Asia and the Pacific
Latin America and the Caribbean
West Asia and Arab States
National Reports

The Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996, endorsed important changes in the approach to human settlements, acknowledging the need for guiding urbanization, rather than preventing it. 171 governments adopted the Habitat Agenda - a global call to action.

As elaborated in the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements and the Global Plan of Action, the objectives of the Habitat Agenda, and the strategies for their implementation revolve around two main themes: (a) Adequate shelter for all and (b) Sustainable human settlements in an urbanising world. By adopting the Habitat Agenda, the international community endorsed the Agenda's key objectives of enablement, participation, partnerships, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation and international cooperation, as well as specific commitments and strategies. United Nations Member States committed themselves to implementing the Habitat Agenda through local, national, sub-regional and regional plans of action and developing policies and programmes for adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements. The overall implementation of the Habitat Agenda is thus dependent on countries implementing their local and national plans of action and monitoring progress towards achieving objectives by means of appropriate indicators.

To help organise in-country activities and make national reports broadly congruent and directly relevant to the Habitat Agenda, 20 key items were identified in a consultative process (in line with resolution 17/1 of the United Nations Commission on Human settlements) as universal priorities from the commitments and strategies adopted in Istanbul in 1996. Although they vary in breadth, the commitments and strategies have a clarity of intent that would assist in keeping preparation and debate clearly focused, with priorities and specific performance objectives against which progress can be measured. The 20 key commitments endorsed are: shelter; social development and eradication of poverty; environmental management; economic development; governance; and international cooperation, as per the guidelines for country reporting issued by UNCHS (Habitat) in October 1999. For each of the commitments covered, the Member States should have considered progress made since 1996, prevailing conditions, new trends and emerging issues, policy and legislative changes since Habitat II, institutional weaknesses and obstacles encountered and lessons learnt, with emphasis on sustainability and impact.

To facilitate the reporting process a five-step assessment and reporting process was advocated by UNCHS (Habitat):

  • Organize a National Habitat Committee
  • Collect and analyse information
  • Hold national workshops to review plans of action
  • Agree on priorities for future action and initiatives
  • Prepare a country report
The majority of the national reports have followed this structure and to date 94 national reports have been received. The national reports can be found in their specific regions: Regional meetings were also held, not only to review progress made but also to identify and agree on concrete initiatives for extending and strengthening action to implement the Habitat Agenda commitments and achieve its goals in various regions.


2001 UNCHS


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