. In this regard,
agencies like the World Bank, UNDP and UNCHS (Habitat) are taking
initial steps towards assessing the potential role of the private
sector and developing programmes to strengthen their involvement
in infrastructure development. An encouraging example of such
effort is the recent joint initiative of UNDP and the Business
Council on Sustainable Development and bilateral agencies for
public-private partnerships in the area of environmental

Final observations

     The key issues and perceptions emerging from the system-wide
consultative process leading to UNCED and the efforts of the
United Nations agencies since then  may be summarized as:

-    Sectoral planning, which still remains the most common
approach to basic service provision, has serious limitations in
ensuring cost-effective and environmentally sound solutions;

-    The lack of community involvement in project development has
remained a serious constraint to sustainable infrastructure
development. There is an urgent need to develop practical and
replicable methods for the assessment of the effective demands of
communities and local capacities to incorporate such demand in
the planning process;

-    Past sector investment patterns indicate excessive emphasis
on new provision often at the cost of opearation and maintenance,
with consequent deterioration of existing facilities leading to
increasing supply-demand imbalances;

-    The lack of adequate financing mechanisms remains a serious
constraint to service expansion. Most public suppliers of
infrastructure lack creditworthiness to introduce debt financing.
Private investment in infrastructure is also restricted by
immature financial markets. Increasing the financial viability of
responsible authorities, through cost recovery based on effective
demand, could be one way to ensure improved sector investment.


Objectives of the programme

     Agenda 21 essentially deals with energy and transport
systems in Chapter 9 in the context of their impact on changes in
the atmosphere.  This programme area is concerned with meeting,
in a sustainable way, households' demand for energy and people's
needs for local transport.  This specific focus of the programme
area stems from the recognition of the following:

-    The consumption of energy in the household sector and in
local transport grows constantly in absolute terms and on a per
capita basis, becoming the main source of air pollution in human

-    The air pollution related to urban transport and to energy
production and consumption by households has, in particular in
developing countries, a strong adverse impact on the health of
people, because local concentrations of pollution are high and
coincide with poor housing conditions and overcrowding of urban
area.  For example, in Mexico City, transport accounted by the
end of the 1980s for 99 per cent of carbon oxide, 89 per cent of
hydrocarbons and 64 per cent of nitrogen oxides.  About 80 per
cent of these emissions came from automobiles. The dependence of
large segments of the population on wood fuel adds to
deforestation and desertification problems;

-    The reliance of people on automobiles increases the pressure
of transport on the demand for urban land;

-    The costs of energy and transport bear increasingly on
household budgets, hampering eradication of poverty.

     For the above problems to be alleviated, human settlements
development strategies, incorporating energy, transport, housing,
land-use and environmental concerns need to be adopted by local
and national governments and an institutional and regulatory
framework suitable for devising and implementation of such
strategies established.  This should lead to a wider use of new
and renewable energy sources and energy-saving technologies in
the household sector; to the promotion of transport modes
alternative to individual motor-vehicle use; to a better traffic
and transport management and to the integration of transport and
land- use planning able to reduce the transport demand and the
exposure of people to environmental risk.  Equally important are
the building of public understanding of and support for such a
strategy, and the involvement of the private sector in the
strategy's implementation.

     Although action on the national and local levels is crucial,
developing countries will, however, require substantial technical
assistance in the implementation of this programme of Chapter 7,
especially with regard to institutional capacity-building.  They
will also require the facilitation of technology transfer and
financial assistance for the development and production of energy
systems and appliances and, in particular, for the development of
energy-saving, but expensive, high-capacity public transport

Activities of the organizations of the United Nations system

     Numerous activities of various organizations within the
United Nations system contribute directly or indirectly to the
implementation of this programme area, especially to the
development of new and renewable sources of energy (NRSE). 
Technical assistance provided to developing countries includes
the supply of equipment, training and feasibility studies.  For
example, UNIDO promotes the manufacture of NRSE equipment, UNESCO
is active in training in NRSE technologies, FAO is involved in
fuelwood production, while UNCHS (Habitat) promotes a wider use
of biomass energy technologies, including their
commercialization.  WMO focuses on the inter-relationship between
environment, energy and urban building.  The financial assistance
provided by the multilateral bank system to the energy sector
amounts to several billion dollars annually.

     However, given the decentralized system of programming and
decision-making, it is difficult to establish to what extent the
United Nations system specifically can meet household energy
demand in a sustainable way.  It is particularly difficult to
assess how far these actions go  beyond the improvement of energy
supply and also deal with energy saving.  So far, the United
Nations system has not established common policies and strategies
for sustainable energy development on global, regional and
national levels and does not possess any mechanism to monitor and
assess, in a consistent way, the impact of energy production,
transmission, conversion and use on the environment.  Also, there
is no initiative which addresses, in a comprehensive manner, the
issue of energy efficiency in the development of human

     UNIDO is undertaking activities aimed at the minimization of
energy consumption in the total life-cycle of building.  At the
regional level, ECE is organizing workshops on the conservation
of energy in human settlements, ECA has prepared guidelines for
the development of sustainable energy and transport systems in
human settlements, and ESCWA has produced a manual for the
development of environmentally sustainable human settlements in
Southern Arabia which addresses energy issues.

     Transport in urban areas has long been a marginal issue in
the United Nations system's activity in the transport sector.  It
was also given a low priority in the housing- centred activities
in the field of human settlements.  Moreover, concern was mainly
with the improvement of transport availability and economic
efficiency, while much less attention was given to the impact of
transport on the environment.  Recent activities more directly
related to the development of sustainable transport systems in
human settlements include, inter alia, UNCHS (Habitat)'s research
on public transport improvement strategies for large cities in
developing countries; UNCRD research projects on urban
development and transport in Asian metropolises, aimed at the
improvement of coordination of land-use, transport and
environmental policies; numerous UNDP technical assistance
projects concerned with urban transport and developed in
collaboration with DSMS, ILO and ESCAP; and the WHO Healthy
Cities Project, which includes activities on the alleviation of
the transport impact on health.  Issues related to urban
transport, its environmental impact and interaction with land-
use, will be addressed by the activities carried out within the
framework of the Second United Nations Transport and
Communication Decade for Africa, 1991-2000 (UNTACDA II).

     The most significant impact on urban transport in developing
countries is made by the World Bank.  The current level of
lending for urban transport is roughly at the level US$ 100
million per annum, with greater than earlier emphasis on projects
promising not only a high economic return but also favourable
city-wide impacts on productivity, poverty alleviation and the
environment.  Institution building and policy development -
particularly to promote efficiency in public transport - continue
to be central to most of the Bank's assistance to urban
transport.  This assistance is accompanied by a considerable
amount of research on urban transport and the publication of
policy and working papers which influence significantly the
policies adopted by developing countries, an influence which may
be facilitated by the Bank's role in assisting developing
countries in the implementation of structural adjustment

Activities by major groups

     The development of urban transport in a way compatible with
the principles of sustainable development requires a
participatory approach.

     Urban transport is essentially a local matter and local
governments (metropolitan and/ or municipal) have to play the key
role in its development.  Only the authorities at the local level
can reach out to the parallel transport systems of the city to
encourage compatible action in various transport modes, to manage
traffic, to set appropriate prices for transport services and to
control the use of land.  However, in most developing countries
decisions on urban transport are made on the wrong level, and the
primary actor is, in fact, national government.  While good
knowledge of local conditions and the recognition of the needs of
local populations should be a basis for the coordination of
action by different agencies involved in urban transport,
vertical and sectoral isolation prevails, resulting in a lack of
consistent development policies and in a low level of integration
of transport networks.

     In developing countries, with the exception of China, India
and a few other countries, urban public transport is dominated by
the private sector (this does not pertain to rail-based public
transport which is practically everywhere in the hands of the
public sector, but globally has little share in public transport
services).  Also in developed countries there is a tendency to
increase the involvement of the private sector in the provision
of public transport.  However, private operators will not invest
in environmentally sound technologies unless they are provided
with adequate incentives.  Their interest is to maximize profit
and not necessarily the passenger turnover.  Moreover, in most
cities of developing countries, the private sector consists
largely of small-scale operators with very limited ability to
invest in technological improvements for environmental reasons. 
In order to make the private sector contributive to the
development of environmentally sound urban transport, new forms
of public private partnership are required, the need for which is
not yet recognized in developing countries.

     Non-governmental organizations, in particular
community-based groups in developed countries, are increasing
their pressure on the management of urban transport in an
environmentally sustainable way.  This is not yet the case in
developing countries where the public concern is rather with the
improvement of mobility, availability of transport and safety. 
This has been a particular objective of womens groups.  Weakness
of local authorities and the segmented institutional
responsibilities for urban transport additionally hamper the
dialogue between NGOs and transport authorities.  However, NGOs
can contribute a lot to the improvement and enhancement of
non-motorized transport, and to community-organized transport
services, but few governments encourage such initiatives.

     As for energy, the activities of NGOs and community groups
have been focused on household energy use and, in particular, on
the more efficient use of biomass, the principal fuel of the
poor.  This has often involved the introduction of new technical
solutions, developed by research and scientific institutes and
disseminated and promoted by NGOs, and community and womens
groups.  Bilateral agencies and international NGOs have assisted
this process.

Final observations

     Given limited nature of the activities of the United Nations
and others in the area of urban transport in particular and the
importance of energy-efficient and less-polluting mass transport
modes to sustainable development, a more extensive inter-agency
initiative in this crucial area seems to be called for which
reaches out to the private business sector, as the principal
provider and developer of energy-efficient transport, and
collaborates with research institutes on urban transport and
local authorities.  Such an initiative should, inter alia:

-    Promote the development of institutions and mechanisms for
integrated urban management so as to overcome the constraints
created by sectoral approaches, in particular, by separate
management of road development, public transport, land-use etc.;

-    Encourage the decentralization to the local level of
decisions on urban transport, while insisting on the adoption of
national urban transport strategies;

-    Channel financial support to urban transport development
through local authorities with apex responsibility over urban
development rather than through sectoral agencies;

-    Promote the development of and provide support to national
transport research centres in the public and private domains and
assist their networking on a regional basis;

-    Concentrate on research on monitoring the evolution of urban
transport conditions and transport/land use/environment

-    Increase cooperation with the international professional
organizations and support the establishment of professional
associations in developing countries;

-    Involve the participation of users, especially the poor, in
transport choice and planning.


Objective of the programme area

     The objective of the programme area is to avert excessive
losses as the consequence of natural and other disasters and to
diminish, whenever this is possible, the risk of disaster
occurrence, by:

-    Reducing the vulnerability of human settlements to damage;

-    Preventing the undertaking of activities which increase the
risk of disaster as well as controlling environmental changes
which lead to such risk;

-    Appropriate preparedness to act in case of emergency and in
response to disaster;

-    Increasing the ability to undertake immediately the
rehabilitation and reconstruction which not only restores but
also improves the quality and sustainablity of human settlements.

     The implementation of the programme is based on: developing
the culture of safety and understanding of the methods for
natural-hazard management among the general public and all agents
involved in development process; enhancing physical development
planning and management; encouraging preparedness activities and
building the institutional and community capacity to act in a
state of emergency; and providing for a continuum from
reconstruction to development.

Activities of organizations within the United Nations system

     Most disaster-related activities of the organizations within
the United Nations system have been isolated relief and
reconstruction activities, undertaken in response to sudden
natural disasters, rather than activities constituting
coordinated programmes that incorporated a concern about
disasters into overall development strategies. Nevertheless, the
organizations within the United Nations system have contributed
also substantially to capacity-building in the management of
natural hazards, by developing risk and vulnerability assessment
methods (UNICEF, UNDRO and WMO), incorporating the concept of
hazard reduction into human settlements planning and management
(UNCHS (Habitat)), developing and disseminating know-how on
disaster-resistant construction and building materials (UNIDO),
and directing attention to and instructing on preparedness
actions (UNDRO).

     General Assembly resolution 44/236 which proclaimed the
1990s as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
emphasised, in particular, the need for increasing the capacity
to manage natural-disaster-related hazards, by intensifying
scientific and engineering research, devising appropriate
guidelines and development strategies, establishing early warning
systems and providing relevant technical assistance to developing
countries which should also include technology transfer,
education and training.

     New in the United Nations policy on disaster preparedness
and mitigation is the recognition that gradual but severe
ecological degradation either represents another form of disaster
or substantially increases the risk of disaster, and that action
towards the prevention and mitigation of disasters are
inseparable from implementation of sustainable development
policies. Industrial and technological accidents, wars and civil
strife as well as the recurrence of epidemics are also changing
the way in which disasters are perceived.

     In this regard, the creation of the United Nations
Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) and the work of the
Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Post-war and Disaster
Reconstruction and Rehabilitation can be seen as an attempt to
respond to emerging demands in the execution of disaster-related
programmes and to strengthen the links between overall
development planning and disaster-related interventions. Equally,
the establishment of the United Nations Inter-agency Standing
Committee Task Force on the Relief to Development Continuum
represents an opportunity to review the policy on and operational
approaches to disaster-related activities. This opportunity has
been taken by UNCHS (Habitat) and UNEP, which established a joint
Task Force on the Continuum from Relief to Development with the
aim to integrate human settlements and environmental concerns in
the process of post-disaster reconstruction.  It is also worth
noting here that UNHCR has taken steps to ensure that human
disasters do not turn into environmental ones as well by
introducing guidelines for the environment-sensitive management
of refugee settlements.

     At the country level, the United Nations Disaster Management
Teams have proved to be an effective coordinating mechanism for
the United Nations system country support operations. However,
these teams should be enabled to make better use of the
substantive and operational capacities of the various agencies of
the United Nations system and to ensure better integration of
relief programmes  into longer term settlements and national
development activities.

Actions by major groups

     Well-organized community actions, appropriately guided by
local authorities, are crucial for an early abatement of the
catastrophic chain of events usually triggered by a sudden
disaster and can reduce losses substantially.  The involvement of
NGOs, in particular of professional organizations, is important
for developing, in cooperation with CBOs, the culture of safety
among local communities and in the private sector. International
and national NGOs, such as the International Committee of the Red
Cross, OXFAM, CARE and Caritas, have proved their efficiency in
carrying out disaster relief activities, even in complex physical
and political environments. Therefore, the organizations within
the United Nations system should give attention, as UNDP already
does, to development of the capacity of local authorities, NGOs
and CBOs to act in a state of emergency and to manage natural
hazards. They should also strengthen their collaboration with
international NGOs specialized in disaster-relief activities so
as to benefit from their experience, inter alia, in devising
disaster- preparedness strategies.

Final observations

     It is clear that the United Nations system, as can be seen
through the establishment of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee,
is determined to become more active in this programme area,
although the emphasis of the Committee seems to be more on
post-war reconstruction tied to the peacekeeping duties of the
United Nations.  Disaster preparedness and planning seem to
become a priority only after the disaster has already occurred. 
It is not yet linked to other sustainable development programmes. 
It is not yet a routine function and is in danger of becoming a
neglected area of Chapter 7 of Agenda 21.  To reverse this
unfortunate trend, the following recommendations are offered:

-    Linking disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation,
emergency response, rehabilitation and reconstruction to
sustainable development programmes;

-    Technical assistance programmes to build the capacity of
national and local authorities as well as of the local
communities and their organizations in the management of natural

-    Supporting the establishment of national early warning
systems and facilitating the access of local communities and the
private sector to information on natural and other hazards;

-    Improving the cooperation of the organizations within the
United Nations system, multilateral organizations and
international NGOs;

-    Building an understanding that development planning and
control, incorporating measures to prevent the deterioration of
natural environment, are essential for averting excessive losses
in the wake of disasters and for reducing the risk of disasters
in general.


Objectives of the programme

     Sustainable construction activities are vital to achieving
national socio-economic development goals, including human
settlement development goals.  But the sustainability of
construction activities are affected in two ways.  First, the
construction sector is a major consumer of the world's
non-renewable resources including energy resources.  Secondly,
construction activities contribute to the degradation of the
environment in several ways but mainly through physical
disruption and atmospheric pollution.  Moreover, several
construction resources currently in use are harmful to human

     The primary objective of this programme area is, therefore,
to promote policies, strategies and technologies that may enable
the construction sector to meet human settlement development
goals, while avoiding harmful side-effects on human health and
the biosphere.

Activities of the United Nations agencies

     In supporting the implementation of Agenda 21, UNCHS
(Habitat) is following a two- pronged strategy.  First, through a
range of dissemination activities such as technical publications,
audio-visual aids and the organization of consultations,   it is
creating awareness among planners and decision-makers on the
imperative need of all countries to promote sustainable
construction practices. A notable inter-agency initiative in this
area was the organization, jointly by UNCHS (Habitat) and UNIDO,
of a Global Consultation on the Construction Industry in May
1993, the first global forum since UNCED to address the
challenges and opportunities in introducing environmentally
sound, energy-efficient construction practices.

     Secondly, UNCHS (Habitat) is promoting capacity-building in
the construction industry of developing countries to improve
resource management and pollution control, with specific emphasis
on improving energy-efficiency.  A notable effort in this
direction is the launching of  a Building Materials Development
Programme for sub-Saharan Africa, which will promote local
production and use of environmentally sound building materials.

     UNIDO is promoting sustainable construction activities
through its overall programme of technology promotion and
technology information.  Technology promotion activities are
giving priority to capacity-building for effective management of
non-renewable mineral and energy resources.  The technological
information activities of UNIDO include a number of computerized
information systems, networks, services and products operating
under the umbrella of the Industrial and Technological
Information Bank (INTIB), providing both on-line and off-line
information and access to databases.

     UNIDO has also launched an Environment and Energy Programme,
under its Medium-term Plan (1994-1999).  The Programme emphasises
the prevention of industrial pollution and offers technical
assistance for pollution abatement.

     Apart from its support to the construction industry through
its country programme, UNDP is currently developing a new
initiative on urban technologies which plans to develop a
databank for construction, environment and other related

     Among the regional commissions of the United Nations, the
Economic Commission for Europe is promoting environment-friendly
building regulations (the ECE Compendium of Model Provisions for
Building Regulations) for safe and healthy living conditions, and
to ensure energy conservation.  The Economic Commission for
Africa is disseminating information on sustainable construction
practices through its technical publications.

Action by major groups

     Among the NGOs, the international
appropriate-technology-development organizations are contributing
significantly in the transfer and diffusion of appropriate,
energy-efficient technologies in the building-materials
industries in developing countries. The Building Advisory Service
and Information Network (BASIN), which is supported by four
European appropriate technology organizations is filling an
important gap by supporting the transfer of small-scale
technologies - an area that has received little attention from
bilateral technology agencies. It is important that the United
Nations agencies work more closely with these NGOs and help
leverage their limited resources.

     Positive experiences of encouraging local initiatives by
community-based groups especially women's groups are coming in
from several countries, for example, Brazil, Jamaica, the
Phillipines and Zambia.  UNCHS (Habitat) has been supporting
these efforts because of the advantage and social opportunities
these initiatives can provide to marginalized groups for making
their habitat more sustainable. There is, however, a need for a
substantially larger action programme to increase the
participation of women at all levels of the construction sector.

Final observations

     Agenda 21 has been adopted at a time when, throughout the
world, developing countries are experiencing an acute shortage of
construction resources and declining construction-sector outputs. 
National planners and policy-makers will therefore have to
reconcile the conflicting goals of increasing construction-sector
productivity and arresting environmental degradation. Modern
resource management techniques and the application of new and
environmentally sound technologies can play a crucial role in
this respect.


Objectives of the programme

     The objective is to improve human resource development and
capacity-building in all countries by enhancing the personal and
institutional capacity of all those involved in human
settlements.  The need for such capacity-building is especially
critical in two major areas of action focused on human
settlements development, but with a significance  for progress in
Agenda 21 implementation which go far beyond Chapter 7.  The
first of these action areas is Basic Urban Infrastructure and
Shelter-related Services.  This area of work, which includes
access by the urban population to shelter, roads, drainage,
street lighting, potable water and sewage disposal, has a direct
impact on, inter alia, poverty alleviation, reduction of health
risks and hazards, human settlements development and use of land
resources.  An equally direct impact, albeit a harder one to
address, is the impact of roads, settlements planning and traffic
management on air pollution.  The second area is Metropolitan and
Municipal Solid Waste and Sewage.  This area of action has a
direct impact on, inter alia, poverty alleviation, health risks
and hazards, human settlements development, land resources,
marine pollution and fresh water resources.

The critical role of urban local authorities

     A key institutional actor in both these areas of action is
the urban local authority.  It is the administrator of land
resources and the purveyor of basic urban infrastructure and
services, such as roads and drainage, water supply and
solid-waste disposal.  The urban local authority also plays a
pivotal role as the interface between central government (policy-
makers), the community at large, organized groups (NGOs/CBOs),
business and industry.

     Despite this role as a key and pivotal actor, municipal and
metropolitan authorities often lack the capability to ensure the
efficient management of urban development.  They have, for the
past decades, been relegated to a largely administrative role and
have lacked the human, financial and technical resources to plan
and monitor local investment plans and projects, financed and
implemented for the most part by central agencies along sectoral
lines. This situation is changing rapidly in several parts of the
developing world, notably in East and South-East Asia and North
Africa, where decentralization and administrative reform and the
concomitant liberalization of the economy have devolved important
functions and tasks, including the planning and implementation of
local development projects, to urban local authorities.

     In operational terms, both priority areas of action require
the strengthening of the capabilities of metropolitan and
municipal authorities to:

-    Detect and diagnose inter-sectoral urban problems and issues
related to the environmental and sustainable development;

-    Develop strategic action plans to address these problems and
issues based on broad- based consultative processes;

-    Manage and implement these strategic plans in close
partnership with the community, business and industry, while
using appropriate management systems and tools;

-    Monitor the impact of these action plans to provide feedback
to policy and decision- making.

Activities of organizations of the United Nations system

     Prior to UNCED, in 1989, UNCHS (Habitat) developed a
Training and Capacity- building Strategy in support of human
settlements management and development.  This Strategy was based
on a careful review and impact assessment of seven years of
training and management development activities in the human
settlements sector involving, among others, the Economic
Development Institute of the World Bank, the regional economic
commissions and external support agencies, such as those of
Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the
United States.  The Strategy calls for a five-step process to
training and capacity-building which focuses on policy dialogue,
strategic  planning and management through, inter alia, training
needs and institutional assessments; a better match between
supply and demand; implementation of pilot action plans to supply
new management techniques; and monitoring and assessment of the
impact of activities to provide feedback to policy-makers leading
to the establishment of a more enabling policy framework and
decision-making environment for sustainable improvements and
change in the sector.

     To date, the Strategy has been adapted to local and regional
institutional environments and adopted by and implemented through
a number of programmes.  The most important of these are the
Urban Management Programme and the Sustainable Cities Programme;
the Urban Management/Asia Pacific 2000 Programme (UMP-AP); the
Municipal Development Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa; the
UNCHS/UNDP/EDI/USAID Training of Trainers in support of municipal
management for Arab States; the SACDEL Programme, based at the
IULA-CELCADEL Centre for the Development of Local Governments for
Latin America in Quito, Ecuador; the UNCHS/Government of
Netherlands Programme to support Municipal Training Institutions
in East and Southern Africa and South Asia; and the UNCHS
(Habitat) Human Resources Development and Training in Settlements
Management in European Transition Countries project.  This
project also is supported by the UNDP, a number of national
agencies and NGOs.

Actions by major groups

     The experience over the last decade on the part of United
Nations agencies and other assistance bodies in the area of human
settlements development clearly shows that the key prerequisites
for effective capacity building are national and local training
institutions and support centres.   Continuous, sustainable,
demand-responsive and client-centred capacity building can be
done only by national and local centres.  The role of external
support should be to help to build and strengthen this indigenous
capacity to build capacity.

     The challenges of this "capacity to build capacity" are to
be found both at the institutional and individual levels.  The
main challenges in the first area are institutional weakness,
insufficient client-orientation, sectoral compartmentalization,
lack of autonomy and very limited resources of many of the
national human settlements training and capacity- building
centres, and their limited capacity to attract and retain
highly-qualified experts and trainers.

     The main challenges  of individual capacity-building
(human-resource development) include: (a) the sheer magnitude of
needs and demands in comparison to a very small number of
highly-qualified trainers and experts (owing to these shortages
of high-level expertise, the graduates of training of trainers
programmes are likely to be promoted within the administration,
abandoning their capacity-building responsibility for other
executive or management posts); and (b) the academic rather than
practical, problem-solving, background of many trainers, experts
and advisors, as well as their narrow professional focus, their
unfamiliarity with adult learning techniques and their lack of
basic management, organizational development and interpersonal
skills essential for any capacity-building offered.

     The opportunity lies in a variety of new initiatives and new
awareness.  The importance of human-resource development and
capacity-building for human settlements management is
increasingly being recognized by municipalities, and local and
national bilateral donors.  New training and local
development-support institutions are being created and
organizations with a long history are attempting to adjust their
training strategies and programmes to respond to changing
capacity-building needs.  These include government development
and training centres, independent public (parastatal) institutes,
university-based centres, training and capacity-building units in
local governments, service agencies and organizations, NGO-type
institutions and private-sector initiatives.  IBAM in Brazil,
INICAM and IPADEL in Peru, AIILSG in India, BRAC in Bangladesh,
GTI in Kenya, MSP in Zambia, CASSAD in Nigeria, DPU in the United
Kingdom and IHS in the Netherlands are just some of the examples.

     Supporting and encouraging all these capacity-building
agents to work closely together, to develop local, national and
even regional networks, and to continuously upgrade, adjust and
centralize their capabilities seems to be, based on experience,
the most useful role United Nations agencies and other assistance
bodies can play.

     Successful examples of such broad partnership programmes -
involving multiple capacity-building agents from a given region,
capacity-building centres from other regions, and several
bilateral donors - can be found in any region.  Pilot and model
examples come from Latin America:  the SACDEL Programme (Regional
Training System for Local Municipal Development in Latin America)
and the FICONG Programme (Institutional Strengthening and
Training Programme for NGOs).  This is also the direction which
UNDP's Capacity 21 Programme seems to be following.

Final observations

     There is no doubt that capacity-building in general will be
essential to the success of Agenda 21.  In fact, it could be
argued that the primary role of the United Nations system should
be one which concentrates on capacity-building on the one hand,
and monitoring and coordination on the other.  A focus on
capacity-building must, however, be based on a careful analysis
of past experience so as not to repeat the same mistakes.

     For example, in the past there has been a persistent
over-emphasis on the part of donors and national institutions and
agencies on technical and skills training.  Besides a frequent
confusion between education and training, such technical training
becomes "academic" in that there are rarely guarantees sought,
nor provisions made, to ensure that skills imparted are put to
effective use by institutions and organizations responsible for
taking action.  Examples include training of senior technical
staff of ministries and line agencies, local authorities and
non-governmental organizations and associations in specialized
and sectorally-defined skills such as accounting and budgeting,
project management, planning, information systems, among others. 
This supply-driven approach to human-resources development is not
unique and mirrors the largely supply-driven approach to
environmental impact assessment which seems to cater more to
donor-driven exigencies than to strengthening the capacity of
local institutions to enhance awareness and engage in serious
broad-based consultations on environmental trade-offs between
policy, strategy and project options.

     In the past there has also been a lack of serious commitment
on behalf of donors to human-resource development and
institutional capacity-building in light of recent trends and
development in decentralization and administrative reform.  Many
of the developing countries' cities and towns have little or no
capacity to manage recurrent functions and tasks. many of which
have been recently devolved to them by central government.  Donor
agencies, often the same as those which promoted and promulgated
decentralization and administrative reform, instead of trying to
build capacity at the local level, return to the very para-statal
and central-government agencies in their efforts to integrate
environmental development and considerations and more sustainable
approaches to project design and implementation.  These are the
same central-government agencies which have weakened the capacity
of local authorities for the past two decades.  This pursuit of
"rapid results" has frustrated serious attempts in building
capacity at the local-authority levels.  Such capacity is
essential to long- term sustainability of development efforts and
initiatives as local authorities have a pivotal role to play as
an interface between key actors (central government, NGOs/CBOs,
the formal and informal private sectors).  And by virtue of their
proximity to the communities and stake-holders of local
development, they are more prone and apt to be transparent,
accountable and responsive.

     Finally, obstacles to effective capacity-building continue
to be presented by the persistent sectoral approach and bias in
policy, which is also inherent in the structure of Agenda 21. 
Projects and programmes continue to abide by sectoral lines and
approaches, defeating the underlying concept of sustainability
which is rooted in an integrated approach to development.  Thus
most initiatives to date fail to integrate social, economic,
technical and financial dimensions of human settlements
development and continue to foster separate "environmentally
sound" approaches to land, infrastructure, construction and
housing, among others.


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Date last posted: 1 December 1999 12:18:30
Comments and suggestions: DESA/DSD