Statement made during the United Nations General Assembly, Special Session on Istanbul + 5

Litha Musyimi-Ogana,
Regional Director, African Center for Empowerment,
Gender and Advocacv (ACEGA)
on June 8, 2001

Mr. President,
Heads of Delegations,
Distinguished delegates
Ladies arid Gentlemen

I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President and members of your Bureau for successfully steering this General Assembly's Special Session on Istanbul+5 in an excellent manner. It will be five years this week since we participated in the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlement (HABITAT II ) in Istanbul, Turkey. With 100 million people in the world living with no shelter at all most of who are women, almost 70 million children living in the streets and many millions of refugees and internally displaced persons we still have along way to go.

Mr. President,

We are gathered here this week not only to take stock of the progress we have made since Istanbul and evaluate how.far we have gone in achieving the goals and objectives we set for ourselves in Istanbul, but also to share our experiences, best practices, achievements, .lessons learnt, problem encountered, gaps identified and reflect on the obstacles that we have faced on the road from Istanbul. Five years into the implementation of the HABITAT Agenda, we are now better positioned to map out ways in which we can accelerate the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. Confronted with new challenges and problems in Africa such as increasing poverty,  HIV/AIDS pandemic, debt burden, globalization and poor rural infrastructure, the attainment of the goals and objectives of HABITAT II Conference will require renewed commitment. Futhermore, existing and new man-made disasters continue to make the goal of attaining adequate shelter a dream and this has serious negative effects on women and children. This review affords us the opportunity in the 21st century to recommit our selves to achieving the goal of the HABITAT II conference.

Mr. President,

I represent The African Center for Empowerment Gender and Advocacy, an organization which has been in the forefront in advocating for gender parity in decision making structures which include the Parliament and Local Authority. The Center has also been involved in monitoring the implementation of various United Nations Instruments such as the Habitat Agenda. It has identified five steps that can lead to a successful and systematic domestication and implementation of a UN instrument at the national level, which we would like to share with you. We believe that these steps can contribute to the 'accelerated implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

. The formulation of a new national policy or review of an old one accompanied by a comprehensive National Plan of Action to implement the policy.
We found out that National Plans which had prioritized their issues, had clear goals, SMART objectives, time bound targets and financial resources were the most successful.

. Participation of the civil society and communities in a gender balanced manner in the UN process from preparatory phase through to the implementation phase.

. Upgrading of the Focal Point/implementing machinery both physically and technically or creating a new framework where no such Focal Point exists.

. Gender mainstreaming which is geared towards reducing gender disparity in existing structures and creating new gender balanced institutions and processes.

. Specific budgetary allocations for the implementation of the priority issues in a particular instrument and their sustainability in a hostile macro-economic environment.

Mr. President, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

UNCHS/HABITAT is now in a better position to guide member states to build on some of the innovative strategies and best practices that have emerged from this review process in order to further push forward the Habitat Agenda. They include:

Resolution 55/194 of the General Assembly has made it possible for Habitat partners tó participate in this process. I therefore cannot conclude my statement before thanking you Mr. President and the United Nations for passing this resolution and and encourage you to continue enlarging space for the participation of the civil society at the UN. Dubbed as the partners Conference, HABITAT II broke new grounds in fostering new partnership between the United Nations family, Governments, Local Authorities, civil society and private sectors. Through this partnership the UNCHS/HABITAT has been able to enjoy support from many of its partners and particularly those from the civil society. We trust that this partnership will be further nutured and sustained. May I now take this opportunity to assure you Mr. President of my organization's support and commitment towards the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

I Thank you.