DRAFT REPORT OF
|19 to 23 October 2000
Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China
This report is issued without formal editing
(Click here to download this file in Word format)
Five years after the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, the UN General Assembly will meet in June 2001 to review and appraise the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. In preparation for this session, ESCAP and UNCHS (Habitat), in collaboration with The Urban Governance Initiative, the Asian Development Bank, the WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Office and CityNet, organized a Regional High-Level Meeting for the Asia-Pacific region from 19-23 October 2000 in Hangzhou, China. The Ministry of Construction and the Municipality of Hangzhou hosted the meeting which was organized around six key areas of the Habitat Agenda: Poverty, Environmental Management, Economic Development Governance, Shelter and International Cooperation. In the spirit of Habitat II, representatives from national and local governments, NGOs, research and training institutes and the private sector participated in the meeting which was attended by 157 participants from 22 countries.
The objectives of the meeting were to (a) to look back and review the experiences since Habitat II and to draw lessons for a common regional perspective, (b) to look forward, identify the challenges ahead and develop ideas on how to address these challenges, and (c) to discuss and recommend regional and international support mechanisms for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. After the presentation of an overview paper on Istanbul+5 and five background papers of the themes of the Meeting, four stakeholder symposia were convened, for national governments, local governments, non-governmental organizations, and research and training institutes.
The symposium of national governments reported positive developments in the shelter sector, with the adoption of more realistic building standards, an increase in public-private partnerships and community-based approaches to low-income housing. Some policies such as the resettlement of rural households to reduce rural-urban migration and urbanization had, however, failed. Governments were decentralizing powers and functions to the local level, but decentralization of financial powers remained limited. Inroads in poverty alleviation had been made through the empowerment of the poor, a focus on women in poverty alleviation and increased stakeholder participation in local decision-making, but more needed to be done
The symposium of local governments felt that the roles, powers and functions of different levels of governments needed clarification. Resources and decision-making had to be devolved to the local level. Through an appropriate legal framework, capacity building and human resources development, local governments should be empowered to address urban issues. Security of land tenure was critical for housing the poor, but local governments lacked power to acquire land. Similarly, cities in the region faced environmental problems, but local authorities lacked the capacity to enforce environmental laws. They were also unable to promote local economic development by a lack of resources and the absence of a legal framework to mobilize them. To alleviate poverty, local governments needed to increase their support to community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations that work with the poor, especially with women. Multi-stakeholder coalitions should monitor and evaluate actions towards urban governance.
The symposium of non-governmental organizations focused its attention on the process of implementation of the Habitat Agenda which they did not see as a people's agenda. It had been drafted and approved by national governments, and many stakeholders were unaware of it. The Agenda needed to be localized and its implementation institutionalized by the creation of Habitat Committees at national, sub-national and municipal level. The Agenda was quite comprehensive, but new issues (globalization, international debt, indigenous knowledge, corruption) had emerged. The Agenda had to be made more readable and understandable. There was concern that Istanbul+5 was a session of the General Assembly where civil society would not be represented. NGO views were often not included in the national reports and reported progress differed from reality. Greater transparency was needed in the review of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, and the country reports should be the result of a broad consultation process with involvement by all stakeholders. Audits by actors not involved in its implementation, should be incorporated in the monitoring and reporting on the progress in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
The symposium of research and training institutes identified the need to critically analyze and document "best" and "worst" practices. Clients needed to be identified so that the research results could be used in policy development and programmes. Many issues had already been researched and findings had to be disseminated to decision-makers in the government and civil society. In this respect, the symposium asked ESCAP’s assistance in developing and hosting of a regional portal website. Because training needs were constantly changing, institutes should determine the needs before building training programmes. Government officials needed to change their attitude, become more entrepreneurial and manage the assets of the local government more effectively. They should learn to work in a participatory way and develop the ability to understand the realities of cities.
In the subsequent plenary session, participants cautioned against over-reliance on poverty alleviation in slums and squatter settlements, as urban poor who did not live in such settlements would be excluded. Considerable efforts were necessary to re-educate people to change their attitudes and reduce consumerism and wasteful behavior. Participants agreed that policy makers, researchers and civil society did not fully understand the implications of globalization and its impacts on economies, societies, cultures, cities and the poor. Methodologies and indicators were needed to audit governments on good governance and measure progress in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. However, there were not only problems in the cities of Asia and the Pacific, but also many initiatives to find solutions. A better use should be made of these solutions through the sharing of experiences at regional level through existing regional networks like CityNet and LOGOTRI.
The last decade had been the decade of UN conferences. The UN should make the current decade the decade of implementation and assist countries in implementing the recommendations and actions of all world conferences held in the 1990s. There was a need for more regional cooperation to further the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. UNESCAP and UNCHS should increase their activities to assist countries in the implementation and reporting of the Habitat Agenda through seminars and advisory services.
Five years after the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, the General Assembly of the United Nations will meet in June 2001 in New York to review and appraise the implementation of the Habitat Agenda (Istanbul+5). In preparation for this Special Session, countries have been requested to prepare national reports assessing the progress achieved in implementing the Agenda at the country level. In addition, the United Nations is organizing a series of preparatory meetings including high-level meetings at the regional level in cooperation with regional inter-governmental organizations and regional development banks.
A High-Level Regional Meeting for the Asia and Pacific Region in preparation for Istanbul +5 was held from 19-23 October 2000 in Hangzhou, China. Following the universal reporting format for the country reports, the Meeting was organized around six key areas of the Habitat Agenda:
Organization of the meeting
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Fukuoka Office, in collaboration with The Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI/UNDP), the Asian Development Bank, the Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization and CityNet, organized the High-level Regional Meeting for the Asia and Pacific region. The Ministry of Construction and the Municipality of Hangzhou, China, hosted the Meeting.
Venue and dates
The Meeting was held from 19 to 23 October 2000 at the Zhejiang World Trade Center Grand Hotel, Hangzhou, China. A poster session was organized at the Hangzhou Public Library.
157 participants from national and local governments, research and training institutes, non-governmental and civil society organizations and the private sector from 22 countries in Asia and the Pacific participated at the High-level Meeting. A complete list of participants is annexed.
The agenda of the High-level Meeting was as follows:
1. Opening session
2. Presentation of overview and theme papers
3. Symposia of national and local governments, research and training institutes and non-governmental organizations
4. Presentation and discussion on the reports of the Symposia
5. Discussion on regional and international cooperation
6. Poster session.
The Opening Session started with the welcome address by the Honourable Mr. Qiu Baoxing, Mayor of Hangzhou Municipality. It was followed by the addresses of Ms. Joyce Yu, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Asad Shah of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Ms. Kayoko Mizuta, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Ms. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat). His Excellency Mr. Yu Zheng Sheng, the Minister of Construction of China, gave the opening address.
Presentation of theme papers
Mr. Shen Jianguo, Deputy Director General Ministry of Construction, China, chaired the session. The purpose of this session was to provide background information on the themes of the Meeting. One overview paper and five theme papers were presented. Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher, the Istanbul+5 Coordinator of UNCHS (Habitat) presented the overview paper on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in Asia and the Pacific. Mr. Adnan Aliani of UNESCAP presented the paper on Urban Poverty Alleviation. Mr. Asad Shah of ADB presented the paper on Local Economic Development in a Globalizing World. Mr. Hisashi Ogawa of the Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WPRO-WHO) presented the paper on Urban Environmental Management in Asia and the Pacific, while Ms. Sri Husnaini Sofjan of the UNDP-UNOPS executed TUGI programme presented the paper on Urban Governance. Mr. Disa Weerapana of UNCHS (Habitat) presented the paper on Shelter for All.
Implementation of the Habitat Agenda in Asia and the Pacific
In her presentation, Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher explained that the primary objective of her preliminary report was to highlight the main trends and issues of concern in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, identified in the national reports received so far from countries in the ESCAP region. The commitments and strategies of the Habitat Agenda formed the framework for the assessment. The synthesis highlighted the key issues from the national reports, and emphasized progress made since 1996. It described prevailing conditions, new trends and emerging issues, policy and legislative changes, institutional weaknesses and obstacles encountered, and lessons learnt, with an emphasis on sustainability and impact. Progress had been made in many countries, but more action was clearly needed in all areas. The purpose of the regional meeting in Hangzou, China, was not only to review the progress made, but also to identify and agree on concrete initiatives to extend and strengthen actions to implement the Habitat Agenda and to achieve its goals in the ESCAP region.
Urban Poverty Alleviation (click here for the full paper)
In his presentation, Mr. Aliani presented the three interrelated aspects of poverty: poverty of money, of access and of power. To deal with these three aspects, concerted and comprehensive policies were needed. Countries of the region had made progress in alleviating all three aspects of poverty, but considerable effort was still needed, particularly in view of the new challenges of globalization of economies and information. Without effective policies, globalization would only increase the gap between rich and poor.
The poor could break the cycle of poverty, if they were organized, united and articulate, and had technical and managerial skills. They required assistance in two areas: (a) building sustainable collective mechanisms that served as an entry point for economic, social, physical and environmental development in their communities, and (b) access to information, as that could increase civic and political engagement among the poor. Civil society organizations that collected, compiled and translated information in forms and media easily understood by the poor needed to be supported.
In alleviating the poverty of money, four policies were needed. The economies of the poor had to be integrated with the formal economy at the local, national and global level. The poor had to gain access to credit. Investments had to be made to make the poor a part of the knowledge-based economy. Community-based safety nets had to be promoted.
To ensure their success and sustainability, institutional change and human resources development in the public sector and civil society were required. The most important institutional change was decentralization and strengthening of local governments. Poverty was a local issue, and responses and policies to alleviate poverty had to be localized. The role of government had to change from a provider of goods and services to a regulator and facilitator of formal and informal markets, and enabler of organizations of the poor. Government needed a culture that encouraged experimentation and innovation.
Institutional reform could not succeed without human resources development. There was a need for attitudinal change and skills development in the public sector so that government officials saw the poor as clients and partners rather than as beneficiaries, and accepted that they needed to learn from ground realities and from the poor rather than impose policies and models from above. The attitudinal changes had to be supplemented by skills development for interaction with the poor.
Organizations of the poor and their partners in the civil society also needed human resources development, including training in community organization and financial and organizational management, skill development in consensus building, negotiating, coalition-building and networking, in collecting, compiling and effectively using information, and in social marketing to promote their cause more effectively.
Regional actions required in the area of poverty alleviation were:
Local Economic Development in a Globalizing world
According Mr. Asad Shah, the three key urban challenges for countries in the region were an effective and efficient management of mega-cities, strengthening links between urban and rural centres, and increased investment in urban infrastructure and services. It was important to understand that by the year 2025, urbanization in Asia and the Pacific would increase to 53 per cent. The population of mega-cities in Asia would reach 382 million and of the 20 mega-cities in Asia, 10 would be in South Asia. By then, 80 per cent of Asia’s economic growth would be generated in urban economies. Mr.Shah reminded participants that the Habitat Agenda which envisioned sustainable development for human settlements and emphasized the enabling approach, had been prepared before the Asian financial crisis which had affected its implementation in the region.
Globalization continued to have an impact on Asia during the past five years. Cities in the region competed for foreign direct investments in commercial developments and financial service office centres. Information-based industries were emerging as the major growth area in many economies, and were finding a natural home in the region’s mega-cities taking advantage of their agglomeration economies. Globalization could increase economic development and alleviate poverty, but it had also contributed to the Asian financial crisis, which had led to a contraction in gross domestic products and increased unemployment.
Most countries of the region had adopted decentralization policies. The role of local government as a leader in economic development had been recognized and countries had moved from a direct, state-driven approach to an enabling approach. This approach was characterized by a greater participation of non-public actors in local development, decentralization of national government responsibilities, and mobilization of funds from various financial sources, with an emphasis on local economic resources.
Mr.Shah informed the participants that ADB's overall strategic objectives for the urban sector were the maximization of the economic efficiency of urban areas and urban poverty reduction. To achieve these objectives, ADB had initiated projects aimed at urban development, local capacity building and poverty alleviation and promoted greater networking, documentation and exchange of best practices at the regional level. He listed the components of the decentralization strategy recommended by the Asian Development Bank to promote local economic development and reviewed the contribution of ADB to local economic development in the region.
He summarized the issues and challenges for local governments in promoting economic development: effective and equitable land use management, improved urban environmental management, innovative financing strategies for urban development and shelter, improved response to the nexus between urban governance and economic development, strategies for private sector involvement in urban infrastructure and development, urban management capacity building, polices and programmes for generating new employment opportunities.
Urban Environmental Management in Asia and the Pacific
In his presentation, Mr. Ogawa outlined the environmental problems facing the cities of Asia and the Pacific: an increasing volume of wastewater and solid waste; indoor and outdoor air pollution; noise pollution; industrial and traffic accidents; diminishing green and recreational space; and unsafe housing and unhygienic living condition in under-served areas, such as slums and squatter settlements. With varying intensities, these problems were prevalent in almost all cities of the region. The Habitat Agenda had devoted considerable attention to the problems and called upon countries to take actions to address the problems:
Environmental problems of cities had been recognized as a key urban issue much before the convening of Habitat II and several regional programmes had been initiated to assist national and local governments to improve and protect the urban environment. These initiatives had done valuable work and created opportunities that needed to be exploited effectively to solve urban environmental problems of cities. Opportunities included a growing environmental awareness among the general public, politicians and children, and improved tools and mechanisms for integrated environmental planning.
Considerable advances had been made in production and information technologies that produced less waste. Transfer of such technologies to developing countries had made production processes much cleaner. The region was witnessing global economic integration and environmental standardization together with decentralization. These trends had the potential to reduce pollution in urban areas. However, more work was needed because of new and emerging challenges: the development of comprehensive approaches that integrated environmental protection and poverty alleviation; the improvement of tools and mechanisms that integrated environmental and developmental issues; facilitating innovation and the transfer and adaptation of technology; financing and resource generation to address urban environmental problems; and the promotion of decentralization and good governance.
The challenges of improving the urban environment were immense and varied. Countries needed to prioritize their actions into three basic strategies:
Urban Governance (click here for full paper)
Ms Sofjan informed participants that the Asia-Pacific urban landscape was one of immense contrasts - of ostentatious plenty and of abject poverty, of great beauty and terrible ugliness, of vast opportunity and rampant oppression. Before embarking on the path of reform, it was important to develop a vision. One such vision was that cities in Asia and the Pacific would become socially just, ecologically sustainable, politically participatory, economically productive and culturally vibrant. This could be achieved by working towards the establishment of good urban governance in the region. Governance concerned not just the state, but also other actors such as the civil society and the private sector.
The functions of the state were to legislate, maintain the rule of law, establish regulations and standards, develop infrastructure, ensure social safety nets and take inclusionary measures. The role of the civil society was to organize communities, facilitate political and social interaction, educate communities, foster the culture of cities, support solidarity actions and mobilize groups to participation in social and economic life. The role of the private sector was to generate income and employment, set and constantly upgrade corporate standards, deliver services, increase productivity and trade, develop human resources and provide safety nets and social protection that include the excluded. Good governance arose from a partnership of these three actors and resulted in a development that gave priority to the poor, advanced the cause of women and children, sustained the environment, and created needed opportunities for employment and other livelihoods.
Both the UNCHS and UNDP had defined the characteristics of good governance. UNCHS defined good governance as being sustainable, decentralized, equitable, efficient, transparent and accountable, secure, and as promoting civic engagement and citizenship. While UNDP listed the characteristics of good governance as participation, strategic vision, rule of law, consensus orientation, responsiveness, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency, equity building, and accountability.
Good urban governance could be promoted by five basic strategies:
United Nations and other multilateral organizations could assist the process towards achieving good governance by including civil society organizations in their programmes, providing information, documenting and sharing innovations and initiatives, encouraging interaction among various stakeholders and providing the inspiration for change and reform.
Shelter for All (click here for full paper)
In his presentation, Mr. Weerapana informed the participants that Habitat II had had two major themes: "Shelter for All", and "Sustainable Human Settlements Development in an Urbanizing World". Under the theme of "Shelter for All", the Habitat Agenda defined its goal as everyone having adequate shelter that was healthy, safe, secure, accessible and affordable, that included basic services, facilities and amenities and as everyone enjoying freedom from discrimination in housing and legal security of tenure.
To achieve this goal, the plan of action outlined major actions:
Considerable progress had been made in the region to meet the goal of shelter for all. The role of the government had shifted towards that of an enabler; national policies and legislation had been critically reviewed; a commitment had been made towards community participation approaches; and the provision of secure tenure had been recognized as a key ingredient of poverty alleviation. Several programmes and initiatives had been launched at the international level to advocate shelter for all and to assist countries in achieving that goal. They included the decision of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Housing Rights, the launching of the Global Campaign on Secure Tenure and the UNCHS (Habitat)/World Bank Cities Alliance Initiative: "Cities Without Slums."
There had also been failures. Public policy interest in housing had declined with the Asian economic crisis and globalization. Many countries had been unable to make housing markets work efficiently and an urbanization of poverty was occurring in the region due to the failure to capture the gains of globalization for the benefit of the poor. Housing standards remained unaffordable resulting in a proliferation of spontaneous settlements. Participatory processes and the provision of security of tenure had not been institutionalized and access to resources for housing remained a problem for the poor.
To achieve the goal of shelter for all, governments needed to recognize the linkages between the performance of the housing sector and the national economy. They needed to manage the housing sector as a single market rather than as differentiated sub-markets, and to recognize that the bulk of the housing was not produced by the public sector and the role of government was not to produce housing but to enable the housing market to function efficiently. To achieve this, governments needed to focus on both demand side and supply side interventions.
On the demand side, governments had to recognize and provide security of tenure; develop property rights and land markets; and improve access to mortgage finance and rationalize subsidies. On the supply side, governments had to develop a policy and institutional framework for housing; reform public planning standards and norms to make them more realistic; recognize the poor and their housing and settlements needs; and improve the capacity of the building industry. There was considerable advocacy, normative and technical support available at the international level to assist countries in realizing the goal of shelter for all.
After the presentation of the theme papers, four stakeholder symposia were convened, for national governments, local governments, non-governmental organizations, and research and training institutes. Because they constituted a very small group, the representatives of private sector were invited to participate in any of the above symposia; most attended the symposium of the research and training institutes. Each symposium was requested to discuss all five themes of the Meeting: shelter, poverty alleviation, economic development, environment and governance. The objectives of the symposia were to:
1. To look back and review the experiences since Habitat II and to draw lessons for a common regional perspective.
2. To look forward, identify the challenges ahead and develop ideas on how to address the challenges.
3. To discuss and recommend regional and international support mechanisms for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda at the country level.
Each symposium reported the conclusions of their discussions at the plenary. The discussions at the symposia were varied and rich. By and large, all symposia covered the five themes of the Meeting. The conclusions are presented below.
Symposium of National Governments
Mr. Qamrul Islam Siddique, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Bangladesh, chaired the symposium of national governments; Mr. Titanon Pibulnakarin, Assistant Governor, National Housing Authority of Thailand was appointed as Rapporteur. As the national government symposium had the largest number of participants, Dr. Esfandiyar Zabardast, Consultant to the Habitat Committee of Iran, was selected as the facilitator of the Symposium. The Symposium was serviced by Mr. Jan Meeuwissen, Senior Human Settlements Adviser of UNCHS (Habitat) Fukuoka Office.
The Symposium addressed three questions:
What had been achieved?
The symposium agreed that the nature of housing policies depended on the level of economic development and affordability of the countries. Some countries of the region could provide subsidized public housing to all low-income families, while others could not and had to rely on other approaches. The participants felt that overall there had been positive developments in the shelter sector.
The review of housing policies had expanded so that it covered not just housing but also infrastructure and services management and took account of environmental, social and economic aspects of housing and settlements. Countries had adopted more realistic building standards to facilitate the supply of housing and reduce its costs. There had been an increase in public-private partnerships in housing production, accompanied by closer links between housing finance and savings schemes. Changes from public to private ownership of housing had had a major positive impact on the local economy. In support of their housing policies, some countries had revised their fiscal policies and tax system to eliminate anomalies. Considerable progress had been made in research and development of appropriate building technologies. Community-based approaches to address low-income housing problems had not only increased in numbers, but had become generally accepted by many governments.
On the other hand, many policies had failed. Policies that pursued rural resettlement to divert rural-urban migration had by and large failed to meet their objective and had caused ethnic and social problems. Housing low-income families in high-rise public housing had also failed in many countries, because the buildings did not conform to the socio-economic and cultural needs of the poor. They were often too costly to maintain, and efforts to motivate tenants to pay for and maintain public rental housing had not been effective. The provision of access to land alone was not enough and had to be accompanied by comprehensive poverty alleviation policies. Many countries still did not value the investments the poor made in their own settlements and that clearance of slums and squatter settlement still occurred around the region.
Although the devaluation of national currencies had increased poverty in countries of South East Asia, countries of Asia and the Pacific had, by and large, made many inroads in alleviating poverty. The efforts varied from country to country, but included the empowerment of the poor to improve their own living conditions by improving access to credit, a focus on women in poverty alleviation programmes and an increase in the involvement of people in planning and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes.
Many countries of the region had made progress in addressing urban environmental issues and had incorporated environmental considerations in urban planning. There were an increasing number of water and sanitation projects in the region and some countries had instituted water resources management programmes that sought to conserve and reuse water.
Despite the recent economic down turn in South East Asia, there had been economic development in the region due to Foreign Direct Investment in many countries. Countries recognized the close linkages between economic development, poverty alleviation and housing.
Countries had adopted policies to improve governance. Several countries were taking steps towards decentralization of government powers and functions to the local level. However, decentralization of financial powers had been limited. Most countries recognized the need for participatory processes in decision-making and there had been an increase in the participation of all stakeholders, particularly women, in local decision-making.
What needed to be done
Considerable efforts were still needed to achieve the goals of the Habitat Agenda. In shelter delivery, the linkages between housing finance and community-based saving and credit schemes needed to be strengthened. In some countries, there was still a need to develop appropriate building technologies or to define realistic housing standards. The issue of land needed to be addressed more effectively. Competing interests in land had to be balanced and land needed to be made available to the urban poor who needed security of land tenure. Innovative public-private partnerships were needed to achieve the goal of shelter for all.
To alleviate poverty, Governments needed to implement concrete action that concentrated on creating employment and generating income. Legislation that excluded the poor had to be revised. Governments needed to adopt policies that empowered the poor such as policies that provided access to formal credit, developed affordable transportation, eradicated illiteracy and provided basic services.
To improve the environment of cities, governments needed to move towards sanitary landfills, decrease the emissions of carbon dioxide and improve water and waste water management. They needed to put in place disaster mitigation schemes and work towards developing balanced human settlements patterns.
To promote urban economic development, governments needed to develop export-processing zones as a means to generate employment. They needed to promote the establishment of community-based savings and credit schemes and had to recognize that shelter development had a positive impact on the local economy.
Many countries recognized the need to delegate financial powers to local authorities, but there were diverse opinions in the region on the need for a World Charter of Local Self-Government. Decentralization had to be accompanied by the authority for resource mobilization at all levels of government. The participation of women in government had to be enhanced. In order to establish efficient, effective and responsible governments, indicators were needed to measure the performance of urban governance.
What support mechanisms were needed
Participants felt that international and regional organizations needed to play a more active role in assisting countries in implementing the Habitat Agenda for a better exchange of information and experience, for more financial and technical support and capacity building programmes in the region. Aid agencies needed to change their attitudes and provide support that was really needed rather than impose their own hidden agenda on developing countries, which were too dependent to resist. Often, agencies funded programmes and projects that benefited the country providing the assistance rather than the recipient country.
The symposium requested the United Nations system to strengthen the activities of UNCHS (Habitat) and the UNESCAP Human Settlements Section in the region, to organize joint regional training programmes on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, to assist in the strengthening of National Habitat Committees, and to improve coordination at the national level for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
Symposium of Local Governments
Dr. Cynthia G. Cajudo, the Vice Mayor of Olongapo City, the Philippines, chaired the Symposium of Local Governments, while Ms. Bernadia Irawadi, Programme Manager of CityNet was selected as Rapporteur of the Symposium. The symposium was serviced by Ms. Sri Sofjan Husnaini, Acting Coordinator of the UNDP-UNOPS executed The Urban Governance Initiative.
At the outset, participants agreed that while there were commonalties, issues, strategies and actions needed to achieve the goals of the Habitat Agenda varied according to the specific conditions in each country.
The participants felt that a major problem in the shelter sector was a lack of security of tenure for the urban poor. This was compounded by a lack of financing mechanisms for housing projects and for land acquisition for low-income housing and by an inappropriate legal framework comprising rigid building codes and land regulations. The cost of housing could be reduced, if appropriate low-cost building materials and technologies could be developed.
The participants felt that in order to ensure shelter for all, the poor should be provided with secure tenure. Local governments had to be empowered to contribute to the development of shelter for the poor through the acquisition of land and the establishment of housing funds. Some settlements of the poor had to be moved, but this should only be done on a voluntary basis. Rules and regulations governing building standards had to be reformed to make them appropriate and realistic, and incentives were needed to promote public-private partnerships in housing.
They noted that the roles, powers and functions of national, provincial and local governments needed to be clarified and effectively coordinated for the provision of shelter to the urban poor. Increased rural-urban migration and unplanned growth of cities resulted in a lack of adequate housing. Satellite townships were needed with all necessary facilities and services, such as schools, hospitals, transportation, livelihoods and basic infrastructure to alleviate pressure on cities.
Almost all cities and towns of the region faced similar environmental problems, although their magnitude differed from one place to another. Common problems were solid waste management, water and wastewater management, air pollution caused by vehicular and industrial emissions, energy management and diminishing open spaces and green areas. The capacities of most local authorities to enforce environmental laws were weak.
To improve the urban environment, land use zoning and the protection of designated green areas were needed, and environmentally sound transportation systems should be introduced. Government should extend incentives and support to civil society groups working on environmental issues, because public-private partnerships were essential for environmental protection. There was a need to integrate environmental management in long- and medium-term physical and economic development plans of cities.
Participants agreed that there was a lack of a common understanding and agreement on the concept of urban governance. Some countries lacked mechanisms for effective civic engagement and private-sector involvement in political decision-making, and sometimes a lack of political will to practice good urban governance.
Participants felt that it was necessary to undertake education and awareness building on the tenets of urban governance and to build capacities to develop information and knowledge resources on urban governance. This could be achieved by developing inventories on good urban governance practices.
To enhance the level of competencies in local governments, there was a need for multi-stakeholder coalitions that monitored and evaluated actions towards urban governance, for benchmarks on local government performance in urban governance, and for qualitative indicators on the participation of women in local government to measure the level of success in addressing gender issues in urban governance. In many countries, resources and decision-making needed to be devolved to the local level. Local authorities should be empowered through an appropriate legal framework, capacity building and human resources development to address urban issues.
In some countries, local governments lacked the capacity and the authority to deal with local economic development issues. The power to promote local economic development, in particular through investment incentives, needed to be devolved to local governments. Local governments of some countries were hampered in their efforts to promote local economic development by a lack of resources that resulted from inefficient revenue collection systems and the absence of a legal framework for resource mobilization. This applied in particular to credit from financial institutions, funds from capital markets and grants from the private sector.
Countries needed to review and reform their legal frameworks to enable local governments to undertake profit-making enterprises. Local governments should promote joint ventures and partnerships with the private sector to foster local economic development. To increase their tax base, local governments should introduce reward systems as incentives to increase collection of local taxes.
Participants noted that programmes to promote micro-credit and alleviate poverty in cities were sometimes constrained by a limited allocation of resources and authority. Some countries lacked specific programmes to empower women and poor communities. Local governments should support community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations working with the poor, especially with women. They needed to facilitate the development and strengthening of micro-credit and poverty reduction programmes.
Cross cutting strategies and regional support mechanisms
The symposium also discussed cross-cutting strategies and regional support mechanisms. It felt that national laws and policies in some countries had to be enforced more vigorously through a strengthening of authority and capacity. Local governments must optimize the application of information and communication technologies in human settlements activities, enhance the capacities of local government officials to foster public participation, and develop and institutionalize mechanisms for partnerships with NGOs, CBOs and the private sector. The dissemination of information to all stakeholders needed to be institutionalized so that their participation was more informed and effective. Local governments could learn from each other's experiences, and inter-country and -city, north-south and south-south exchanges of experience and expertise, and networking among local governments through networks such as CityNet needed to be promoted.
Symposium of Non-Governmental Organizations
Mr. Kirtee Shah, President of the Habitat International Coalition, chaired the Symposium of Non-Governmental Organizations. Dr. Suparb Pas-Ong, Coordinator of the Nakorn Sri Thamarat Forum was appointed as the Rapporteur, while Mr. Jorge Carrillo-Rodriguez, Human Settlements Officer, UNESCAP, serviced the Symposium.
The symposium focused its attention on the process of implementation of the Habitat Agenda. It discussed the needs for outreach and dissemination, the themes of the Agenda, the actions that were needed to make its implementation successful, and the role of NGOs to ensure its success.
Participants felt that the Habitat Agenda was not a people's agenda, because it was drafted and approved only by representatives of national governments at the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul. Only very few countries of the region had taken actions towards the implementation of the Agenda. In Nepal, its recommendations had been incorporated in the National Development Plan. In other countries, some aspects of the Agenda had been implemented, but not necessarily because of a commitment to implement the Agenda by the government. An example were the changes in the constitution of Thailand to institutionalize participation.
Outreach and dissemination issues
There was general consensus in the symposium that a large section of the stakeholders was unaware of the Habitat Agenda. This included many government officials, planners and other human settlement professionals, representatives of civil society organizations and organizations of the poor. Some reasons sighted for this lack of awareness were that the Agenda was a very difficult document to read and that the United Nations and governments had failed to publicize the Agenda sufficiently. Moreover, many activist groups and civil society organizations found it difficult to identify with a large number of issues in the Agenda.
The participants felt that the themes and issues covered in the Habitat Agenda were comprehensive. However, new issues and priorities had emerged since the time the Agenda had been drafted and these issues needed to be added or re-emphasized. Some of these issues were globalization, international debt, rural settlements development, the use of and respect for indigenous knowledge and local cultures, and the linkages between governance and corruption.
The symposium noted that several actions were needed to improve the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The Agenda needed to be localized and its implementation institutionalized. This could be done by reforming the Habitat Committee system which presently only existed at the national level. There was a need to create Habitat Committees at all levels, national, sub-national, municipal and town, and to allocate resources to these Committees.
To make it successful, the Agenda's constituency needs to be as broad as possible, and the message of the Agenda therefore needed to be communicated more widely. This was a need for parallel strategies: at the macro or national level, institutions and movements could work to implement the Agenda’s recommendations and precepts; at the micro-level, people and communities could use it as a tool to demand services and improve governance.
However, the wording and format of the Agenda needed to be improved to make it more readable and easily understandable. It would have to be translated into local languages and made more focused so that people and their organizations could identify with its contents. The only area of the Agenda that had some focus was the shelter section. Governments and the United Nations needed to constantly re-disseminate the Habitat Agenda so that the Agenda was not lost, when government officials changed.
The symposium was of the opinion that there was a need for greater transparency in the process of reporting the progress in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, with short-term concerns concerning the reporting process for Istanbul+5, and long-term concerns regarding the reporting beyond Istanbul+5.
In some countries, the Istanbul+5 reports had already been prepared. The reports should be made public and a consultation process should be instituted to discuss their contents with broad participation by all stakeholders. In other countries, report preparation was underway and governments needed to ensure that the report was the result of a process of broad inclusion and participation. If this was not possible, the United Nations should ensure that alternative reports prepared by civil society groups were formalized and given space in the overall report of Istanbul+5.
In the longer term, auditing was a necessary part of monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. There was a preference for actors that were not involved in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda to undertake the auditing.
NGO contributions to the process
NGOs could set up forums to discuss the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, including the reporting process for Istanbul+5. They could also assist in localizing the Habitat Agenda and continue to act as the institutional memory for the Agenda by educating not only the general population but also government officials who often changed.
Symposium of the Research and Training Institutes
The Symposium of Research and Training Institutes was chaired by Professor Johan Silas, Director of the Laboratory of Housing and Human Settlements, Institute of Technology, Surabaya, Indonesia. Ms. Radhika Savant, Programme Specialist, Urban Management Centre of the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, served as Rapporteur. Mr. Adnan Hameed Aliani, Human Settlements Officer, UNESCAP, serviced the Symposium. After an initial brainstorming session, the participants held focused discussions on research and training, discussing issues, mechanisms and regional cooperation.
Participants decided to focus their discussions on applied research as this type of research had direct policy implications. Here, they identified two common needs: (a) a need to critically document and analyze "best" and "worst" practices to draw lessons on their actual replicability, and (b) the need for a common dictionary or glossary of concepts so that terms and concepts were clearly defined and understood. The importance for researchers to identify their clients was stressed so that the research results could be used in policy development and programmes. In the context of the Habitat Agenda, policy makers at all levels of government, trainers, advocacy groups and other civil society organizations, organizations of the urban poor and the private sector were the main clients.
The participants agreed that research at the country level could not continue its reliance on foreign donors. National and local governments had to adopt policies that promoted research and allocated resources to fund research.
The participants identified several issues where they felt research needed to be done and completed research needed to be shared with others. Divided according to the themes of the Meeting, these issues are listed below:
With regard to shelter, issue to be studied included land, land tenure, land management; housing demand and needs vs. housing supply; legal issues such as archaic laws and regulations; finance of shelter; real estate markets; building materials; shelter needs of migrants, disadvantaged groups and elderly; pros and cons of various types of housing solutions; community-based housing development; linkage between housing and economic activity.
With regard to poverty alleviation, research was needed on resource tracking; micro-credit systems in urban areas; the nature of urban poverty and consequences of poverty; urban poverty indicators; linkages between shelter, poverty and economic development; linkages between decentralization and mechanisms to alleviate poverty;
Research issues on urban environmental management included regulatory measures and incentive systems; financing infrastructure and understanding the private sector; integrated waste management; community-based environmental management; advocacy strategies for civil society organizations; impact assessment, including the integration of environmental and social costs as well as appropriate techniques; cross-border environmental concerns; city development, planning and management.
More research was necessary on local economic development issues such as urbanization and transformation of rural areas including economic and social lifestyle change; preservation of cultural heritage versus economic development; the aging populations and the disabled; impact on cities of globalization of economies and information technologies; rural-urban linkages; linkages of micro-enterprises and the informal sector with formal markets and global markets; measurement of city product and other indicators for measuring economic development and distribution of resources.
Subjects for research on urban governance included mechanisms for participatory planning; critical analysis of the extent and quality of participation by various actors; extent of financial autonomy and how to achieve this for local governments; corruption and criminalization of local politics, and its economic costs; urban violence; transparency in decision making
The participants noted that some of the above issues had already been researched and that research findings needed to be disseminated to decision-makers in the governmental and civil society sectors as well as among research and training institutes within and outside the country. To make sharing more systematic and comprehensive, they recommended that UNESCAP assist research and training institutes in developing and hosting a regional Internet portal website. Such a site would contain a directory of research institutions in Asia and the Pacific, abstracts of completed research and a database of experts in various fields related to the Habitat Agenda.
Participants noted that their clients were elected and appointed government officials at the local and other levels, and trainers who trained government officials. Training needs were constantly changing and training institutes needed to determine the needs comprehensively before building training programmes. Government officials needed to change their attitude, become more entrepreneurial and manage the assets of the local government more effectively. They should learn to be participatory in their work and develop the ability to understand the realities of cities. Specific skills that government officials and their trainers needed were effective project management, the application of information technology and understanding and dealing with the private sector.
If training was demand-driven, the clients would have to pay most of the costs, but governments at all levels needed to allocate funds in their budgets for training of staff.
There was a need to examine how best to use new technologies, particularly ICT-based distance learning, because old techniques and materials often did not translate well to new technologies. The Symposium cautioned that training institutes had to ensure that the new technologies and media used in training were easily understandable and accessible to the clients, particularly the poor.
The participants noted that no single institute could deliver training on all issues. They emphasized the need to share information about what worked and what did not work, particularly in the context of training materials, experiences and methodologies. To support the sharing of experience and information, they recommended the establishment of cascading networks in which consortiums of training institutions at the national level would play a pivotal role. Member institutes of the consortiums could be linked to the Network of Local Government Training and Research Institutes in Asia and the Pacific (LOGOTRI) on the one hand, and to sub-national and local training institutes in their own country on the other hand. The networks would exchanges staff and information, share training manuals, make study visits etc. To do so, LOGOTRI needed to be strengthened considerably. Participants requested UNESCAP and other UN and multi-lateral agencies to commit themselves to strengthening and assisting LOGOTRI.
Discussions on the Reports of the Symposia
Discussions on the reports of the symposia were held in a plenary session chaired by Dr.Budhy Tjahjati S.Soegijoko of the Directorate General of Urban Development, Ministry of Settlements and Regional Development of Indonesia. The purpose of the plenary session was to allow an opportunity for participants in the different stakeholder symposia to share ideas and exchange opinions and to develop a consensus on ways to address the issues of the Habitat Agenda. Discussions were rich and wide ranging, covering not only the five themes of shelter, poverty, environment, economic development and governance but also the process of implementing the Habitat Agenda and reporting progress in its implementation at Istanbul+5 and beyond.
Most participants felt that the availability of urban land was a key issue in providing shelter. The poor needed land for shelter where there was work and not in the periphery of cities where there was often no work available. Land speculation was a major problem in Asia. In many cities, "land pirates who hijacked land for their own benefit" distorted the land markets. Innovative approaches, models and policies on equitable land management needed to be developed and shared in the region. Land tenure was not only a key issue in shelter, but also in poverty alleviation. A related issue was the access of women, particularly poor women, to land for housing in urban areas. Governments needed to develop specific policies to address all the above facets of urban land management.
Some participants cautioned against over-reliance on poverty alleviation programmes in slums and squatter settlements, because some urban poor did not live in slums or squatter settlements and such programmes would therefore exclude them. They recommended research to identify the poor and the best mechanisms to reach all of them.
Some participants felt that globalization would have an adverse effect on the poor and would increase the gap between the rich and the poor. They pointed out that concrete and targeted policies were needed to reduce the digital divide within countries of the region.
Many participants agreed that while cities occupied a relatively small land area, their footprints had a large impact. Cities consumed disproportionate amounts of resources and urban populations caused much greater pollution per capita than rural areas. In their present condition, cities were not sustainable and globalization was exacerbating the problem. It was destroying local environments and cultures, and the ability of local communities to solve their problems in a sustainable manner.
Considerable efforts are necessary to re-educate people so that they change their attitudes and reduce consumerism and waste generating behavior. Civil society organizations and local governments would have to work in partnership with the private sector to bring about this attitudinal change.
Many participants felt that in the process of globalization, the urban and rural poor were losing out and the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" was increasing, but national development strategies had not been adjusted to benefit the poor in a globalizing world. There was a general agreement that policy makers, researchers and activists in the civil society did not fully understand the implications of globalization and its impacts on economies, societies, cultures, cities and the poor in developing countries.
More research was needed to determine the effects of globalization on food production and the ability of farmers in developing countries to compete with their counterparts in industrialized countries. If there were a consolidation and mechanization of agricultural production in developing countries, rural-urban migration would increase. Jobs created in the formal private sector in a globalized world would not meet the demand for employment by a rapidly increasing urban population.
A major issue of concern to participants was international debt relief and the transfer of resources and technologies from developed countries to developing countries. Participants felt that unless debt was relieved, developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, would not be able to allocate adequate resources to promote human development.
Many participants were of the opinion that international finance for urban infrastructure and foreign direct investment were necessary for economic development. Local governments should be empowered to attract such funding based on their locational and other advantages.
Countries of the region needed to promote public-private-people partnerships to implement the Habitat Agenda, but this would require fundamental changes in institutions and attitudes, which were top-down rather than bottom-up. Recommendations had been made in this respect, but institutions and attitudes had not changed, because there was resistance to change and groups with vested interested wanted to maintain the status quo. It was suggested that pilot projects on community-based urban management and governance be launched to create a constituency for change and provide models to bring about change.
In some countries, local governments had very limited power as far as finances were concerned. They needed to be empowered to increase their finances through flexible and elastic fiscal policies, by raising capital in national and international financial markets and through direct contacts and negotiations with donors. In some countries, acts had been passed to provide autonomy to local governments and decentralize government functions to the local level, but their implementation was not only slow, but also flawed.
Methodologies and indicators on good governance were needed to audit the performance of governance systems. There was a need to create a culture of self-examination in government institutions to assess performance using appropriate indicators. One of the characteristics of good governance was the participation of women and disaggregated data was required to measure the participation and representation of women in urban government.
Many participants noted that one of the flaws experienced in governance in many countries of the region was corruption. The issue of corruption needed to be researched and discussed openly in development forums.
Issues related to the Habitat Agenda, its Implementation and Reporting
Some participants felt that because the Habitat Agenda was so broad and unfocused, it was not implementable, but others pointed out that Agenda was the result of a process of consensus building and had to be broad to meet the needs and concerns of all stakeholders. The Habitat Agenda was a long-term plan and all its commitments could not be implemented simultaneously. The key to implementing the Habitat Agenda was to focus and prioritize, as this would allow countries to shape the Habitat Agenda to national conditions.
Localization of the Habitat Agenda was key to its success. Even at the national level, very few officials other than those concerned with housing and urban development knew about the Habitat Agenda. Many participants felt the need for a better flow of information from international and regional levels to the national, sub-national and local levels. This was important to ensure that it did not remain a government initiative but evolved into a people's process. The recommendations of the Habitat Agenda had to be incorporated into national, sub-national and local development plans and all stakeholders should be involved in this process, but this had not been done in most countries. Many countries were making only cosmetic changes.
For the United Nations, the last decade was the decade of conferences. The United Nations should aim at making the current decade the decade of implementation and assist countries in implementing the recommendations and actions of all world conferences held in the 1990s, including Habitat II. It should conduct regional workshops and seminars to raise awareness of the Habitat Agenda, and assist countries in localizing the Habitat Agenda by translating it into easily understandable and catchy language.
Many participants felt that an auditing system to assess the performance of governments in implementing the Habitat Agenda was necessary. Performance auditing of government could start at Istanbul+5. A simple report card system based on the twenty commitments of the Habitat Agenda could be developed that would allow the governments to know how much progress they had made in implementing the Habitat Agenda. While agreeing that auditing was necessary, some participants believed that actors who were not involved in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda should conduct the auditing.
The gender perspective of the Habitat Agenda also had to be emphasized, but this required statistics disaggregated for gender to enable governments and civil society to measure performance of gender mainstreaming.
Discussions and Conclusions on Regional Cooperation
Dr.Budhy Tjahjati S.Soegijoko of the Directorate General of Urban Development, Ministry of Settlements and Regional Development of Indonesia also chaired this session.
Participants identified capacity building of local governments and of other urban stakeholders as a priority for the region. Capacity building should not be limited to human resources development for white-collar professionals and staff, but include all professions and vocations ranging from urban planners to construction workers.
There was a particular need for organizational and institutional development and development of the corporate culture of local governments to understand new urban trends and conditions and address new urban challenges. Areas that required capacity building included the use of information and communication technology and the promotion of participatory decision-making.
Participants pointed out that there were not only many problems in the cities and towns of Asia and the Pacific, but also many initiatives at local level to find solutions that addressed these problems. A better use should be made of these available solutions through the sharing of experiences at regional level. Learning from each other's experiences across the region should be promoted and facilitated. This applied to all stakeholders: central and local government, NGOs, research and training institute and the private sector.
Participants recognized the importance of existing regional initiatives and programmes in Asia and the Pacific, such as CityNet, The Urban Government Initiative (TUGI), the Urban Management Programme (UMP) and the Network of Local Government Training and research institutes for Asia and the Pacific (LOGOTRI). They expressed their satisfaction with the activities of the programmes, but called for a strengthening of these initiatives and programmes given the magnitude of the needs in the region.
Participants called upon the multilateral organizations to improve their coordination and avoid confusion among recipients of assistance, as many multilateral organizations operate similar programmes.
Participants emphasized the need for more regional cooperation and international support to further the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in the region. They requested UNESCAP and UNCHS to increase their activities to assist countries in the implementation and reporting of the Habitat Agenda through regional seminars and advisory services.
In summary, the following specific recommendations were made to promote regional cooperation in implementing the Habitat Agenda in Asia and the Pacific by participating national governments, local governments, research and training institutes and NGOs:
Poster and Exhibition Session
The opening of the poster exhibition on innovations in human settlements in Asia and the Pacific was chaired by Ms. Nie Hongbing, Vice Party Secretary of Hangzhou Real Estates Bureau. Mr. Li Xiankui, Director-General of International Relations Department of Ministry of Construction, Mr. Lu Kehua, Deputy Director-General of Housing and Real Estates Department of Ministry of Construction, Ms. Hua Lizhen, Vice Chairman of Hangzhou People’s Congress Standing Committee, Mr. Chen Shiliang, Vice Chairman of Hangzhou Committee of People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mr.Xiang Qin, Vice-Mayor of Hangzhou, Ms. Kayoko Mizuta, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Ms. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony. In addition to exhibitions from the city of Hangzhou and other parts of China, seven countries, AIT, UNESCAP, UNCHS and TUGI displayed posters on their projects and programmes.
Special session of the NGO Symposium with UNCHS, UNESCAP and UNDP
At their request, the participants of the NGO Symposium met Ms. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UNCHS (Habitat), Ms. Kayoko Mizuta, the Deputy Executive Secretary of UNESCAP and Ms Joyce Yu, Deputy Representative of UNDP in her capacity as the Principal Project Representative Office of TUGI, to discuss the role of civil society organizations in the preparatory process for and at Istanbul+5. They expressed their fear that since Istanbul+5 was a special session of the General Assembly, civil society representatives would not be allowed to participate. Ms. Tibaijuka informed them that UNCHS remained committed to the inclusive spirit of Habitat II and had drafted a resolution for consideration of the General Assembly, requesting member states to approve the participation of all stakeholders at Istanbul+5. She was optimistic that the General Assembly would approve the participation, since the General Assembly had also approved the participation of stakeholders other than national governments at Habitat II.
The participants of the NGO Symposium inquired whether UNCHS had given thought to alternative strategies such a parallel meeting of civil society groups if the General Assembly decide not to allow participation by other stakeholders at Istanbul+5. Ms. Tibaijuka informed them that UNCHS might consider alternative strategies once the General Assembly had made its decision which she expected in the next few weeks. She felt, however, that a parallel meeting of the civil society organizations might not be possible. She urged the civil society organizations present at the Symposium to lobby their governments to be part of the national delegations, if the General Assembly decided not to include other stakeholders in Istanbul+5.
The NGOs also raised the question of the process of reporting for Istanbul+5 and complained that their views were not being included in the national reports of many countries. The reports, they claimed, often reported progress by governments, which differed from realities on the ground. They inquired whether it was possible for UNCHS (Habitat) to table their views or alternative reports at Istanbul+5. Ms Tibaijuka informed them that this would not be possible. She reiterated that she was optimistic about the decision of the General Assembly and that NGOs should lobby their own governments to have their opinions and points of view included in the national reports.
Participants brought to her attention the consensus in their symposium on the need to develop performance indicators to measure progress in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, particularly after Istanbul+5. They informed her of their conviction that such an audit should be undertaken by actors other than the government. Ms Tibaijuka informed them that a performance audit of progress made by governments was important, but an auditing mechanism could only be put in place at Istanbul+5 with a consensus agreement by participating national governments. She urged the participants to use the time between the end of the Regional Meeting and Istanbul+5 to develop such indicators and strategize their incorporation in the deliberations at Istanbul+5. UNESCAP Human Settlements Section volunteered to organize a regional meeting of civil society organizations to develop such indicators and strategize their incorporation in the deliberations at Istanbul+5.
Senator Rodolpho Biazon, President, Regional Council for Asia Global Parliamentarians on Habitat presented the vote of thanks to the organizers on behalf of the participants. Ms Kayoko Mizuta, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNESCAP and Ms Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UNCHS (Habitat) addressed the closing session. The Meeting was officially closed by the Honourable Mr. Xian Qian, Vice Mayor of Hangzhou.