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THEMATIC COMMITTEE

Thematic Committee
8 June 2001
12:00h - 13:00h

GENERAL CONCLUSIONS

In conclusion, the issues and observations below were highlighted:

(a) From the experiences presented, it is clear that the Habitat Agenda is indeed being implemented in many parts of the world.

(b) Local authorities have a very important role in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and need to be strengthened.

(c) The emergence of partnerships in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda has been one of the most significant developments since Habitat II.

(d) It is important not to sideline cultural dimensions in the implementation of human settlements projects, even though globalization forces appear to be moving towards greater standardization of approaches and methods. There is much useful knowledge in indigenous ways of doing things and this should not be lost.

(e) The architectural and physical-morphological dimensions of human settlements programmes and projects appear to have been neglected in recent years and need to receive greater emphasis.

(f) Some of the concepts used in recent years tend to be too ambiguous and have not been supported by thorough scientific or systematic analysis. Some of them are ideologically motivated and not culturally neutral.

(g) The cases presented have shown that there are many similarities in the problems and dilemmas facing different countries, developed and developing, such as the need to rehabilitate historical city centres, resettlement of households from disaster-prone areas and slum upgrading.

(h) The Thematic Committee format is certainly a very good and innovative way of sharing substantive experiences and should be adopted as a standard format of similar United Nations meetings in future, including Rio + 10.

(i) Poverty reduction requires that the poor be seen as "subjects" rather than "objects", be agents for their own betterment and contribute in a significant way to structural change. Poverty is fundamentally a structural problem and its solution requires structural change.

(j) There is a need to ensure that training institutions receive enough support in order to enable them to produce professionals with relevant knowledge and skills.

(k) Reducing poverty requires sharing responsibility by all in society, including the poor and this responsibility should be integrated with rights. Rights and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

(l) The cases presented have shown that there are still many problems concerning vertical coordination between different levels of government, and horizontally between actors at the same level.

(m) Policies should not try to resist the dynamism of urban growth, for this is a constant and the appropriate response should be continual innovation that enables us to deal with change.

(n) The role of transport in linking cities and other settlements needs greater emphasis. The Habitat Agenda clearly recognizes this but, from the cases presented, it appears that this has not been sufficiently addressed.

(o) Most of the cases presented have demonstrated the crucial roles of vision, leadership, commitment and long-term strategic planning in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

(p) International assistance in human settlements development programmes and projects is important, but developing world problems cannot be eliminated though aid. It is important to mobilize local resources, financial and human, and to balance these against international resources.

(q) South-south cooperation has been highlighted by some of the cases and presented as a powerful tool for sharing information, transferring technology and initiating change.

(r) Evaluation of projects funded by international donors should adopt a process-oriented approach rather an output oriented one. Sustainable success requires change of processes and in projects, this is more important than immediate material gains.

(s) The replicability of many of the projects presented is very high, and some have already demonstrated this potential. So the sharing of knowledge through the Thematic Committee is very useful and should be replicated in other review processes (such as Rio+10).

 

 

 

2001 UNCHS