Mr. President,
Your Excellency Secretary General
Your Excellency Heads of Delegation

I have to honor to talk to you in my capacity as the head of the Bahrain delegation to the twenty fifth special session for the overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

It is my pleasure to congratulate you Mr. President on your election as President of this session and I wish you success in this important undertaking. It is also my privilege to convey to you the greetings of the leadership of Bahrain.

Bahrain is witnessing a political democratic development whereby human rights, freedom of expression and parliamentary participation are further strengthened. This movement towards democratic reforms has been initiated by the Amir of Bahrain, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and the people of Bahrain have as recent as February of this year, with an overwhelming majority, voted in favor of the National Charter, which reflects these developments.

Mr. President

The State of Bahrain has over the past five years, and even before, participated effectively at the national, regional and global levels in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. This is clearly reflected in our Bahrain Country Report. Realizing the importance and need of regional cooperation especially within the Arab world, Bahrain hosted the Arab Regional meeting in preparation of Istanbul +5, which has as one of its important outputs the Manama declaration.

The Manama declaration clearly reflects a unified vision of the participating Arab States with regard to the course to follow towards sustainable human settlements development within the Arab region. In the declaration a great number of important special references are made including the close and integral relationship between sustainable development and quality of life. We trust that the content of the Manama declaration will be reflected in the Istanbul +5 declaration.

Bahrain and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements have a long history of close, directly and indirectly, cooperation. This close cooperation has resulted in a number of mutual programmes including the establishment of the Bahrain Urban Indicator Programme and the Bahrain National Urban Observatory. For the near future the development of a Sustainable Urban Development Strategy has been planned.

We wish, on this occasion to compliment the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements for the excellent work it is undertaking at global, regional and at national levels, especially in Bahrain, and would like to express our appreciation for choosing Bahrain as one of the states where the Global Campaign for Good Urban Governance will be launched. We will continue to support the UNCHS and its programmes.

Mr. President,

As a member State of the United Nations and its agencies and recently as member of the Human Rights Commission and the Economic and social Development Committee, Bahrain would like to reiterate the high importance it attaches to actively participating in conferences, session and meetings organized by the international organizations in a wide variety of different fields including in the area of Human Settlements.

In this connection Bahrain has taken part at the global level in the Vancouver Conference in 1976 and in the Habitat II conference in Istanbul in 1996.

At the national level, the State of Bahrain has taken progressive steps in the area of human settlements in particular since the creation of the Ministry of Housing and Agriculture in 1975. The programmes and activities of Bahrain are guided by the principle of  `providing adequate housing for every family that does not own or cannot afford to build such a house'.  This principle has been embedded in the constitution of Bahrain (article 9, para f), which states that the state shall provide housing for those with limited income.

Based on this, the Ministry of Housing and Agriculture has since 1975 very successfully undertaken multiple housing programmes and projects. As a result around 62% of the population are at present supported by these programmes. The government of Bahrain has provided needy families facing difficult circumstances with housing and other social services. That is in addition to assistance given through the Amiri endowment for social care. These programmes and facilities are in line with the recommendations and resolutions of United Nations organizations, in particular the United Nations Center for Human Settlements.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We look forward for the success of this session in laying the foundation for providing each family and each individual with a life in dignity in a society whose present and future well-being is secure.

Thank you very much