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The Thematic Committee:  a new venue for Habitat
Agenda Partners

Thematic Committee

Building on Habitat’s inclusion of local authorities and civil society partners at the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), the General Assembly decided to establish a thematic committee that will meet at Istanbul + 5. The purpose of this committee is to allow the presentation of successful case studies by Habitat Agenda partners such as local authorities and NGOs, as well as Governments, and to tell the world ‘the real story of urban hope and renewal’. Representatives will assemble to share their experiences and lessons learned in sustainable human settlements development in the 5 years since Habitat II. The case studies were chosen according to six main themes:  shelter; social development and eradication of poverty; environmental management; economic development; governance; and international cooperation. Journalists are encouraged to get in touch with the contact person listed after each project.


Nigeria:    Sustainable urban development and good governance
Greater participation of ordinary citizens in the affairs of their city and town depends on the degree of decentralization and delegation of power to local authorities. After years of centralized autocratic rule under military regimes, the Nigerian Federal Government is seeking to strengthen Nigeria's 36 state governments and 774 local authorities by giving them greater political and fiscal autonomy. Benefiting from experience gained from Habitat’s Sustainable Cities Programme in Ibadan, Kano and Enugu, a national Urban Development Policy has been designed. A Safer Cities Project is being implemented in Abuja. These projects support efforts to upgrade slums and squatter settlements and to institute mechanisms for citizen participation and local democracy.

Contact Person:
Mr. J.O. Okunfulure, Director

  Lands, Urban & Regional Development
  Federal Ministry of Works and Housing
  Mabuchi - Abuja, Nigeria
  Tel: 09-5211632
   Fax: 09-5235746

Senegal:       Upgrading informal settlements
Over the last five years, more than one million inhabitants of slums and informal settlements in Dakar have acquired security of tenure and no longer live in fear of arbitrary forced eviction. The process that won their secure tenure centred on establishing a dialogue between those living in the informal settlements and local authorities. The success of the project has led to improvements in basic services, including water delivery and sanitation. The up-grading of the settlements provided training and employment opportunities for members of the community.
Contact Person:
Papa Cheikh Saadibou Fall
Ministere de l’Urbanisme et de l'Habitat
Republic du Senegal
Tel: 221 8 23 32 78
Fax: 221 8 23 62 45

South Africa: The right to adequate housing
The constitution of the Republic of South Africa recognizes the rights to adequate housing and to protection against arbitrary forced eviction. Several laws passed since 1996 enforce this constitutional provision. The national housing policy promotes a number of approaches and initiatives for realizing these rights. One of these is the People's Housing Process, organized by the Department of Housing. This programme enables individuals and communities to access land, services, and technical assistance. In collaboration with the local authorities, non-governmental organizations and the poor themselves, the People’s Housing Process has been instrumental in building over a million housing units since 1994.
Contact Person:
Mr. Diet von Broembsen, Chief Director
Policy Planning, Department of Housing
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
Tel:  27 (12) 421-1453
Fax:  27 (12) 341-8893

Tanzania: Environmentally sustainable urban development
Five years ago, the people of Dar es Salaam lived in a city of chaos. The streets were full of potholes, the garbage was rarely collected and half of the population lived in unplanned settlements. A maze of restrictive by-laws prohibited the local authority from entering into any private sector partnerships. Habitat collaborated with the City Council of Dar es Salaam to initiate an Environmental Management Planning (EPM) system.  All participants – slum dwellers, non-governmental organizations and the private sector -- were consulted by the local authority. Care was taken to ensure that input from the grass roots was considered and given due weight, and that all groups were allowed to participate in an effective manner.  As a result, partnerships among public, private and community sectors have improved the delivery of services; and squatter settlements and slums have been upgraded – a contribution to national goals on poverty alleviation.  Due to the success of the sustainable Dar es Salaam Programme, it has been replicated in 12 municipalities country-wide.

Contact Person:
Mrs. S.T Sijaona
Ministry of Lands & Human Settlements Development
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Tel: 255 22 2124576
Fax: 255 22 2113165



Egypt:  Participatory urban development
Urban development in Egypt is focused on a number of priorities:  more housing is urgently needed; informal settlements require upgrading; and environmental management must be improved.  The Sustainable Ismailia Govenorate Programme, using a participatory approach, engineered a comprehensive city development plan that included housing initiatives for the poor. Because of its success, the Sustainable Ismailia Programme is being replicated in many cities and towns in Egypt.  The "Mubarak National Project for Youth" and the "Future Housing Project" are two recent initiatives in which 140,000 housing units are being built. The houses are being financed through a package that involves one-half private sector financing, with the other half being met by the residents themselves, through “soft loans”, with reduced security requirements or other concessions, such as reduced interest rates.
Contact Person:
Dr. Refaat El-Ansary, Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the U.N.
P.O. Box 30285
Nairobi, Kenya

Eng. Mohamed Magd El-Din Ibrahim,
Supervisor of Minister's Cabinet
Ministry of Housing, Public Utilities and Urban Communities
1 Esmail Abaza - El kaser El Anny
Cairo, Egypt


Morocco:  Urban Poverty Reduction Programme
Reduction of urban poverty requires a concerted effort by all the relevant actors in a city. Launched in 1998, the Urban Poverty Reduction Programme brings together all the stake-holders to develop, implement and monitor neighbourhood action plans to improve housing and services and to provide new economic opportunities.  The poor have been trained in community management skills and have consequently developed their abilities to participate effectively in decisions that affect their lives. NGO representatives have received training in how to formulate and implement projects. Local authorities have been taught how to work with partners to achieve the goals of improved housing conditions for the poor and overall poverty reduction.

Contact Person:
Mr. Monceyf  FADILI
National Coordinator
Rabat Chellah

Tel: (212 37) 76 03 60
Fax: (212 37) 76 21 90  


China:  Comprehensive revitalization of Chengdu
In 256 BC, Shu leader Li Bing built the Dujiangyan Irrigation System channeling the Min river through Chengdu in what is still recognised as a triumph of hydraulic engineering. But the irrigation system was neglected during the rapid industrial developments of the 1970s. Since then, the Fu and Nan Rivers Comprehensive Revitalization Plan has saved the two rivers and the city of Chengdu from severe pollution.  Intensive public awareness raising and effective mobilization of multiple stakeholders have resulted in public investment and community participation in the restoration of the city.  30,000 households have been resettled away from the slums on the rivers' banks.  Other projects dealing with sewage and industrial effluents have helped to change many undesirable areas into green zones.

Contact Person:
Mr. Liu Xuegui
Ministry of Construction of the People's Republic of China
2, Ren Min Xi Rd
Chengdu, P.R. China
Tel: 0086-28-6271961

India:  City-wide sanitation in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore
A major problem in most informal settlements is a lack of basic sanitation, which leads to a variety of health problems.  In Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, a partnership among three civil society actors -- SPARC, an NGO; Mahila Milan, a women's grassroots network; and the National Slum Dwellers Federation -- has worked with city and state governments to provide comprehensive sanitation to informal settlements.  The activities carried out by these projects have led to the training of the poor, which has then enhanced their employment opportunities. The three organizations are also actively working with the city and state governments to provide security of tenure for the residents in these settlements.

Contact Person:
Ms. Sheela Patel, A. Jockin and Celine Dçruz
Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres
Bhulabhai Desai Road
Mumbai, India
Tel: 91-22-3865053, 3858785
Fax: 91-22-3887566

Thailand: Urban Poor Community Fund
Most formal financial institutions are unwilling to provide loans for the very poor. Established by the Government and managed by the Urban Community Development Office (UCDO), the Urban Poor Community Fund provides low-interest loans for community development projects.  It has helped communities and individuals in 950 community savings groups and 100 community networks through capacity-building and credit.  By 2000, the Fund had extended to 53 out of 75 provinces of the country and had acquired assets worth $45 million.

Contact Person:
Somsook Boonyabancha, Director
Community Organizations Development Institute
New Petchburi Rd, Huaykwang
Bangkok 10320
Tel: (662) 7180911, 7166000
Fax: (662) 7180937, 7166001


France: Lyon in the 3rd millennium (Millenaire3)
The "Millénaire 3" plan is an initiative to involve Lyons' 1.2 million inhabitants and 55 municipalities in planning for the city's future. After three years of intense debate involving thematic working groups and various partnerships, a city strategy plan has been adopted that identifies ‘21 priorities for the 21st Century’ and provides a new vision for the city. One of the more interesting aspects has been the complete overhaul of the transportation system. In addition to providing more public transportation, the number of vehicles parked on the street has been reduced by the creation of eight new parking lots.  Each lot is unique and artistic.  One boasts a laser display and another resembles Breugel’s painting of the Tower of Babel.

Contact Persons:
Mr. Philippe DHÈNEIN
ENTPE -  rue Maurice Audin 69518
Cedex, France
Tel: 04 72 04 77 69
Fax: 04 72 04 62 54

Cedex, France
Tel: 04 72 00 88 10
Fax: 04 72 00 80 27

Poland:   Environmental improvement in Katowice
4 million people -- 10 per cent of Poland's population -- live in the Katowice region, which produces 15 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.  Unfortunately, the area has suffered from decades of uncontrolled mining and industrial pollution. By the 1980s, two-thirds of the water supply was considered too contaminated for industrial use, much less for human consumption. The sulphur dioxide, dust and carbon monoxide regularly emitted from over 4,000 chimneys led to one of the highest rates of premature birth in Europe, with many children suffering from bronchitis and respiratory diseases. Since 1996, the Union for Sustainable Development of the Municipalities of the Katowice Agglomeration has achieved visible positive results in environmental reclamation, improved housing conditions and the rehabilitation of old industrial neighbourhoods.

Contact Person:
Mr. Piotr Uszok, Mayor
Katawice City Hall - Urzad Miasta Katowice
Ul. Mlynska 4
40-098 Katowice, Poland
Tel: 48-32-2538133
Fax: 48-32-2537143

Spain:    Barcelona's economic transformation and decentralization.
The transformation of Barcelona into one of the most vibrant cities in Europe has already made headlines in the international press. The challenge of transforming this city while maintaining social cohesion was met by the city authorities, who drew up the Pacte Industrial de la Regio Metropolitana (Industrial Agreement for the Metropolitan Area). This Pacte was negotiated through consultation and consensus-building among all the various city stakeholders: the private sector, NGOs, women’s groups and ordinary citizens.  As part of the process, and to bring public administration closer to the citizens, enhance participatory democracy and improve service delivery, the city was divided into 10 decentralized districts.

Contact Person:
Ms. Margarita Obiols
Director of International Relations
Barcelona City Council
Barcelona, Spain
Tel: 34-93-4027882
Fax: 34-93-4027877

Sweden:  Stockholm's Sustainable Development
Many cities are faced with the problem of controlling urban sprawl. Stockholm is controlling this through innovative land policy. Urban growth is being accommodated through alteration of  land uses, where former harbour and industrial areas become mixed residential-commercial neighbourhoods connected by tramways. However, in order to ensure social cohesion and acceptance of the new land policies, the local
authority organized inclusive strategies for citizen participation. The designers also included large green belts and extensive areas for human activities.

Contact Person:
Mats Pemer
Director Strategic Department
Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: 46 8 508 266 44
Fax: 46 8 508 272 23


Brazil:  Social inclusion in Santo Andre
Since Habitat II, the Santo Andre Municipality in the Sao Paolo metropolitan area has been working to include those members of society who had been traditionally excluded. A citizenship programme was developed to improve communication and partnership between the municipality and its residents, particularly the poor. Among the many people who have benefited are 16,000 inhabitants of four favelas who now enjoy improved housing and better services, as well as access to credit and vocational training.

Contact Person:
Celso Daniel and Jeroen Klink
Municipality of Santo Andre
Praca IV Centenario, s/n 7th floor
Santo André
Tel: 55 (0 xx 11) 4433 - 0150
Fax: 55 (0 xx 11) 4433 - 0323

Colombia:  Integrated upgrading programme in Medellin
Over the last few years, Medellin’s commitment to reducing the level of urban violence and crime through community participation has paid off. 140,000 inhabitants of 30 inadequate settlements have benefited from physical upgrading of housing and services, including legalization of tenure. With secure tenure for the first time, the community has been able to organize social programmes for youth aimed at reducing urban violence. In addition, community participation by all actors has helped to open up areas that were previously closed to the city police force. The "Holistic Upgrading Programme for Incomplete or Inadequately Serviced Communities" of Medellin (PRIMED) brings together national Government, municipal authorities, NGOs and community organizations.
Contact Person:
Ms. Carolina Barco de Botero
Departamento Administrativo de Planecación Distrital
Bogota, Colombia
Tel:  368-07-80; 368-07--79


Peru:   Participatory action for poverty reduction
The city of Villa El Salvador in the Lima Metropolitan area has suffered from a history of violence and municipal mismanagement. Over the last three years, a programme of systematic consultation among all sectors of the population, including women and youth, and including a referendum involving over 48,000 inhabitants, has helped to define priorities. One such priority was to turn Villa El Salvador from a “bedroom community” (a residential suburb) into a “productive district”, in order to overcome poverty and social exclusion.
Contact Person:
Martin Pumar, Alcalde
Marianna Llona,  Jefa Programa Urbano
C/o Centro de Estudios y Promocion del Dessarollo
Villa El Salvador, Peru
Tel: 51-1-263-1318
Fax: 51-1-284-0128


For further information, please contact:
Sharad Shankardass, Spokesperson, or
Zahra A. Hassan,
Media & Press Relations Unit,
UNCHS (Habitat),
Tel: (254 2) 623153, 623151,
Fax: (254 2) 624060,





© 2001 UNCHS