Twenty-fifth Special Session of the UN General Assembly


Mr. Karel Havlícek,
Deputy Minister for Regional Development

New York, 7 June 2001

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

My delegation fully shares the views expressed yesterday by the distinguished minister of Sweden on behalf of the EU. The Czech Republic aligned itself with that statement and this allows me to confine my statement to a brief characterization of current processes in my country and few comments on the Habitat II follow-up.

Mr. President,

In the five years which elapsed since the Istanbul conference, the Czech Republic continued the process of substantial changes in the sphere of housing and human. One of the recent milestones in this process has been the adoption of a strategic document known as "Housing Policy Concept" in 1999. It traces past developments in the housing sector, identifies main challenges, and formulates underlying objectives and prerequisites of their attainment. Some of the goals have already been achieved, including the establishment of the State Housing Development Fund.

These years have also seen a major public administration reform in the Czech Republic including the establishment of fourteen new regions with elected representation. Administrative powers are being gradually transferred on to these newly created territorial units.

Mr. President,

At the Millennium Summit, the Heads of the States took a commitment for whose fulfilment we feel to be responsible, too. The commitment says that by the year 2020 a significant improvement is to be achieved in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers as proposed in the "Cities without Slums" initiative. The course of fulfilling the commitment will verify the Habitat capability to participate in the solving of such a comprehensive issue.

Like many other delegations, we strongly feel that the Habitat Agenda should not be renegotiated while the mechanisms of implementation are still to be strengthened. Our efforts should, therefore, concentrate on the agreed framework of priorities within the Agenda to make it useful and manageable in terms of implementation for all countries.

We will also maintain our interest to assist in establishing, promotion and support of municipal and regional networks of a pool of common and easy-to-measure indicators applicable for national reporting. However, this will call for modifications of the existing indicators.

Mr. President,

In the course of implementation of the Habitat Agenda, it is almost impossible to overstate the importance of regional, national and local approaches. For our region, Europe, let me mention the Ministerial meeting held last September in Geneva within the framework of the 61st Session of the Committee on Human Settlements of the UN Economic Commission for Europe. This meeting adopted a "Strategy for a Sustainable Quality of Life in Human Settlements in the 21st Century". We see, similarly to Ms. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of Habitat, this document and the approved Declaration of Ministers as good starting points for the future focus of the work of the Committee as well as an important step for the future implementation of the Habitat Agenda in the ECE region and its contribution to the global process.

We are well aware that the goals set by the Habitat Agenda may accelerate the housing policy reforms enacted by many countries and - at the same time - intensify regional and world-wide cooperation. The Czech Republic, too, is working hard indeed in a bid to achieve gradually those goals. We will support the efforts to implement those goals also by continuing our voluntary annual contributions to the activities of the UN Centre for Human Settlements in Nairobi.
Thank you for you attention.