United Nations

A/52/181


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

1 July 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                 A/52/181
                                                 E/1997/77
                                                 


GENERAL ASSEMBLY                            ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Fifty-second session                        Substantive session of 1997
Item 99 (e) of the preliminary list*        Geneva, 30 June-25 July 1997
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND                 Agenda item 7 (a) and (b)
  INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC                    REPORTS, CONCLUSIONS AND
  COOPERATION                                 RECOMMENDATIONS OF SUBSIDIARY
                                              BODIES:  ECONOMIC QUESTIONS;
   *    A/52/50.                              ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS

   
              Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations
                 Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II)

                        Report of the Secretary-General

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                SUMMARY

      The present report has been prepared pursuant to General Assembly
resolution 51/177 of 16 December 1996, in which the Assembly
recommended actions towards implementation of the outcome of the
United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and
requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its fifty-second
session, through the Economic and Social Council, on the
implementation of the resolution.

      Several of the General Assembly's recommendations have been or are
being implemented.  The Commission on Human Settlements addressed many
of them at its sixteenth session, held from 28 April to 7 May 1997,
and in so doing recommended certain further actions for consideration
by the Assembly at its fifty-second session.  The United Nations
Centre for Human Settlements, for its part, is pursuing
recommendations relating to the development of the work programme of
the Centre and the strengthening of cooperation and coordination with
United Nations system agencies and other organizations outside the
United Nations system, as well as with other civil society partners in the
implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

      The implementation of a number of decisions and recommendations of
resolution 51/177 is predicated on actions that are still pending or
are ongoing, such as those to be taken by the General Assembly at its
nineteenth special session and by the Economic and Social Council at
its 1997 substantive session, as well as those arising from the
overall reform of the organization, which is to be the subject of a
report to be submitted by the Secretary-General to the General
Assembly in July.  The present report is therefore subject to updating
when those actions have been completed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 3      4

II.   HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE
      OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF AGENDA 21 ............    4 - 8      4

III.  REVIEW AND STRENGTHENING OF THE MANDATE OF THE
      COMMISSION ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS .....................     9 - 10     5

IV.   ASSESSMENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS CENTRE FOR HUMAN 
      SETTLEMENTS .........................................    11 - 13     5

 V.   NEW WORKING METHODS OF THE COMMISSION ...............    14 - 15     6

VI.   DEVELOPING THE WORK PROGRAMMES OF THE COMMISSION AND
      THE CENTRE ..........................................    16 - 20     7

VII.  INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND INTER-AGENCY 
      COORDINATION IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HABITAT
      AGENDA .............................................     21 - 22     8

VIII. SUPPORT TO THE UNITED NATIONS HABITAT AND HUMAN
      SETTLEMENTS FOUNDATION .............................        23       9


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   In its resolution 51/177 of 16 December 1996 on the implementation
of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements
(Habitat II), 1/ the General Assembly endorsed the Istanbul Declaration
on Human Settlements and the Habitat Agenda adopted by the Conference
at Istanbul on 14 June 1996 and called upon all Governments,
organizations of the United Nations system and other actors concerned
with human settlements and urban management issues to implement fully
and effectively the Habitat Agenda and to give both the Habitat Agenda
and the Istanbul Declaration the widest possible dissemination.

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

3.   The General Assembly further recommended a number of actions
towards the implementation of the conference outcomes, concerning
which it requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its fifty-
second session through the Economic and Social Council.  The present
report is in response to that request.  

             II.  HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN
                  THE OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF AGENDA 21

4.   In paragraph 14 of its resolution 51/177, the General Assembly
recommended that at its special session, to be convened from 23 to 27
June 1997 for the purpose of an overall review and appraisal of Agenda
21, the Assembly give due attention to the issue of human settlements
in the context of sustainable development.  The Commission on Human
Settlements, in its resolution 16/24 of 7 May 1997 entitled "Special
session of the General Assembly for the purpose of an overall review
and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21", reaffirmed that
sustainable development was essential for human settlements
development and expressed the conviction that urban settlements,
properly planned and managed, held a promise for human development and
for the protection of the world's natural resources through their
ability to support large numbers of people while limiting their
negative impact on the natural environment.

5.   Also in resolution 16/24, the Commission called upon the General
Assembly to take into account, at its special session, the Habitat
Agenda and the Istanbul Declaration, because urgent action in cities
and human settlements was necessary to secure sustainable human
settlements and safe and healthy living conditions, especially for
urban populations.  That was in recognition of the impact of
urbanization on all sectors of sustainable human settlements.

6.   The Commission further invited all relevant specialized agencies
and related organizations of the United Nations system and the Bretton
Woods institutions to strengthen and adjust their activities,
programmes and medium-term strategies within their mandates to take
into account the follow-up to Habitat II, particularly at the field
level.  Relevant governing bodies were urged to examine their
policies, programmes, budgets and activities in order to ensure that
implementation of the Habitat Agenda was fully integrated in them.

7.   The Commission also requested the Executive Director of the United
Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) (Habitat) to promote
cooperation and exchange of information between the Centre and the
Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development in
order to keep their intergovernmental machinery informed of their
respective inputs in addressing the questions of sustainable
development of human settlements. 

8.   The Commission further requested the Executive Director to submit
his report on the implementation of Agenda 21 (HS/C/16/15 and Corr.1),
together with the comments made on it by the Commission, to the
General Assembly at its special session for the purpose of an overall
review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21.


             III.  REVIEW AND STRENGTHENING OF THE MANDATE OF THE
                   COMMISSION ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS               

9.   In paragraphs 17, 18 and 22 of its resolution 51/177, the General
Assembly emphasized that both the Assembly and the Economic and Social
Council should, in accordance with their respective mandates, review
and strengthen the mandate of the Commission on Human Settlements,
taking into account the Habitat Agenda and the need for a system-wide
approach to its implementation.  The Assembly also invited the
Commission to review its work programme in order to ensure an
effective follow-up to and implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

10.  In response, the Commission on Human Settlements, at its sixteenth
session (Nairobi, 28 April to 7 May 1997) adopted resolution 16/2 of 7
May 1997 entitled "Follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Human
Settlements (Habitat II) and the future role of the Commission on
Human Settlements", in which it recommended to the General Assembly
the adoption of a resolution on the framework for the functioning of
the Commission, its terms of reference, the structure of its agenda
and work programme, documentation, its methods of work and the
functioning of its secretariat.  The draft resolution is contained in
the report of the Commission on the work of its sixteenth session, 2/
which will be submitted to the Assembly at its fifty-second session,
through the Economic and Social Council, for consideration and
appropriate action. 


               IV.  ASSESSMENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS CENTRE FOR
                    HUMAN SETTLEMENTS                          

11.  In paragraph 19 of its resolution 51/177, the General Assembly
invited the Secretary-General to undertake, in the light of the review
of the mandate of the Commission on Human Settlements, a comprehensive
and in-depth assessment of the Centre with a view to its
revitalization.  It also invited him to present terms of reference and
a preliminary report on that assessment for the consideration of the
Commission at its sixteenth session and to make a final report to the
Assembly at its fifty-second session.  Pursuant to that request, the
Secretary-General submitted to the Commission a preliminary report
(HS/C/16/5) which contained, inter alia, the proposed terms of
reference of the assessment of the Centre and confirmed that the final
report would be presented by the Secretary-General to the Assembly at
its fifty-second session.

12.  Meanwhile, a review of the programme and administrative practices
of the Centre has been undertaken by the United Nations Office of
Internal Oversight Services (A/51/884), which made recommendations
aimed at enabling the Centre better to discharge its responsibilities. 
The Commission, having reviewed the activities of the Centre and
having considered the report of the Office of Internal Oversight
Services, adopted resolution 16/19 on corrective measures in
administrative and budgetary matters and resolution 16/8 on
revitalization of the Habitat Centre, in which various suggestions
were made towards revitalizing and strengthening the various facets of
the work of the Centre.

13.  Resolution 16/8 also requested the Secretary-General to take into
account, in undertaking the requested comprehensive and in-depth
assessment of the Centre, certain important guiding principles,
including the mandate of the Centre as contained in General Assembly
resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977, as further elaborated in
paragraph 228 of the Habitat Agenda; the Centre's programme of work
based on the Habitat Agenda; and the need for the promotion and
support of international cooperation.  A preliminary report by the
Centre entitled "Revitalization action plan for the implementation of
the Habitat Agenda" (HS/C/16/CRP.9), mapping out possible measures
designed to enhance various aspects of the Centre's structure and
functioning, was made available to the Commission at its sixteenth
session.


                   V.  NEW WORKING METHODS OF THE COMMISSION

14.  In paragraph 21 of its resolution 51/177, the General Assembly
requested the Commission to review, at its sixteenth session, its
working methods in order to involve in its work the representatives of
local authorities or international associations of local authorities
and other relevant actors of civil society, taking into account the
rules of procedure of the Commission and the relevant provisions of
Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996.

15.  At its sixteenth session, the Commission accordingly reviewed its
working methods.  Recognizing and highlighting the importance of the
involvement of local authorities and civil society in the effective
implementation of the Habitat Agenda, the Commission in its resolution
16/12, decided, subject to rule 61 of the rules of procedure of the
Commission and the relevant provisions of Economic and Social Council
resolution 1996/31:

     (a)  To invite Governments to consider, where appropriate,
including in their delegations to future sessions of the Commission,
in accordance with the specific conditions of each country,
representatives of local authorities and the relevant actors of civil
society, particularly the private sector, non-governmental
organizations and research organizations in the field of adequate
shelter for all and sustainable development of human settlements;

     (b)  That at its future sessions, the Commission would provide
opportunities for partners to engage in dialogue among themselves and
with Governments.  The dialogues might, as appropriate, serve as an
input to the deliberations of the Commission;

     (c)  Invited the representatives of local authorities and the
relevant actors of civil society, particularly the private sector,
non-governmental organizations and research organizations in the field
of adequate shelter for all and sustainable development of human
settlements to propose activities for the inter-sessional periods to
the Centre, for the approval of the Commission, in order to accelerate
the implementation of the Habitat Agenda;

     (d)  Requested the Executive Director of the Centre to ensure that
partners were actively involved with the Centre's work so as to
contribute to the effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda.


             VI.  DEVELOPING THE WORK PROGRAMMES OF THE COMMISSION
                  AND THE CENTRE                                  

16.  Pursuant to paragraph 24 of General Assembly resolution 51/177,
the Commission, in its resolution 16/2, outlined its work programme. 
The work programme is outlined in operative paragraphs 11 to 15 of the
draft resolution contained in resolution 16/2, which the Commission
recommended for adoption by the General Assembly.  The Commission
decided that its work should be focused primarily on the relevant
provisions of the Habitat Agenda, with a view to ensuring its
effective implementation.  It further outlined certain substantive
items derived from the Habitat Agenda for its future sessions,
including review of the relevant United Nations plans and programmes
of action pertaining to the themes "Sustainable human settlements
development" and "Adequate shelter for all".

17.  Through that resolution, the Commission also decided to focus, at
its seventeenth and eighteenth sessions, on monitoring the
implementation of the Habitat Agenda and on assessing its impact.  It
decided to structure those sessions around the following four
substantive areas of the Habitat Agenda:

     (a)  Adequate shelter for all, including the monitoring of the
Global Shelter Strategy;

     (b)  Sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world,
including the monitoring of chapter 7 of Agenda 21;

     (c)  Capacity-building and institutional development;

     (d)  International cooperation and coordination.

18.  The Commission, in consideration of further development of its
catalytic role in promoting adequate shelter for all and sustainable
development of human settlements, further decided that:

     (a)  At its eighteenth session, in 2001, the Commission would also
consider preparations for the special session of the General Assembly,
if appropriate; 

     (b)  In 1998 and 2000, the Centre would analyse the progress on
national implementation status based on the four above-mentioned
substantive areas, and would prepare reports to be considered by the
Commission at its seventeenth and eighteenth sessions.

19.  The Commission also reviewed the Human Settlements Programme, the
United Nations medium-term plan for the period 1998-2001 and the work
programme (1998-1999) of the Centre, and set priorities for the work
programme activities.  It requested that in preparing future work
programmes, a parallel version of the work programme organized
according to the structure of the Habitat Agenda should be provided. 
That should give a clear indication of the linkages between the
Habitat Agenda and the work programme.  The Commission also urged that
budget and spending be brought into line with work programme
priorities, as identified by the work programme.

20.  In response to paragraphs 27 and 34 of General Assembly resolution
51/177, four of the regional commissions identified and developed
programmes and other actions in their respective regions towards the
implementation of the Habitat Agenda.  That was conveyed to the
Commission at its sixteenth session in document HS/C/16/CRP.2,
entitled "Draft work programmes of the regional commissions in the
field of human settlements for the biennium 1998-1999".


         VII.  INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND INTER-AGENCY COORDINATION
               IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HABITAT AGENDA            

21.  The Centre, in its role as focal point for human settlements
activities within the United Nations system, has continued to enhance
and promote cooperation and coordination with agencies and
organizations within the system, including the United Nations
Development Programme, the World Bank, the United Nations Environment
Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations
Children's Fund and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees, among others.  It is also promoting expanded cooperation
and coordination with intergovernmental organizations outside the
United Nations system, such as the Caribbean Community, the
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the League of Arab States,
the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Organization of American
States, the Organization of African Unity, the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development and the Company for Habitat and
Housing in Africa (Shelter-Afrique), as well as with such financial
institutions as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian
Development Bank and the African Development Bank and non-governmental
organizations, including universities and research and scientific
institutes, in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.  In its
resolutions 16/20 and 16/21, the Commission recognized such
cooperation and coordination and urged the Executive Director to
continue to improve and promote such cooperation and coordination
among agencies and organizations within and outside the United Nations
system to ensure more effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

22.  While the implementation of the Habitat Agenda is the primary
responsibility of each country, its full and effective implementation
will require mobilization of international financial and technical
cooperation resources to support implementation, particularly in
developing countries and especially in the least developed among them. 
The increasing importance in this context of private sector
investments also should be noted.  In paragraph 1 (d) of its
resolution 16/8, the Commission directed the Centre to promote and
support international cooperation, in particular through resource
flows and the transfer of know-how, experience and technology.  As a
result of the importance attached to that issue, the Commission
decided to have as one of the special themes for its seventeenth
session the topic of international cooperation for the implementation
of the Habitat Agenda.


               VIII.  SUPPORT TO THE UNITED NATIONS HABITAT AND
                      HUMAN SETTLEMENTS FOUNDATION             

23.  Pursuant to paragraphs 20 and 33 of General Assembly resolution
51/177, in which the Assembly invited all Governments and the
international community to consider the role of the United Nations
Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation in the implementation of the
Habitat Agenda and to consider the scope for providing further support
for the Foundation in its activities, taking into account the need to
continue to improve its effectiveness, the Commission, on 6 May 1997,
conducted a pledging session for the Foundation at which 23
Governments pledged contributions.  Approximately US$ 4.4 million was
pledged, a significant proportion being for earmarked projects.  While
that was a successful event, particularly considering the amounts
pledged, many countries have yet to make their pledges.  Considering
the vastness of the task of implementing the Habitat Agenda, countries
and partners that have not yet made pledges to the Foundation are
urged to do so and are encouraged further to increase the
non-earmarked component of their contributions.  The Commission, in
its resolution 16/8, also stressed that the Centre must have adequate,
stable and predictable funding for its activities, adding that
resource mobilization, including the urgent need to broaden its
funding base, should receive due attention.


                                     Notes

     1/  Report of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements
(Habitat II), Istanbul, 3-14 June 1996 (A/CONF.165/14).

     2/  Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-second
Session, Supplement No. 8 (A/52/8).


                                     -----



 

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org