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

Conference Room 4
Wednesday 6 June 2001
1.15 - 2.45 p.m.



i. To provide a forum for stakeholders to exchange views and experiences on the full and progressive realization of housing rights within the context of the Habitat Agenda; and

ii. To provide an opportunity for stakeholders (particularly legislators) to report on progress being made in the housing rights advocacy process and to promote synergies to work together/coordinate activities for this purpose.

Organization This Panel Discussion is jointly organized by UNCHS (Habitat), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Global Parliamentarians on Habitat. The panel will include the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing under the Commission on Human Rights, representatives of the above said organizations as well as representatives from key stakeholders on housing rights such as governments, local authorities and international civil society organizations active in this specific field. The panel will respond to queries and contributions from the floor. Presentations and discussions will be held in English.

Context The realization of the right to adequate housing as enshrined in major international human rights instruments as well as the Habitat Agenda, is a progressive process requiring dedicated actions by all Habitat Agenda partners, especially governments at all levels, related intergovernmental organizations particularly the United Nations agencies, parliamentarians, NGOs and other civil society organizations. Specific actions highlighted in the Habitat Agenda aimed at promoting adequate shelter for all with reference to housing rights include the promotion of security of tenure, combatting homelessness, prevention of forced evictions and discrimination in all aspects of housing and promotion of equitable access to basic housing resources (such as land and finance).

The right to adequate housing has found explicit recognition among a wide range of international legal instruments and declarations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). The Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda, not only reaffirm the legal status of this right, but also provide detailed guidelines and specify responsibilities that stakeholders should fulfill in the realization process. Both the Commission on Human Settlements and the Commission on Human Rights have focussed on the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and thus adopted resolutions towards the promotion, protection and the full and progressive realization of this distinct right. Guided by the directives from the respective Commissions, UNCHS (Habitat) and the OHCHR are undertaking a joint global initiative entitled "United Nations Housing Rights Programme" (UNHRP) in order to assist states and other stakeholders in this process.

The Panel Discussion will endeavor to advance views for contributing to the realization process of housing rights based on the experiences of stakeholders and to strengthen cooperation modalities for the way forward. Discussions will provide inputs to the implementation of the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure, the formulation and implementation of the UNHRP and to the activities of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing. Answers will be sought to issues/questions such as:

  • How can stakeholders contribute to the realization of housing rights and in this connection to the implementation of the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure and the UNHRP?
  • How can legislative reforms be undertaken to address housing rights most effectively?
  • How can national level institutionalization be improved to promote and realize housing rights?
  • How can people living in poverty and other vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and be supported most effectively to have access to housing resources?
  • How can security of tenure be promoted for all vulnerable groups particularly for women?
  • How can stakeholders contribute to the fulfillment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing?

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Selman Erguden
Ag. Coordinator, Housing Policy Unit

Focal Point for Human Rights
UNCHS (Habitat)
Tel: (254-2) 624231
Fax: (254-2) 624265

Mr. Shekou M. Sesay
Inter-Regional Advisor
Focal Point for Parliamentarians
UNCHS (Habitat)
Tel: (254-2) 623033

Fax: (254-2) 624264


Mr. Rio Hada
Human Rights Officer
Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Tel: (41-22) 917 9408

Fax: (41-22) 917 9010



2001 UNCHS