Informal Consultations
Committee of the Whole
Thematic Committee
Parallel Events
Parallel Event

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE)
Committee on Human Settlements
Parallel Event

A. Introduction

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 2.

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.

B. Discussion

  • 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 vulnerable.
  • 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.

C. Conclusions

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.


© 2001 UNCHS