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close this bookJournal of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies - Volume 3, Number 1 (HABITAT, 1994, 44 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe aim of the network and its journal
View the documentForeword
View the documentUganda: Follow-up actions with regard to the recommendations of the Workshop of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies
View the documentUnited Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II) - Istanbul, Turkey 3-14 June 1996 - “The City Summit”1
View the documentA strategy for effective participation of the African region in the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II)2
View the documentHabitat II Preparatory Process and the Construction Sector
View the documentTechnology profile No. 1: Blended cements*
View the documentTechnology profile No. 2: Phosphogypsum as building material**
View the documentTechnology profile No. 3: Utilization of fly ash in the production of building materials***
View the documentEvents
View the documentPublications review - Published by UNCHS (Habitat)


First Preparatory Committee session for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), Geneva, Switzerland, 11-22 April 1994

In accordance with the resolution No. 47/180 of the United Nations General Assembly, the first Preparatory Committee session for Habitat II Conference took place at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 11 to 22 April 1994.

The session was attended by representatives from 96 countries 11 United Nations agencies, 6 specialized agencies, 33 non-governmental and 6 inter-governmental organizations.

The session was opened by Ms. Pamela Mboya (Kenya), Vice-Chairperson of the Preparatory Committee. Opening statements were made by the Secretary-General of the Conference, Dr. Wally N’Dow who is also the Assistant-Secretary-General of UNCHS (Habitat) and Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The session was then inaugurated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

The session according to the adopted agenda, started its discussion on a number of issues related to the preparatory process and the Conference itself.

The discussions and deliberations focused on, among others, issues such as:

(a) Preparations for the Conference;

(b) Preparations at the country, regional and global levels;

(c) Draft statement of principles and commitments and draft issue papers and format for programmes and sub-programmes of the plan of action;

(d) Arrangements and provisional agenda for future session of the Preparatory Committee.

The Preparatory Committee then took a number of decisions and devised recommendations to be followed up by the Secretariat of Habitat II Conference and governments at large.

As part of its decisions the Preparatory Committee recommended the following overall objectives to serve as a guiding principle for all countries for Habitat II:

To increase the world awareness of the problems and potentials of human settlements - as important inputs to social progress and economic growth - and to commit the world’s leaders to making our cities, towns and villages healthy, safe, just and sustainable.

The Preparatory Committee further, refined the above objective into a set of operational objectives for preparations at the national, regional and international levels which included also the main areas of activities required to achieve the objectives as well as the structure of the national reports.

National reports, containing qualitative and quantitative indicators and structured as recommended, will support the Habitat II secretariat in producing a current and best available picture of the global settlements situation, and allow for a strategic response.

Another important outcome of the Preparatory Committee session was a set of guidelines that the secretariat of Habitat II, in consultation with Member States should take into account while formulating the drafts of Statement of Principles and Commitments and the Global Plan of Action. For example, the overall principle for the Statement of Principles and Commitments should be the Principle 1 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which states:

“Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”

Similarly the main objective of the Global Plan of Action should be based on the language contained in the human settlements chapter of Agenda 21 which states:

“The overall human settlement objective is to improve the social, economic and environmental quality of human settlements and the living and working environments of all people, in particular the urban and rural poor.”

Furthermore, the Global Plan of Action should be structured around the following two main themes of the Conference.

(a) Adequate shelter for all;
(b) Sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world.

The Preparatory Committee finally made deliberations and took decisions on organizational issues such as:

(a) Nature of attendance;

(b) Regional level activities leading to the Conference;

(c) World fair;

(d) Non-governmental organizations and local government forums;

(e) Organization and objectives for the second session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in April/May 1995 in Nairobi, Kenya; and

(f) Financing of Habitat II Conference and its preparatory activities.

It also decided to recommend to the General Assembly of the United Nations to consider a proposal for the organization of a third Preparatory Committee session, to be held in the beginning of 1996 to arrest any loss of momentum due to the one-year gap between the second session and the Conference itself.

Note: The full text of the Report of the First Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) has been published by the United Nations: General Assembly Official Records. Forty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 37(A/49/37)

International Expert Group Meeting on Urban Indicators, Nairobi, Kenya 10-14 January 1994

The call by the General Assembly of the United Nations for a second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), to be held in June 1996, is influenced by the fact that despite considerable efforts at the local, national and international levels since the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (1976), the global human settlements situation has continued to deteriorate. The overall objective of the Habitat II Conference is, therefore, to arrest this trend and find effective ways of improving the living environment of all on a sustainable basis.

In this connection, the two major outcomes of the Habitat II Conference will be:

(a) Adoption of a Statement of Principles and Commitments; and
(b) A Global Plan of Action.

The latter will include a comprehensive set of programmes and sub-programmes, with realistic targets and timetables and provision for monitoring and evaluation of performance.

The General Assembly of the United Nations, in calling for the Habitat II Conference, suggested, among others, the need for countries to prepare national reports and for the Conference itself to undertake four major reviews as part of the preparatory process:

(a) Review progress achieved between 1976 and 1996 towards the objectives of the Habitat II Conference;

(b) Conduct a mid-term review of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000;

(c) Review the implementation of Agenda 21 in the area of human settlements:

(d) Review global macro-economic and social trends in terms of their impacts on human settlements conditions.

Within this framework and based on an agreement reached between the UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank in September 1993 the Expert Group Meeting on Urban Indicators to identify a preliminary list of indicators covering key areas of concern in the urban sector, was held at UNCHS (Habitat) headquarters in Nairobi. Kenya from 10 to 14 January 1994. The meeting was sponsored by UNCHS (Habitat) in association with the World Bank. 44 participants, who were mainly international experts from academic, government and international organizations including UNCHS (Habitat), attended the meeting.

The objectives of the Expert Group Meeting were to:

(a) Identify key urban sub-sectors within which performance indicators need to be developed for regular monitoring of urban sector performance;

(b) Identify a preliminary list of indicators;

(c) Examine the data requirements, cost effectiveness and key methodological problems related to the recommended indicators;

(d) Recommend a strategy and a framework for further development of the indicators for use in the preparation of national reports for Habitat II Conference and regular monitoring of the urban sector.

The five day meeting after having a number of plenary and working-group sessions and after carrying out in depth discussions and exchange of views, prepared a comprehensive set of assessment indicators which covered the key areas of urban sector. The major sectors for which indicators were devised were as follows:

(a) Poverty, employment, productivity;
(b) Social development;
(c) Infrastructure;
(d) Transport;
(e) Shelter and land;
(f) Environmental management;
(g) Local government.

The outcome of the meeting together with the recommended lists of indicators and the approach worked out therein was submitted to the first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee of Habitat II for its consideration.

Special Meeting of African Ministers Responsible for Human Settlements in the African Region Preparatory to the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), Nairobi, Kenya, 30 March 1994

The Special Meeting of African Ministers responsible for Human Settlements in the African Region look place at the United Nations offices at Nairobi. Kenya, on 30 March 1994. The Ministerial Meeting was preceded by a preparatory meeting of inter-governmental experts from 28 to 29 March 1994. The Meeting was convened by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, (OAU) with support from the Government of the Netherlands.

The Meeting was attended by Ministers and representatives from 45 Member States: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cd’Ivoire, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, STome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations attending the Meeting as observers were: Shelter Afrique S.A., Africa Housing Fund and the Pan-African Congress of Africa.

The Ministerial Meeting was opened with an address by Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Under-Secretary-General. Opening statements were also delivered by representatives of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The meeting then considered the report of the Meeting of Inter-governmental Experts which had prepared for the “Ministers” Meeting and after debating and amending the draft Declaration presented by the Chairman, adopted the whole declaration.

The full text of the Declaration entitled:

Declaration By African Ministers Responsible for the Human Settlements on the Preparatory Process to the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) together with the report of the Meeting, summarizing opening statements, debates, recommendations and the list of participants has been published and distributed by UNCHS (Habitat).

Interested parties can obtain a copy of this report free of charge by contacting the Information and Audio-visual Division (IAVD) or the Habitat II Secretariat of UNCHS (Habitat), P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya.

The symbol of this document is:
HS/323/94E: ISBN 92-1-131241-8


Africa Waste Forum 1994, Nairobi, Kenya 23-25 November 1994

Pollution from waste is perhaps one of the most insidious threats to the environment of cities in the developing world and poses an ever-increasing problem to the health of a vast section of the population, particularly the urban poor.

Many cities are today producing waste at a rate which outpaces the capacity of local authorities to collect and dispose of it in a safe and efficient manner. Current approaches to waste management are neither effective nor sustainable. Many developing countries are heavily dependent on imported hardware and expertise and large amounts of foreign exchange are spent in the provision of solid-waste management services. Revenue collection for municipal services such as waste management is often poorly managed with the cost recovery being far less than the true cost of waste disposed.

As part of its on-going efforts on developing sustainable solid-waste management strategies UNCHS (Habitat) intends to organize a combined training course and workshop on various aspects of waste management with the aim of:

Transferring appropriate methods and approaches between developing countries, through documentation and demonstration of best practices;

(ii) Prioritizing issues on waste management including the application of appropriate and innovative technologies for waste reduction and recycling and reuse and:

(iii) Building capacity amongst national and local governments for waste management.

The major objectives of the workshop are to:

(i) Disseminate best practices in waste management;

(ii) Prioritize waste management problems in major cities in the region and identify areas requiring technical assistance through an interactive forum of municipal managers, NGO’s and sectoral professionals;

(iii) Formulate demonstration projects in priority areas identified above.

It is also expected that the Forum will produce the following outputs:

(a) A report on the proceedings of the Forum, including conclusions, recommendations and background documentation;

(b) Documented case studies of best practices for waste management;

(c) Local officials, entrepreneurs and NGOs sensitised to sustainable methods for waste management.

Each participant will be required to prepare a response paper addressing the current situations in each of the topics outlined below:

(a) Waste collection organization, refuse vehicle procurement and planning;
(b) Recycling and reuse - informal sector approaches, technologies and methods;
(c) Industrial and domestic wastewater management including recycling and reuse;
(d) Hazardous and clinical waste management.

For more information contact the Building and Infrastructure Technology Section, Research and Development Division, UNCHS, (Habitat) P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel: (254-2) 621234/3039
Fax:(254-2) 624265

Regional Workshop on Lime and Alternative Binders for East Africa, Tororo, Uganda, 6-10 December 1994

The Intermediate Technology Development Group in collaboration with the Government of Uganda has planned the organization of the above mentioned Workshop to address issues related to the high cost of building materials in the region with particular emphasis on alternative binding materials as a substitute to cement. Lime and other types of natural and artificial binders, which could replace cement, are produced in the region on a small-scale using rudimentary and inefficient technologies. Even though there is a great demand on these materials in the region, efforts to popularize and adopt their wide-scale production and use have been hampered because of numerous reasons.

The Workshop has the following objectives:

· To take stock of and share experiences in the production and use of alternative binders;

· To bring together major stakeholders in binders from the region;

· To create links between producers and users of alternative binders in the region - transfers of experiences;

· To increase understanding among producers and users of alternative binders, with the aim of identifying the key bottlenecks and problems, and to make suggestions for tackling them through various types of support;

· To define with full participation of key actors, a programme of action for the promotion of alternative binders.

The Workshop is expected to identify the prevailing problems for the production and use of alternative binders in the region and to devise a set of recommendations and action plans. The participants will be drawn from the countries in the region and some international organizations including UNCHS (Habitat) and UNIDO. The country participants are also expected to prepare case studies on the experiences of their respective countries on the production of alternative binding materials.

For more information, please contact:

Intermediate Technology Development Group 22
Chiromo Access Road
Off Riverside Drive
P.O. Box 39493
Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: 442108/446243/444887
Fax: 254-2-445166

International Conference on Re-Appraising the City Planning Process as an Instrument for Sustainable Urban Development and Management

Nairobi, Kenya, 3 - 7 October 1994

Urban planning and management is an important process for the realization of the objectives and other recommendations of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Agenda urges, among other things: that “all countries, as appropriate, and in accordance with their national plans, objectives and priorities..... adopt innovative city planning strategies to address environmental and social issues”.

Planning is obviously a fundamental strategic tool of effective urban development and management.

Acknowledging the actual and potential contributions of planning to sustainable urban development and management, the relevant issue becomes one of reviewing, re-appraising and identifying the causes of the constraints to and ineffectiveness of the process.

The objectives of this Conference are:

(a) to undertake an extensive appraisal and evaluation of the efficacy of existing planning instruments and approaches, identify their strengths and weaknesses and explore and suggest measures to adapt and reform them if necessary in the context of accountable and participative systems of urban management and with due recognition to the role of market forces in urban development;

(b) to sensitize and invigorate national and municipal authorities to the necessity to more sensitively employ urban planning instruments in guiding urban development and environmental management programmes;

(c) to provide the forum of a conference for urban and environmental planning officials at the central, provincial and municipal government levels, representatives of planning schools, research institutes, interested private developers, and relevant non-governmental organizations, as well as other groups of people concerned with, working on, or affected by the process of urban planning, development and management, to re-examine and discuss approaches as well as re-evaluate the continued relevance of the process and how best to enhance its efficacy and effectiveness in the future.

There will be a Round Table panel session on the topic, “Urban Management related issues of Agenda 21”.

The outcome of this Conference will be a report which will provide an important input to the deliberations and possible recommendations of the forthcoming second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), and into the evolving policies of the Urban Management Programme.

For more information, please contact:

UNCHS (Habitat),
P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: (254-2) 621234/3041
Fax: (254-2) 624265/6/7