25th UNGASS HABITAT II
H. E. Minister Ovídio Antonio de Angelic
Special Secretary for Urban Development of the Federative Republic of Brazil
New York, June 6, 2001
. Mr. President of the 25th Special Session of the United Nations
Assembly for the Assessment of the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (Istanbul +S)
. Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government;
. Permanent Representatives and Delegates;
. Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honored to represent Brazil in this important conference. It is my pleasure to convey President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's warm greetings and to express his confidence that the debate we are embarking on will yield new initiatives, fresh ideas and practical proposals for addressing the many challenges confronting our cities.
2. We have achieved significant progress since the Conference on Human Settlements held in Istanbul in 1996. Daily experience has shown, however, that striking a balance between the goals of poverty eradication, social justice and environmental concerns and providing equal opportunities for all remains a daunting challenge.
3. To begin with, the international climate has been largely unfavorable Throughout the nineties economic growth has been modest, more especially in Latin America, which suffered the constraining effects, in both fiscal and financial terms, of successive global financial crises.
4. Despite the negative domestic impact of this 'adverse international
scenario, the Brazilian Government was able to move ahead in implementing
the Istanbul commitments. The political determination embodied in the outcome
of the Habitat II Conference remains alive and has been a central plank
in Brazilian Government policy over the years. To this end, significant
social investments have been made in the fields of health, education, water
quality and sanitation, job creation and the fostering of social inclusion,
the latter by targeting vulnerable groups, such as youth, women and senior
citizens. The dedicated and decisive contribution made by civil society
to initiatives geared at alleviating social exclusion should be underscored.
Awareness campaigns, community support, monitoring of the outlay of federal funds in education and training; partnerships between federal and local governments these are all highly positive signs of how the three tiers of government in Brazil, together with civil society, can make things happen.
5. Thanks to this joint effort, which brings together volunteer work and partnerships between a wide range of social actors and institutions, including the private sector, much progress has been achieved in Brazil. Among these, increased life expectancy, both for men (69 years) and women (71 years). Infant mortality has declined to 24 per thousand live births in certain regions, while the national average has declined from 43 to 35. This rate is now very close to the goal of 33 per 1000 set by the UN for the year 2000. As concerns access to educat'io'n, 96% of all Brazilian children between the ages of 7 and 14 are now enrolled in school.
6. The Brazilian Government is equally concerned with the sustainability of human settlements. Municipalities that present relatively low human development levels have been targeted through ambitious sustainable development projects. In partnership with the local community and private enterprise, the Federal government has sought to foster action in sectors offering high growth potential - be it agriculture, trade or crafts.
7. A detailed record of the social advances achieved and of the initiatives developed in response to the commitments agreed to in the Habitat Agenda is available in the Brazilian national report prepared for the Special Session with inputs from all the different social and political segments. This report, which is at the disposal of all interested delegations and of which we are proud, attests to our success in largely fulfilling this undertaking. Through it we wish once again to express Brazil's determination to persevere in those actions geared to improving the living conditions of its people.
8. These numbers are eloquent. Yet, much remains to be done in pursuit of the goal of equal opportunities, quality education, citizenship-building for all and in every part of the country, including the more remote and isolated parts. We therefore reaffirm the understanding that the Habitat Agenda remains the major guiding light for the work to be carried out in all our countries in the fields of sustainable human settlements and adequate housing for all. This is an endeavor that we must all undertake with determination. We support the launching of the world campaign on urban governance and security of land tenure, issues which play a leading role in achieving the wider goals set out by Habitat -sustainable settlements and adequate housing for low-income families.
9. One of the challenges still to be addressed is the inadequacy of institutional and human resources in developing countries. There is a clear need to enhance technical and financial cooperation between developed and developing countries to strengthen institutions and local authorities.
10. We had the honor and the pleasure to host in Brazil the Executive Director of the Habitat Center last month. Dr. Tibaijuka met with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Government Ministers as well as the Governor of Brasilia. Mrs. Tibaijuka and I held a meeting during which she was briefed on the recent approval by the National Congress of a constitutional amendment whereby adequate housing is enshrined as a right of all citizens. As well as Brasilia, the Executive Director also got acquainted with the specificities of the situation in Sáo Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with whose Mayor she signed a bilateral cooperation agreement yesterday to be implemented in collaboration with the Habitat Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.
11. It is my pleasure to reaffirm the Brazilian delegation's commitment
to identifying the existing obstacles and the best means of overcoming
them and to recognizing the novel challenges before us and the need for
creative answers to our aspirations for social justice, social inclusion
and equal opportunities. These goals are being achieved as a result of
a series of initiatives that President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has instructed
his Ministers to put into effect. I am convinced, Mr. President that, under
your guidance and with the cooperation of all delegates present at this
Session, we will achieve our common goal of providing improved quality
of life for our peoples.
Thank you, Mr. President.