THE HONOURABLE ALFONSO GAGLIANO
MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES
AND MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR
CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
TO THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR
AN OVERALL REVIEW
AND APPRAISAL OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OUTCOME OF THE UNITED
NATIONS CONFERENCE ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS (HABITAT II)
JUNE 7, 2001
Mr. President, Honourable Ministers, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen:
It is an honour for me to represent Canada at this Special Session of
the United Nations' General Assembly, to review progress on the Habitat
Agenda since 1996.
The Canadian Delegation
I would like to begin by acknowledging the Canadian Delegation with
me today. Reflecting the spirit of the Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat
Agenda, we are pleased to have with us, on our delegation, representatives
of a full range of Canadian Habitat partners. We believe that the successful
implementation of the Habitat Agenda requires the full involvement of Canadian
partners in human settlements activities.
Progress and challenges - Adequate shelter for all
Canadians are fortunate to be relatively well-housed. Citizens enjoy good access to housing markets and the financing necessary to home ownership. Housing-related technology is leading edge. Our communities are economically and socially vibrant and increasingly environmentally conscious.
The Canada report recognizes that most Canadians are well housed in
healthy and supportive communities. However, a number of key challenges
remain in the areas of aboriginal housing, rental housing supply and affordability,
and homelessness. Governments are committed to working together to address
Progress and challenges - Sustainable Human Settlements Development
Canada is committed to advancing sustainable development and healthy
housing practices to reduce energy consumption, to protect occupant health,
to ensure quality water, and to encourage sustainable community planning
and design. Canada will continue to work on both the domestic and international
fronts, to meet its sustainable development commitments.
Progress and challenges - Enablement and Participation
Canada prides itself on having an inclusive society - one that encourages civic engagement and public participation. Just as a strong economy allows us to pursue our social values, an inclusive society is a prerequisite to a strong economy. Through our progressive tax system, active measures, and our social safety net, Canada has been able to limit the social and economic costs of social exclusion.
Most Canadian families have benefitted from rising incomes and greater
economic freedom. However, there are still many challenges we must face
- including addressing poverty and removing the barriers to full participation
in society for those at risk of being left behind. This is particularly
important for our children.
Progress and challenges - Gender Equality
The promotion of gender equality is a fundamental element of sustainable
human settlements development. Through domestic and international activities,
Canada will continue to promote the empowerment of women and their full
and equal participation in all spheres of society.
Progress and challenges - International Cooperation
In recent years, Canada has substantially increased the collaboration and coordination of Canadian partners working in international cooperation and development.
Canada's support for international cooperation is exemplified by commitments on world poverty issues and support provided to economic development and local capacity development. We have been working increasingly in partnership with both developing countries and countries with economies in transition. We also support greater collaboration and coherence related to all our international cooperation activities.
With the launch of the Canadian International Development Agency's Social
Development Priorities, Canada will be concentrating greater effort on
health and nutrition, basic education, HIV/AIDS, and child protection.
Other Canadian development assistance priorities include basic human needs,
gender equality, the environment, human rights and governance, private
sector development, and infrastructure services.
While our country faces a number of challenges, we can be proud of the
progress made since 1996. In closing, Canada remains committed to the goals
and principles of the Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda, and
we see the outcome of this Special Session as an important contribution
to the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg