Wuppertal, Dec. 15, 2004
AG Habitat at Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung welcomes the will of the
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:
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.
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
– 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
– 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
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.
Koordinator AG Habitat Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung
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