United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE)
Committee on Human Settlements
The Special Presentation of the United Nations Economic
Commission for Europe (UN- ECE) Committee on Human Settlements
was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, on
6 June 2001, from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in the Conference Room
The parallel event was organized by the Bureau of the UN-ECE
Committee on Human Settlements in cooperation with the advisory
network of the Committee - HUMAN. The session was chaired
by the Chairperson of the Committee Ms. Daniela Grabmullerova
from the Czech Republic. The Committee´s sectretariat was
represented by Ms Christina von Schweinichen. Basic information
- in paper as well as in electronic (CD ROM) form - were
available in the conference room for all participants.
Brief summary of the opening statement:
The short introduction of all six panelists;
The Committee is one the principal subsidiary bodies of
the Economic Commission for Europe;
The main objective of the Committe´s work is aimed at
recommendations relating to housing and urban development
policies, as well as at their practical implementation;
Within the Committee, the Working Party on Land Administration
works with the aim to achieve the better land administration;
Four years ago, the Housing and Urban Management Advisory
Network was established with the aim to involve the private
sector in the regular Commitee´s work.
About fifty participants were present.
Ms. Daniela Grabmullerova (Chairman of the UN-ECE Committee
on Human Settlements), from the Czech Republic, focused
her presentation on promoting a system of meaningful and
democratic governance that responds to the needs of local
communities. The Committee is active in the identification
of a more coherent governance framework for human settlements
in pursuing sustainable development. The state is ceasing
to be the centre of power and the provider of all services
and is acquiring a new role.
Mr. Geroges Cavallier (National Coordinator of the Istanbul
+5) from France focused on improving the urban environmental
performance. Urban renewal can be seen as an instrument
to develop a liveable city. He stated that it is not only
physical improvement that the Committee should be dealing
with, but also the social aspects which are important
for successful urban development. Special attention should
also be given to inner cities, in order to ensure the
promotion of social cohesion.
Mr. Wolfgang Forster (Member of the Bureau of the UN-ECE
Committee on Human Settlements) from Austria spoke on
facilitating social cohesion and security. Social cohesion
can be described as both a process and an outcome. It
is an ongoing process of developing the community of shared
values, shared challenges and equal opportunity within
the country. Certain groups of the population, such as
the unemployed, refugees and ethnic minorities, are particularly
Ms. Elena Szolgayova (Member of the Bureau of the UN-ECE
Committee on Human Settlements) from Slovakia spoke on
promoting market reform in the housing and urban sectors.
The housing sector is an integral part of a market economy.
In recent years, most countries in transition have made
progress in developing new urban and spatial planning
legislation and institutional structures; nevertheless
the whole legal framework is still incomplete.
Mr. Peter Creuzer (Member of the Working Party on Land
Administration) from Germany focused his presentation
on the improving land and real estate markets and securing
private rights. A good working, appropriate land administration
and land information systems are vital for land management,
urban and regional planning, housing, banks, taxation,
agriculture and environmental protection.
Ms. Stephanie Bamford (Member of the Housing and Urban
Management Advisory Network) from the United Kingdom spoke
on public private partnership in the Committe´s work.
HUMAN includes experts from both - for-profit as well
as non- profit sectors and relation between the Committee
and its advisory network is based on partnership.
The whole special session was based on the "ECE Strategy
for a Sustainable Quality of Life in Human Settlements in
the 21st Century". This document is divided into five challenges;
improving the quality of life is in the "heart" of the strategy.
The Strategy was approved by the Ministers and Heads of
Delegations from thirty-seven countries in September 2001
during the session of the Committee at the ministerial level.
In this respect, the Committee fulfils the idea of being
a regional arm of the United Nations and operating at a
high level. The strategy is also based on the provisions
of the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21, with particular emphasis
on issues of common interest and concern for all countries
of the ECE region. It reflects the experience, needs and
approaches shaped by five decades of cooperation within
the Economic Commission for Europe Committee on Human Settlements.