Quick statement for the follow up of Multi stakeholder consultation with the EU


Wuppertal, Dec. 15, 2004

AG Habitat at Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung welcomes the will of the

European Union to make CSD 13 a serious and successful step on the way to

sustainable and equitable human settlements for all. We are aware of the

restrictions given by circumstances and pre-conditions. We agree that CSD

13 must deal with implementation and commitments on concrete action.


We share the opinion that CSD 13 should not become a MDG-conference

prepcom. Although the focus on the improvement of the living conditions of

the poorest parts of the urban populations must have an absolute priority

this orientation must be based on visions, strategies and tools for human

settlements and urbanisation as a whole.

Neither strategies for sustainable human settlements nor poverty reduction

strategies can be reduced to slum improvement. “Slum” is a badly defined

term, a simplified perception of a great variety of realities. Not all

socially excluded live in slums, and not all settlements considered as

“slums” show the same level of social exclusion, poverty and lack of basic

services. Generally, the addressing of global strategies to specific forms

of human settlements risks to loose orientation if it not clearly and

strictly is based on human rights orientations.

If the human right of everybody to live in a healthy, secure and decent

environment builds the basic orientation of sustainable development action

priorities must concentrate on the overcome of conditions which prevent

social sustainable development at local levels and must enable local

levels to meet the basic needs of everybody within the population.

Strategies for security of tenure, access to services, prevention of

forced evictions etc. in irregular settlements must be addressed as such.

But at the same time we must not forget the violation of basic human

rights, the social exclusion and the lack of services in other forms of

human settlements. And – more than that – we must not forget the

circumstances which force people to live in insecure, unhealthy,

marginalized or irregular settlements and even not those conditions which

make peoples’ settlements insecure, dangerous and illegal places to live.


We welcome the position of the EU to insist on indispensable elements of

sustainable urban development at CSD 13.

We agree that unsustainable patterns of consumption by “northern” and

industrialized cities and wealthy populations must be put on the agenda.

We also agree that the questions of poverty reduction and social-spatial

inclusion must be answered within a city-wide approach. In this context it

might be helpful to refer to the equitable human settlement approach which

is part of the Habitat Agenda. The problems of the most deprived urban

areas must be solved within a framework of integrated local development.

We would like to add, that all these measures must be based on human rights approaches by using the given human rights instruments.

We propose that all measures and tools should be proofed on their

consistency with the given standards of human rights.


In addition to the many good ideas for concrete action we can already find

in the documents and in the EU positions we like to propose:

Proposal 1

Develop international guidelines for integrated local sustainable development plans and territorial management, which are – inter alia – orientated on the realisation of human rights for every inhabitant, equitable allocation of resources within the territory and the population, the reduction of local consumption of global natural resources to a globally sustainable level, a sustainable territorial balance with the natural living conditions including water resources, green spaces, soils etc., the prevention and overcome of spatial social segregation, the overcome of marginalisation and social exclusion, the prevention of forced evictions, affordable, secure and descent housing for all, income generation for the poor, strengthening of the participation of all population groups – especially the vulnerable groups – in decision making, strengthening the capacities of civil society to promote sustainable and equitable human settlements with long term perspective, guaranteeing accountability and good urban governance, strengthening local authorities capacities for urban planning etc.


an international Task Force which includes representatives of all major groups, which would take into account existing instruments for sustainable local development like Agenda 21, the Habitat Agenda, the Aarhus Declaration and the Healthy Cities Program and would lead to an efficient, global, coherent tool for local action, including permanent monitoring and bench marking.

Proposal 2

Focus international aid on the support of community or locally based sustainable strategies, which (inter alia)

orientate on the realisation of human rights for all,

orientate on the long term strengthening of the capacities of

local authorities and civil society to meet the needs of the population,

first of all the needs of the vulnerable groups and the marginalized,

respect the poor and excluded parts of the population –

especially those living in irregular settlements – as citizens,

allow a community or locally controlled transfer of knowledge

and technology,

improve good urban governance


a higher priority of human settlement support within the

existing financing and aid mechanisms, including ODA

concentrating aid on the strengthening of public and civil

society capacities and resources which allow a local generation of

adequate strategies

accepting that the building of adequate local capacities and

strategies needs enough time

basing aid on contracting which orientates on strict criteria

which meet the above priorities

– Within debt write-off a substancial part of the debt service

should be turned into public and community investments for housing and

human settlement improvement for the poorest parts of the population,

including better access to clear water, hygiene and sanitation, and to

alleviate the burden of women and children who are most affected by


Proposal 3

Strengthen corporate accountability in the fields of water, sanitation,

human settlements, housing, real estate


– using results and follow ups of WSSD,

– applying UN Human Rights Norms on real estate, service and

other human settlement related business,

– supporting the building of capacities of international Civil

Society to monitor the behaviour and practices of multinational

corporations in the habitat related fields

– developing guidelines for corporate accountability in the

habitat filed, which can be used by business, states and local

authorities, NGOs and communities.

Knut Unger

Koordinator AG Habitat Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung

Email: unger@mvwit.de

MieterInnenverein Witten u. Umg. e.V. / Habitat-Netz. e.V.

Postfach 1928, D-58409 Witten

Schillerstr. 13, D-58452 Witten

Geschäftsstelle Tel. ++49-2302-51793

Direkt/ Habitat-Netz: ++49-2302-276171

Fax. ++49-2302-27320