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close this bookJournal of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies - Volume 3, Number 4 (HABITAT, 1995, 46 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe aim of the network and its journal
View the documentForeword
View the documentEnergy efficiency in the production of building materials*
View the documentEnergy conservation for cost reduction in Indian cement industry - NCB's initiatives*
View the documentEnergy efficient method of portland slag cement grinding**
View the documentPlant audit and energy management***
View the documentEvents
View the documentPublications review


Meeting of the African Ministers in charge of housing and urban development for the preparation of the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (habitat II - City Summit). Dakar, Senegal, 3 October 1994.

The African Ministers in charge of housing and urban development met in Dakar, Senegal, on 3 October 1994 and on the occassion of World Habitat Day adopted the DAKAR DECLARATION. The full text of the Declaration is reproduced here-under.

We, African Ministers in charge of housing and urban development, meeting in Dakar, Senegal, on 3. October 1994 for the celebration of World Habitat Day;

· Taking into account the declaration by African Ministers adopted in Nairobi on 30 March 1994 on the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II - the City Summit) which will take place in Istanbul in June 1996,

· Taking also into account the decisions of the Preparatory Committee of Habitat II, at its first substantive session held in Geneva from 11 to 22 April 1994,

· Stressing the key role of housing in the development of families, as symbolized by the theme of the present World Habitat Day: "Home and the family",

· Having reviewed settlements conditions in Africa, in particular:

- The rapid growth of urban population and the need to manage this urban growth better;

- The deterioration of the living environment and the need to provide appropriate infrastructure for water supply, solid-waste management, sanitation and public transport;

- The lack of adequate and affordable shelter and the need to be resolute in adopting facilitating policies involving all stake-holders from the public and private, formal and informal, governmental and non-governmental sectors;

- The growth of urban poverty and the need to generate more productive employment as well as basic services in low-income areas;

- The impacts of political and social crises and natural disasters on human settlements and the need to launch actions for disaster mitigation, reconstruction and development for the benefit of affected communities;

· Conscious of the leading role of cities in economic, political, social and cultural development and aware of the complementary relationship which can and must be established between cities and rural areas,

We re-emphasize that human settlements should constitute a priority sector for African Governments.

In that perspective, we solemnly commit ourselves to:

1. Adopt and implement enabling, participatory and innovative housing and urban development policies so as to reach the objectives of Habitat II, namely:

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

2. Define and implement programmes aimed at preserving the living environment, upgrading infrastructure and basic services, as well as reducing urban poverty;

3. Collaborate closely with municipalities and encourage decentralization processes with a view to improving technical and financial management of cities and their efficiency in promoting economic and social development;

4. Support non-governmental and community-based organizations in their initiatives geared towards improving low-income settlements and alleviating urban poverty;

5. Review, whenever needed, the legal and regulatory framework for human settlements development with a view to promoting the activities of the public and private sectors and taking appropriate measures towards the urban informal sector,

6. Promote mutually supportive linkages between urban and rural development, particularly through adequate investments in secondary cities and communication infrastructure;

7. Strengthen the role of women and youth in human settlements development by ensuring their access to education, resources and decision-making processes;

8. Formulate mitigation strategies for natural and human-made disasters and promote harmonious and equitable relations among social groups so as to reduce the impact of such disasters;

9. Participate actively in the preparations for Habitat II by creating National Bodies involving all public and private actors in human settlements;

10. Favour the establishment by these National Bodies of National Plans of Action including:

- An assessment of shelter and urbanization trends and issues, based on UNCHS (Habitat) housing and urban indicators;

- A review of the effectiveness of existing policies;

- A five-year first-step action programme for the period 1996 to 2000.

11. Call on multilateral and bilateral organizations to support the Habitat II conference and its preparation in African countries.

We thank UNCHS (Habitat) for having held for the first time, and actively supported, the global celebration of World Habitat Day on the African continent;

We congratulate the President of the Republic of Senegal, the Government and the Senegalese people for their welcome within the traditional Senegalese Teranga.

Meeting of the Ministers in charge of human settlements in Eastern and Southern Africa sub region, preparatory process to the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), Kampala, Uganda, 26-28 February 1995.

The Ministers in charge of human settlements of Eastern and Southern Africa met in Kampala and adopted, on 28 February 1995, the Kampala Declaration which is reproduced here-under:

We, the Ministers in charge of human settlements in the countries of Eastern and Southern Africa, assembled in Kampala, Uganda from 26 - 28 February 1995 to review the in-country preparatory processes for the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat 11).

Recalling United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/180 of 22nd December 1992, convening the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat 11) with a view to among other things, arresting in the long-term, the deterioration of global human settlements conditions and ultimately creating the conditions for achieving improvements in the living environment of all people on a sustainable basis, with special attention to the needs and contributions of women and vulnerable groups.

Recognizing and appreciating the policies and programmes aimed at improving human settlements conditions world-wide including those of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (IYSH) 1982-1987; the Global Strategy for Shelter to the year 2000 and the programme of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, particularly its Chapter 7 on Human Settlements.

Recalling also the decisions of the special meeting of Ministers in charge of human settlements in the Africa Region on the preparatory process of the Habitat 11 Conference held in Nairobi in March 1994 which reiterated resolution CM/Res 1469 of the OAU Council of Ministers and inter alia, urged proper consultation and coordination at all levels to enhance the preparatory process.

Cognisant of the decisions of the first preparatory session of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Geneva in April 1994 to encourage broad participation in the preparatory process and in the formulation of national plans of action.

Further recognizing the Dakar Declaration by African Ministers in charge of housing and urban development at their meeting in Dakar, Senegal, 3 October 1994 on the occasion of the first global celebration of World Habitat Day in the Africa continent, calling upon all African countries to participate actively in the preparatory processes of the Habitat II Conference.

Conscious of the importance of cities as centres for economic, social, political and cultural activities and the complementary relationship between cities and rural areas.

Taking into account the "guidelines for National Preparations" prepared by the Secretariat of the Habitat 11 Conference.

Noting the progress made by some countries, and the difficulties faced by others in preparing their national plans of action towards Habitat II.

Taking into account the human settlements conditions in the Africa Region in general and in the Eastern and Southern Africa subregion in particular, namely:

(a) the high population growth rates in African countries, rapid urbanization, the increasing deficiency of services and lack of employment opportunities in the rural areas;

(b) the growing inadequacy of shelter in the urban centres, the deterioration of the living environment and the pressing need to provide appropriate services and infrastructure;

(c) the vicious cycle of urban poverty and the urgent need to generate gainful employment, so as to enable all sections of society to improve their living conditions, in view of the important link between poverty and the urban environment;

(d) the impact on human settlement conditions of political/social crises and the armed conflicts in the subregion, as well as natural disasters, resulting in massive loss of human lives, destruction of housing and living environment, displacement of populations within national boundaries and massive movement of refugees;

(e) the need to fully involve local governments and communities in the decision-making for the planning, development and management of all aspects of human settlements;

Concerned that there are still approximately one billion people many of whom are in Africa, who are homeless or lack adequate shelter.

We, the Ministers in charge of human settlements in the Eastern and Southern Africa Subregion;

1. Re-affirm the decisions and declaration by African Ministers in charge of human settlements on the preparatory process to the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat 11) adopted in Nairobi, Kenya on 30th March 1994.

2. Endorse the decisions contained in the DAKAR DECLARATION on the Habitat II Conference adopted by African Ministers in charge of housing and urban development, in Dakar, Senegal 3 October 1994 on the occasion of the celebration of World Habitat Day.

3. Commit ourselves to design, adopt and implement enabling, participatory and innovative human settlements development strategies towards realizing (he twin objectives of Habitat 11 viz:

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

4. Recognize that adequate shelter is a basic prerequisite for the full development of the human being and that the basic unit for human and material development, the family, can only flourish in a healthy, secure, just and sustainable environment.

5. Recognize also that housing is a powerful stimulus of economic development and an integral part of human resources development and not simply a product of economic development.

6. Emphasize that while accepting that human settlement issues must be perceived in terms of sustainable development world-wide, special emphasis should be placed on an African perspective that focuses on key priority areas of critical relevance to the subregion's developmental needs namely: urban poverty; the deteriorating urban environment; energy in rural and urban areas; and the rural-urban balance.

7. Re-affirm the enabling role of central governments in establishing positive relationships with local governments and translating such measures into effective decentralization of responsibilities and resources.

8. Underscore the critical need for central governments to create an enabling environment and promote strategies, especially through legislative reform and institution-building in the land and housing finance sector, so as to expand the participation of the private sector, the CBOs and NGOs in the development of human settlements, particularly in the provision of affordable shelter, and necessary infrastructure facilities.

9. Stress that human settlement policies in Africa should simultaneously address (he needs of both urban and rural areas; in particular, appropriate linkages should be created with rural areas so as to enhance their attractiveness by providing infrastructure, employment and services in the rural areas to enable them retain their populations and minimize the current trend of rapid out-migration to urban centres where existing services are already strained.

10. Emphasize the urgency in addressing the root causes of poverty and developing poverty alleviation measures especially for female-headed households and other disadvantaged sections of the population both in the urban and rural areas so as to minimize, inter alia, the negative impact of structural adjustment measures in these areas: such measures should form an integral part of the emerging global consensus for achieving political and economic stability, good governance, popular participation, taking into account gender balance, investing in people, concern for the environment and vigorous private sector.

11. Commit ourselves to strengthen good governance, and sound administrative and revenue collection capacity in both central and local government systems, especially in urban centres, with a view to create an atmosphere of popular participation, transparency and greater financial accountability in municipal affairs which will in turn allow these local governments to provide increasing and better services for their constituent populations.

12. Resolve to redouble our collective efforts in finding a more permanent solution to the causes of the persistent massive refugee problem in the subregion including conflict -induced refugee and environmentally-displaced persons by evolving more stable political solutions in their respective countries.

13. Commit ourselves to cooperating and sharing innovative experiences including appropriate technologies, and institutions for the mobilization of financial and other resources for human settlement development and management.

14. Undertake to give priority consideration to (he issue of land-tenure reform, to ensure equitable access to land by all segments of the population especially the poor and the disadvantaged, drawing inspiration from significant reforms and good practices in countries of the subregion, particularly in the development of human settlements finance systems and in the improvement of informal settlements.

15. Call for the urgent designing and implementation of innovative and appropriate financial mechanisms as well as strengthening (he existing ones for the mobilization of both short-term and long-term finance for shelter development, including pension funds, insurance funds and municipal bonds. Such mechanisms should enhance accessibility to housing finance by low-income sections of the population, taking into consideration the many existing informal economies in the urban and rural areas.

16. Emphasize the urgent need to develop and promote the use of a wide range of local building materials, as well as to review building and land development codes and regulations with a view to create an enabling environment and thus increasing the affordability of housing to a larger proportion of people than would otherwise be the case, recognizing that devising schemes (ha(increase the stock of affordable houses is a prerequisite to achieving the goal of shelter for all.

17. Commit ourselves to continue to give priority to policies which encourage and support popular participation in this process, using the combined capacity of central and local governments, the private sector, community-based organizations, youth organizations, women associations, and non-governmental organizations and acknowledge the fact that internal mobilization and initiative through empowerment of the people must provide the principal driving force in the realization of declared human settlements objectives.

18. Further commit and dedicate our countries to the preparatory process for Habitat II, by developing national participatory processes through national committees, involving public, private, non-governmental and community-based organizations as well as women groups and the youth, preparation of National reports and formulation of National Plans of Action for Habitat 11, as well as to using relevant and acceptable indicators to measure progress in these and other areas of human settlements development and management in the post Habitat 11 period.

19. Resolve to give full practical recognition to and further strengthen the role of women in human settlements development and management by ensuring their unencumbered access to credit and ownership of land as well as by ensuring adequate gender balance in all aspects and levels of policy and programme decision-making.

20. Further Resolve to more actively explore and utilize the framework and resources of such sub-regional institutions as the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) of Eastern and Southern Africa, Southern African Development Community, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI), the PTA Bank, the budding Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) etc. towards improving the conditions of human settlements and environment in the sub-region.

21. Request the donor community and the international institutions to complement our own initiatives by providing both financial resources and technical assistance resources to enable implementation of human settlements development policies and programmes, as well as to facilitate the preparatory process for Habitat II.

22. Commend the Secretary-General of the Habitat II Conference and Assistant Secretary General of UNCHS (Habitat) and his staff for facilitating and supporting this sub-regional meeting;

23. Express appreciation to the other organizations that have supported the meeting namely: UNDP, Shelter-Afrique, United Slates Agency for International Development (US AID) and the Uganda National Housing and Construction Corporation.

24. Call on African Regional institutions/organizations to give stronger support to the Habitat II Conference preparatory processes in African countries in general and in the countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa sub Region in particular.

25. Request the Heads of State and Heads of Governments to endeavour to attend the Habitat II Summit Conference in Istanbul. Turkey in June 1996 and help make the Conference a resounding success.

26. Express profound gratitude to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the Government of Uganda for hosting the meeting and to Her Excellency, the Vice President Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe for graciously opening the meeting and for the copious hospitality extended to all the participants.

African Regional Ministerial Meeting in preparation for the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), Johannesburg, South Africa, 16-18 October 1995.

The meeting was attended by African Ministers which ended on 18 October 1995 on an exhilarating note with President Nelson Mandela congratulating the African Ministers on reaching an African consensus for Habitat II on key issues of interest to the continent.

In a hard-hitting but optimistic speech, the President of the Republic of South Africa said that the specific challenge Africa faces is that of poverty, and that most African people were too poor for a pure market solution to the housing problem. "Our approach to housing in South Africa, as in other parts of Africa, embodies the principle that the government has an important role to play. But it recognizes that government alone cannot solve the problem. We totally endorse the need for an urgent and meaningful partnership of government, the private sector and homeless communities."

President Mandela emphasized the role of women in human settlements development by saying that the success of any housing programme is very much a function of the extent to which women are directly involved. "When we talk about people-centred development," he added, "we should understand that the involvement of women is often the difference between success and failure." President Mandela used the occasion to present a scholarship to David Dladla, a South African pupil from KwaZulu-Natal for the best essay in a competition organized by the South African Department of Housing for World Habitat Day. At the same event, a 1995 Habitat Scroll of Honour was presented posthumously to the late Joe Slovo, first Minister of Housing in the Government of National Unity. The Scroll of Honour is one of eight bestowed by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) on the occasion of World Habitat Day. Dr. Wally N'Dow, Secretary-General of Habitat II, paid tribute to the late Mr. Slovo for spearheading the search for housing solutions and inspiring commitments by all actors to the development of housing for the disadvantaged majority in South Africa.

At a press conference preceding the closing ceremony, the Secretary-General of Habitat II summed up the African common position for Habitat II - now adopted as the "Johannesburg Declaration" - as one that reflects the rural-urban balance in human settlements. "Despite the appellation 'City Summit' for Habitat II, Africa feels the necessity to light on two fronts: rural and urban. Although Africa is urbanizing rapidly, the majority of its people are still in rural areas. The African Ministers present here want human settlements policies in Africa to simultaneously address the needs of both rural and urban areas and want to stem the flow of rural-urban migration by enhancing the attractiveness of rural areas through the provision of infrastructure, employment and services to rural areas."

The Johannesburg Declaration is the consolidated position of Africa on the Habitat II Conference. It encapsulates the continent's total political commitment to the Habitat II Conference and to UNCHS (Habitat), which was reconfirmed as the focal point for follow-up find monitoring of progress in the post-Istanbul era. The Declaration will ensure that Africa's concerns are fully reflected in Habitat II's Global Plan of Action - the blueprint for sustainable human settlements development in the 21st century that will emerge from the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, Turkey next June.

The Secretary-General of Habitat II congratulated the African Ministers for comprehensively addressing problems related to housing finance and the need to help the poor members of society to gain access to credit. He noted with appreciation that African Ministers have welcomed the African private sector and recognized that the sector had an important role to play in housing delivery. He reiterated Habitat's recognition of the need for strong partnerships among the various actors, including local authorities, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations in addressing human settlements issues.

The South African Housing Minister Sankie Mthembo-Nkondo, reiterated Africa's concerns about housing finance and urged the international community to help Africa address its housing backlog. Speaking on behalf of the delegates, the Nigerian Minister for Housing, Alhaj Abdullahi Adamu, paid glowing tribute to the Government of South Africa for successfully hosting the meeting.

The full text of the Johannesburg Declaration will be printed in the next issue of the Journal