8 June 2001
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
(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
(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
(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).