|Habitat Debate - Vol. 5 - No. 3 - 1999 - Security of Tenure (HABITAT, 1999, 63 p.)|
In June 2001, the United Nations General Assembly will hold a special session for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. Referred to as Istanbul+5 or Habitat II+5, the process will assess progress made at local and national levels, examine the obstacles remaining and produce recommendations for future action and initiatives. It will also review the appropriateness of implementation mechanisms set up at the national level in cooperation with partners from civil society as well as the contribution of international cooperation to the implementation process.
Through the Habitat Agenda, Member States of the United Nations have committed themselves to the creation of partnerships, adoption of enabling approaches, implementation of participatory planning and management, building of capacity among all partner groups and monitoring progress through networking and the application of modern information technologies. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) is providing the leadership and serves as focal point for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. As stipulated in the Habitat Agenda, countries must monitor and evaluate their own performance through the collection of urban indicators and by identifying best practices in improving the living environment.
One of the most important inputs to Istanbul+5 will be the forward-looking assessments prepared by governments and partners. These provide an overview of activities undertaken to support implementation of the Habitat Agenda between 1996 and 2001, and report successes and failures, positive policy changes, and the contribution of international cooperation. Governments will prepare single country reports incorporating the views of all partners. Habitat encourages countries to hold national workshops on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda to enable governments and their partners to learn from one another and to reach consensus on locally relevant issues, practical solutions and future priorities. These will then feed into the sub-regional, regional and global levels.
The preparatory process for Istanbul+5 has already started. During its 17th session held in Nairobi in May 1999, the Commission on Human Settlements, acting as the Preparatory Committee for Istanbul+5, held a one-day organizational session. The Committee elected a bureau to serve for the entire period leading up to June 2001 and also approved its rules of procedure. It also adopted a provisional agenda for the first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee, which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 8 to 12 May 2000. Recognition was also given to the need to ensure the effective participation of local authorities and all other Habitat Agenda partners by applying the relevant rules of procedure for the Habitat II conference.
The guidelines for country reporting have been sent out and governments are being encouraged to organize broad-based, gender-balanced National Habitat Committees to coordinate the reporting process. It is recommended that each country work on a single country report that incorporates the views of both the government and other Habitat Agenda partners who include: local authorities, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, the private sector, parliamentarians, professional associations, womens organizations, youth organizations, academic and research institutions, trade unions and the United Nations system.
Guidelines for Reporting:
Step 1: Organize a National Habitat Committee
Initiate or re-establish a broad-based, gender-balanced National Committee. Governments have the primary responsibility for reporting, with the goal of promoting dialogue and consensus between all stakeholders. Cities and communities establish their own local committees to report on progress at the local level.
Step 2: Collect and analyse information
National Habitat Committee then initiate the collections and analysis of indicators, best practices, good policies, action plans and other information. Examples of national and local plans of action include: national Habitat II reports, national urban development strategies, Local Agendas 21, etc.
Step 3: Hold a national workshop to review plans of action
The National Committee organizes a national workshop to review current national and local plans of action and their implementation since 1996. This provides the opportunity for an open discussion with a broad-based and gender-balanced group of stakeholders to assess progress made and obstacles encountered in implementing the Habitat Agenda.
Step 4: Agree on priorities for future action and initiatives
As the final step in the assessment process, partners identify priorities for policy development, capacity building and action planning.
Step 5: Prepare a draft country report
Using the universal reporting format, the National Habitat Committee prepares and widely disseminates a country report.
The following time frame has now been agreed upon:
8-12 May 2000
Further information on Istanbul+5 may be obtained from: