|Housing and Environment - Report of the Vienna Workshop (HABITAT, 1999, 394 p.)|
As adopted at 6.00 p.m. on 23 November 1999
The participants of the Workshop
Recalling the Habitat Agenda adopted by the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II), held in Istanbul, Turkey in June 1996, which includes Adequate shelter for all as one of its two themes and invites all stake holders to mobilise their resources and to work in partnership in order to deliver adequate housing for low-income people;
Bearing in mind that the Habitat Agenda places special emphasis on the increasingly important role of the private sector in housing supply and on the need to apply more environmentally sound technologies in construction;
Taking note of the current housing situation in many countries of the central and eastern Europe (CEE) and the newly independent States (NIS) of the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which needs to be improved;
Recognising the past and current construction practices in many CEE and NIS countries which were, and are, not taking the environmental considerations seriously,
Considering the fact that the two themes of the workshop: (a) The role of the private sector in housing supply and (b) Environment-friendly construction practices, have been selected thoughtfully and that they are fully compatible with the current settings of most CEE and NIS countries;
Taking note of the contents of the two background papers of the Workshop and the presentations and discussions during the Workshop, which highlight the shortcomings and challenges of the housing and construction sectors of CEE and NIS countries,
Adopt the present document as the Statement of the Workshop
There is a need to improve conditions for the performance of the private sector in most CEE and NIS countries in housing delivery and management and to promote the application of environmentally friendly construction technologies, operations and practices. To that end we recommend the following:
1. Governments in every country should review their housing policy, should re-examine the role of the State and should establish favourable regulatory mechanisms and legal framework that encourage the private sector to increase its contribution in the housing sector;
2. The private sector should improve its managerial and technological capacity by learning and making use of the best practices tested in several countries of CEE and NIS and in other countries;
3. Governments should adopt policies and measures that increase the mobilisation of housing finance. To this end, possibilities of external investment should also be considered. Attention should be paid to the affordability of housing for low-income households and people living in poverty;
4. Special attention should be given to renewal and improvement of the existing housing stock which, in many cities and towns, was not maintained properly for decades. In this process. Governments should play a leading role and other stake holders should increase their contributions;
5. Governments should support the formation and functioning of housing and construction related associations/chambers so that a fruitful dialogue between housing authorities and the housing market is established;
6. Local governments should have a leading role in encouraging public-private partnerships and in co-ordinating activities of all stakeholders in the housing sector;
7. Governments at all levels should reflect the promotion and application of environment-friendly construction practices in their regulations and development planning processes;
8. National science and technology policies should encourage the induction of environment friendly and cleaner technology in construction, operation of housing, management and maintenance practices. In this context, capacity building in the area of resource management and energy efficiency should be given special priority;
9. Special awareness-creation and training programmes should be organised and the current curricula of educational institutions and research programmes should be modified with a view to sensitising all actors in construction, operation and maintenance of housing on the importance of environmental consciousness;
10. Urban planning, architectural design and construction techniques should take into consideration the significance of the energy-efficiency in housing and other buildings. The use of local materials and improved traditional technologies should be encouraged and their implementation in self-help projects should be supported;
11. Those technologies, which use fossil fuel for building materials production and building operations (mainly for heating) and contribute to global warming excessively, should be gradually phased out and new measures should be taken to improve the situation. Incentives should be given to those who introduce and apply energy-efficient, low-polluting and low-waste technologies in buildings and construction industries. This should be complemented by effective regulatory measures.
12. Efforts should be made to increase the utilisation of industrial and agricultural wastes in the building materials production. Furthermore, eco-labelling, environmental impact analysis and environmental accounting, based on the full life-cycle and health aspects of the products, should be encouraged.
In conclusion, the participants of the Workshop, while considering this event as the first important initiative taken by UNCHS (Habitat) to identify and address the prevailing issues and setbacks, request UNCHS (Habitat) to intensify its work and co-operation with CEE and NIS countries. In this connections, UNCHS (Habitat) should make every effort to launch a comprehensive regional technical assistance programme which should, among other things, include a mechanism for facilitating exchange of information focusing on the topics of this Workshop.
To this end, we call upon interested parties, from public and private sectors of donor countries to support the implementation of such a programme both financially and technologically. Such support and collaborative arrangement can contribute in improving the housing situation in CEE and NIS countries and can facilitate an effective transfer of technology. This programme can also make an attempt in facilitating dissemination of the best practices. A regional programme on environmentally sound construction technologies will also be a significant contribution towards achieving the goals of Agenda 21 (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) and of the Habitat Agenda (Istanbul 1996).