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Habitat III: time to implement habitat I PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Written by Joan Russow
Sunday, 16 October 2016 19:44



Declaration of Principles


Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976


HABITAT: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements,

            Aware that the Conference was convened following recommendation of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and subsequent resolutions of the General Assembly, particularly resolution 3128 (XXVIII) by which the nations of the world expressed their concern over the extremely serious condition of human settlements, particularly that which prevails in developing countries,


Recognizing that international co-operation, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, has to be developed and strengthened in order to provide solutions for world problems and to create an international community based on equity, justice and solidarity,


Recalling the decisions of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, as well as the recommendations of the World Population Conference, the United Nations World Food Conference, the Second General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the World Conference of the International Women’s Year; the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted ;by the sixth special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States that establish the basis of the New International Economic Order,


Noting that the condition of human settlements largely determines the quality of life, the improvement of which is a prerequisite for the full satisfaction of basic needs, such as employment, housing, health services, education and recreation,


Recognizing that the problems of human settlements are not isolated from the social and economic development of countries and that they cannot be set apart from existing unjust international economic relations,


Being deeply concerned with the increasing difficulties facing the world in satisfying the basic needs and aspirations of peoples consistent with principles of human dignity,


Recognizing that the circumstances of life for vast numbers of people in human settlements are unacceptable, particularly in developing countries, and that, unless positive and concrete action is taken at national and international levels to find and implement solutions, these conditions are likely to be further aggravated, as a result of:


Inequitable economic growth, reflected in the wide disparities in wealth which now exist between countries and between human beings and which condemn millions of people to a life of poverty, without satisfying the basic requirements for food, education, health services, shelter, environmental hygiene, water and energy;


Social economic, ecological and environmental deterioration which are exemplified at the national and international levels by inequalities in living conditions, social segregation, racial discrimination, acute unemployment, illiteracy, disease and poverty, the breakdown of social relationships and traditional cultural values and the increasing degradation of life-supporting resources of air , water and land;


World population growth trends which indicate that numbers of mankind in the next 25 years would double, thereby more than doubling the need for food, shelter and all other requirements for life and human dignity which are at the present inadequately met;


Uncontrolled urbanization and consequent conditions of overcrowding, pollution, deterioration and psychological tensions in metropolitan regions;


Rural dispersion exemplified by small scattered settlements and isolated homesteads which inhibit the provision of infrastructure and services particularly those relating to water, health and education;


Involuntary migration, politically, racially and economically motivated, relocation and expulsion of people from their national homeland,


Recognizing also that the establishment of a just and equitable world economic order through necessary changes in the areas of international trade, monetary systems, industrialization, transfer of resources, transfer of technology, and the consumption of world resources is essential for socio-economic development and improvement of human settlement, particularly in developIng countries,


Recognizing further that these problems pose a formidable challenge to human understanding, imagination, ingenuity and resolve, and that new priorities to promote the qualitative dimensions to economic development, as well as a new political commitment to find solutions resulting in the p4ractical implementation of the New International Economic Order, become imperative   




1. Mankind must not be daunted by the scale of the task ahead. There is need for awareness of and responsibility for increased activity of the national Governments and international community, aimed at mobilization of economic resources, institutional changes and international solidarity by:

(a) Adopting bold, meaningful and effective human settlement policies and spatial planning strategies realistically adapted to local conditions;

(b) Creating more livable, attractive and efficient settlements which recognize human scale, the heritage and culture of people and the special needs of  disadvantaged groups especially children, women and the infirm in order to ensure the provision of health, services, education, food and employment within a framework of social justice


(c) Creating possibilities for effective participation by all people in the planning, building and management of their human settlements;

(d) Developing innovative approaches in formulating and implementing settlement programmes through more appropriate use of science and technology and adequate national and international financing;

(e) Utilizing the most effective means of communications for the exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of human settlements;

(f) Strengthening bonds of international co-operation both regionally and globally;

(g) Creating economic opportunities conducive to full employment where, under healthy, safe conditions, women and men will be fairly compensated for their labour in monetary, health and other personal benefits.

2 In meeting this challenge, human settlements must be seen as an instrument and object of development. The goals of settlement policies are inseparable from the goals of every sector of social and economic life. The solutions to the problems of human settlements must therefore be conceived as an integral part of the development process of individual nations and the world community.

3 With these opportunities and considerations in mind, and being agreed on the necessity of finding common principles that will guide Governments and the world community in solving the problems of human settlements, the Conference proclaims the following general principles and guidelines for action.



1. The improvement of the quality of life of human beings is the first and most important objective of every human settlement policy. These policies must facilitate the rapid and continuous improvement in the quality of life of all people, beginning with the satisfaction of the basic needs of food, shelter, clean water, employment, health, education, training, social security without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, ideology, national or social origin or other cause, in a frame of freedom, dignity and social justice.


2. In striving to achieve this objective, priority must be given to the needs of the most disadvantaged people.


3. Economic development should lead to the satisfaction of human needs and is a necessary means towards achieving a better quality of life, provided that it contributes to a more equitable distribution of its benefits among people and nations. In this context particular attention should be paid to the accelerated transition in developing countries from primary development to secondary development activities, and particularly to industrial development.


4. Human dignity and the exercise of free choice consistent with over-all public welfare are basic rights which must be assured in every society. It is therefore the duty of all people and Governments to join the struggle against any form of colonialism, foreign aggression and occupation, domination, apartheid and all forms of racism and racial discrimination referred to in the resolutions as adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

%. The establishment of settlements in territories occupied by force is illegal. it is condemned by the international community. However, action still remains to be taken against the establishment of such settlements.


6. The right of free movement and the right of each individual to choose the place of settlement within the domain of his own country should be recognized and safeguarded.


7. Every State has the sovereign and inalienable right to choose its economic system , as well as its political, social and cultural system, in accordance with the will of it people, without interference, coercion or external threat of any kind.


8. Every State has the right to exercise full and perment sovereignty over its wealth, natural resources and economic activities, adopting the necessary measures for the planning and management of its resources, providing for the protection, preservation and enhancement of the environment.


9. Every country should have the right to be a sovereign inheritor of its own cultural values created throughout its history, and has the duty to preserve them as an integral part of the cultural heritage of mankind.


10. Land is one of the fundamental elements in human settlements. Every State has the right to take the necessary steps to maintain under public control the use, possession, disposal and reservation of land. every State has the right to plan and regulate use of land, which is one of its most important resources, in such a way that the growth of population centres both urban and rural are based on a comprehensive land use plan. Such measures must assure the attainment of basic goals of social and economic reform for every country, in conformity with its national and land tenure system and legislation.


11. The nations must avoid the pollution of the biosphere and the oceans and should join in the effort to end irrational exploitation of all environmental resources, whether non-renewable or renewable in the long term. The environment is the common heritage of mankind and its protection is the responsibility of the whole international community. All acts by nations and people should therefore be inspired ;by a deep respect for the protection of the environmental resources upon which life itself depends. ( II, 11 Habitat I)


12. The waste and misuse of resources in war and armaments should be prevented. All countries should make a firm commitment to promote general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, in particular in the field of nuclear disarmament. part of the resources thus released should be utilized so as to achieve a better qualit6y of life for humanity and particularly the peoples of developing countries (II, 12 Habitat 1)


13 All persons have the right and the duty to participate, individually and collectively in the elaboration and implementation of policies and programmes of their human settlements.


14. To achieve universal progress in the quality of life, a fair and balanced structure of the economic relations between States has to be promoted. It is therefore essential to implement urgently the New International Economic Order based on the Declaration and Programme of Action approved by the General Assembly in its sixth special session, and on the Charter of Economic rights and Duties of States. (II 14, Habitat I)


15 The highest priority should be placed on the rehabilitation of expelled and homeless people who have been displaced by natural or man-made catastrophes, and especially by the act of foreign aggression. In the latter case, all countries have the duty to fully co-operate in order to guarantee that the parties involved allow the return of displaced persons to their homes and to give them the right to possess and enjoy their properties and belongings without interference. (II, 15 Habitat I)


16 Historical settlements, monuments and other items of national heritage, including religious heritage, should be safeguarded against any acts of aggression or abuse by the occupying Power.


17. Every State ;has the sovereign right to rule and exercise effective control over foreign investments, including the transnational corporations—within its national jurisdiction, which affect directly or indirectly the human settlements programme (II 17, Habitat I)


18. All countries, particularly developing countries, must create conditions which make possible the full integration of women and youth in political, economic and social activities, particularly in the planning and implementation of human settlement proposals and in all the associated activities, on the basis of equal rights, in order to achieve an efficient and full utilization of available human resources, bearing in mind that women constitute half of the world population.


19 International co-operation is an objective and a common duty of all States, and necessary efforts must therefore be made to accelerate the social and economic development of developing countries, within the framework of favourable external conditions, which are compatible with their needs and aspirations and which contains the due respect for the sovereign equality of all States.



1. It is recommended that Governments and international organizations should make every effort to take urgent action as set out in the following guidelines:


2.        It is the responsibility of Governments to prepare spatial strategy plans and adopt human settlement policies to guide the socio-economic development efforts. Such policies must be an essential component of an over-all development strategy, linking and harmonizing them with policies on industrialization, agriculture, social welfare, and environmental and cultural preservation so that each supports the other in a progressive improvement in well-being of all mankind. (III 2, Habitat I)


3. a human settlement policy must seek harmonious integration or co-ordination of a wide variety of components, including, for example, population growth and distribution, employment, shelter, land use, infrastructure and services. Governments must create mechanisms and institutions to develop and implement such a policy.


4. It is of paramount importance that national and international efforts give priority to improving the rural habitat. In this context, efforts should be made towards the reduction of disparities between rural and urban areas, as needed between regions and within urban areas themselves, for a harmonious development of human settlements. (III 4 Habitat I)


5. The demographic, natural and economic characteristics of many countries, require policies on growth and distribution of population, land tenure and localization of productive activities to ensure orderly processes of urbanization and arrange for rational occupation of rural space.


6. Human settlement policies and programmes should define and strive for progressive minimum standards for an acceptable quality of life. These standards will vary within and between countries, as well as over periods of time, and therefore must be subject to change in accordance with conditions and possibilities. Some standards are most appropriately defined in quantitative terms, thus providing precisely defined targets at the local and national levels. Others must be qualitative, with their achievement subject to felt need. At the same time, social justice and a fair sharing of resources demand the discouragement of excessive consumption  (III 6 Habitat I)


7. Attention must also be drawn to the detrimental effects of transposing standards and criteria that can only be adopted by minorities and could heighten inequalities, the misuse of resources and the social, cultural and ecological deterioration of the developing countries. (III 7 Habitat I)


8. adequate shelter and services are a basic human right which places an obligation on Governments to ensure their attainment by all people, beginning with direct assistance to the least advantaged through guided programmes of self-help and community action. Governments should endeavour to remove all impediments hindering attainments of these goals. Of special importance is the elimination of social and racial segregation, inter alia, through the creation of better balanced communities, which blend difference social groups, occupation, housing and amenities. (III 8 Habitat I)


9. Health is an essential element in the development of the individual and one of the goals of human settlement policies should be to improve environmental health conditions and basic health services.


10. Basic human dignity is the right of people, individually and collectively, to participate directly in shaping the policies and programmes affecting their lives. The process of choosing and carrying out a given course of action for human settlement improvement should be designed expressly to fulfill that right. Effective human settlement policies require a continuous co-operative relationship between a Government and its people at all levels. It is recommended that national Governments promote programmes that will encourage and assist local authorities to anticipate to a greater extent in national development.


11 Since a genuine human settlement policy requires the effective participation of the entire population, recourse must therefore be made at all times to technical arrangements permitting the use of all human resources, both skilled and unskilled. The equal participation of women must be guaranteed. These goals must be associated with a global training Programme to facilitate the introduction and use of technologies that maximize productive employment. (III 11, Habitat I)


12, International and national institutions should promote and institute education programmes and courses in the subject of “human Settlements”

13. Land is an essential element in development of both urban and rural settlements. The use and tenure of land should be subject to public control because of its limited supply through appropriate measures and legislation including agrarian reform policies — as an essential basis for ;integrated rural  development—that will facilitate the transfer of economic resources to the agricultural sector and the promotion of the agro-industrial effort, so as to improve the integration and organization of human settlements, in accordance with national development plans and programmes. the increase in the value of land as a result of public decision and investment should be recaptured for the benefit of society as a whole. Governments should also ensure that prime agricultural land is destined to its most vital use.


14. Human settlements are characterized by significant disparities in living standards and opportunities. Harmonious development of human settlements requires the reduction of disparities between rural and urban areas, between regions and within regions themselves. Governments should adopt policies ;which aim at decreasing the differences between living standards and opportunities in urban and non-urban areas. Such policies at the national level should be supplemented by policies designed to reduce disparities between countries within the framework of the New International Economic Order. (II 14, Habitat II)


15 In achieving the socio-economic and environmental objectives of the development of human settlements, high priority should be given to the actual design and physical planning processes which have as their main tasks the synthesis of various planning approaches and the transformation of broad and general goals into specific design solutions. The sensitive and comprehensive design methodologies related to the particular circumstances of time and space, and based on consideration of the human scale should be pursued and encouraged.


16. The design of human settlements should aim at providing a living environment in which identities of individuals, families and societies are preserved and adequate means for maintaining privacy, the possibility of face-to cave interaction and public participation in the decision-making process are provided.


17. A human settlement is more than a grouping of people, shelter and work places. Diversity in the characteristics of human settlements reflecting cultural and aesthetic values must be respected and encouraged and areas of historical, religious or archaeological importance and nature areas of special interest preserved for posterity. Places of worship, especially in areas of expanding human settlement, should be provided and recognized in order to satisfy the spiritual and religious needs of different groups in accordance with freedom of religious expression.


18. Governments and the international community should facilitate the transfer of relevant technology and experience and should encourage and assist the creation of endogenous technology better suited to the socio-cultural characteristics and patterns of population by means of bilateral or multilateral agreements having regard to the sovereignty and interest of the participating States. The knowledge and experience accumulated on the subject of human settlements should be available to all countries. Research and academic institutions should contribute more fully to this effort by giving greater attention to human settlements problems. (III 18 Habitat 1)


19. Access should be granted, on more favourable terms, to modern technology, which should be adapted, as necessary, to the specific economic, social and ecological conditions and to different stages of development of the developing countries. Efforts must be made to ensure that the commercial practices governing the transfer of technology are adapted to the needs of the developing countries and to ensure that buyers’ rights are not abused. (III 19 Habitat I)


20 International, technical and financial co-operation by the developed countries must be conducted on the basis of respect for national sovereignty and national development plans and programmes and designed to solve problems relating to projects, under human settlement programmes, aimed at enhancing the quality of life of the inhabitants.


21 Due attention should be given to implementation of conservation and recycling technologies.


22 In the planning and management of human settlements, Governments should take into consideration all pertinent recommendations on human settlements planning which have emerged from earlier conferences dealing with the quality of live and development problems which affect it, starting with the high global priority represented by the transformation of the economic order at the national and international levels (sixth and seventh special sessions), the environmental impact of human settlements (Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment), the housing and sanitary ramifications of population growth (World Population Conference, Bucharest), rural development and the need to increase food supply (W0rld Food Conference, Rome) and the effect on women of housing and urban development (International Women’s Conference, Mexico City). (III 22 Habitat I)


23 While planning new human settlements of restructuring existing ones, a high priority should be given to the promotion of optimal and creative conditions of human coexistence. this implies the creation of a well-structured urban space on a human scale, the close interconnection of the different urban function, the relief of urban man from intolerable psychological tensions due to overcrowding and chaos, the creation of changes of human encounters and the elimination of urban concepts leading to human isolation


24. Guided by the forgoing principles, the international community must exercise its responsibility to support national effort to meet the human settlements challenges facing them Since resources of Governments are inadequate to meet all needs, the international community should provide the necessary financial and technical assistance, evolve appropriate institutional arrangements and seek new effective ways to promote them. In the meantime, assistance to developing countries must at least reach the percentage targets set in the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade. 


    Chapter II

Recommendations for National Action

A. Settlement polices and strategies Agenda item 10 a

3 The ideologies of States are reflected in their human settlement policies. These being powerful instruments for change, they must not be used to dispossess people from their homes and their land, or to entrench privilege and exploitation . the human settlement policies must be in conformity with the declaration of principle and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


5. In fact, the very construction of the physical components of human settlements- ;be they rural or urban, in the form of dwellings or roads, with traditional or modern technologies — in sufficient volume to meet the needs of society could become a leading sector of the economy and a major generator of meaningful employment, instead of being treated as a residual of so-called “productive” activities. (Chant II A. 5 Habitat)



Recommendation A.2

An integrated human settlement policy

(i) be formulated through a truly interdisciplinary approach, concurrently with policies relation to other aspects of social and economic development

(ii) be consistent with the preservation, restoration and improvement of the natural and man-made environment, cognizant of the positive role of environment in national economic and social development.

(v) be considered in all efforts to implement the New International Economic Order


Recommendation A.3


..a policy should:

(iv) Be led by public sector action, and aim at the welfare of the people, with priority to the most deprived.


(v). Set minimum and maximum standards which should be expressed in qualitative and quantitative terms, based on indigenous values, related to local resources and abilities, capable of evolving over time and developed with the full participation of all those concerned.


Recommendation A4


(b) Human settlements policies should aim to improve the condition of human settlements particularly ;by promoting a more equitable distribution of the benefits of development among regions; and by making such benefits and public services equally accessible to all groups. (Rec. A 4,b  Habitat I)


(c) this can be done through:

(i) the location of public sector investments;

(ii) the allocation of direct subsidies and priority of investment, to selected disadvantaged regions and groups

(iii) the use of incentives and disincentives-fiscal, legal and other to favour or discourage selected activities or areas

(iv) The creation of special employment, training and social services opportunities training and social services opportunities in favour of the most deprived


(v) the deliberate improvement of conditions in the most disadvantaged settlements, so as to enhance attraction of such areas in relation to others;


(vi) Measures to improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups which have special needs-such as children, the elderly, the handicapped and the disabled.  Such measure include provision of basic social services, adequate shelter and social and physical access to facilities.


Recommendation A6 Allocation of resources


(c) Particular attention should be given to:

(i) making true social costs and benefits the basis for policy decision and evaluation, and not only material product:

(iv) Research priority for critical factors in the development of human settlements, especially energy and technologies;


B. Settlement planning (Agenda item 10 b)


Recommendation B.(

Urban expansion


(a) Expected population growth and migration mean that urban expansion will be the most common and universal development challenge. However, urban expansion can take the form of urban sprawl, and it is then costly, wasteful and ecologically destructive.


(c) it requires special provisions for:

(i) securing legislation, legal instruments and regulations;

(iv) active participation of a well informed public

(v) protection of ecosystems and critical land

( ix) Integration and improvement of squatter and marginal settlements.


Recommendation C4

Designs and technologies for shelter infrastructure and services

C. the solutions arising from such choices should therefor be:

(kk) based on the best possible use of available local materials and local resources within a process of constructive rationalization allowing for the effective use of locally existing know-how and unskilled labour in countries with abundant manpower, thereby generating employment and income.

(iv) Conceived to utilize traditional techniques suitable adapted to new materials

(v) emerging from original indigenous research

(vi) Planned so as to take full account of their environmental impact



Recommendation C. 5


Human settlements are consuming more and more energy just when mankind has become aware of the need to cease environmentally degrading and wasteful use of non-renewable energy resources.


(i) reducing energy consumption by changes in land-use planning, building design, living patterns and appropriate transportation systems including emphasis on mass transportation.


(ii) Identifying and developing new sources of energy and promoting more efficient use of energy resources, for example through innovative approaches in design and management and although financial and other incentives for energy conservation and through disincentives for wasteful consumption ( Recommendation C. 5 Habitat i)


(iv) emphasizing where possible the use of renewable over non-renewable energy sources and the rationalization of technologies which are currently known to be hazardous to the environment.


(vi) Developing and implementing special small-scale power generating, delivery and use systems more appropriate for water supply, rural electrification, and district heating and cooling, including the utilization of solar and geothermal energy and heat pumps as appropriate.


Recommendation C6  Long-term cost of shelter, infrastructure and services

(b0 in choosing alternatives for shelter , infrastructure and services account should be taken of their social, environmental, economic costs and benefits including that of future management, maintenance and operations as well as capital costs.


Recommendation C7

(a) he development of an indigenous construction industry is still an untapped resources in many nations where genuinely local firms, small or large, are often in need of assistance.


Recommendation C 9

(b) National housing policies must aim at providing adequate shelter and services to the lower income groups, distributing available resources on the basis of greatest needs.


Recommendation C 11

Infrastructure policy

(a) The unequal distribution of wealth between population groups, within human settlements and between urban and rural settlements is exacerbated by the inequalities in access to goods, services and information.

(b) Infrastructure policy should be geared to achieve greater equity in the provision of services and utilities, access to places of work and recreational areas as well as to minimize adverse environmental impact.

(c) this implies

(i0 Enforcement of minimum and maximum standards of infrastructure for all segments of the population

(ii) More efficient use of resources and elimination of excessive consumption through development and implementation of maximum standards, education, conservation and other appropriate measures; (C11 ii)


Recommendation C 12

 In the less developed countries, nearly two thirds of the population do not have reasonable access to safe and ample water supply, and even a greater proportion lack the means for hygienic waste disposal

(b) Safe water supply and hygienic waste disposal should receive priority with a view to achieving measurable qualitative and quaatitiatve targets serving all the population by a certain date; targets should be established by all nations and should be considered ;by the forthcoming united nations conference on water.


(c) in most countries urgent action is necessary to

(i) adopt programmes with realistic standards for quality and quantity to provide water for urban and rural areas by 1990, if possible.


(ii) adopt and accelerate programmes for the sanitary disposal of excreta and waste water in urban and rural areas;


(v) reduce inequalities in service and access to water as well as over-consumption and waste of water supply;  C12


(vii) Promote the efficient use and reuse of water by recycling, desalination or other means taking into account the environmental impact.

(viii) Take measures to protect water supply sources from pollution.


recommendation C13

Waste management and prevention of pollution


(a) The growing amount of waste material is one of the by-products of urbanization, industrialization and the consumer society; the environmental hazards it creates, together with the need to economize resources, has rendered profligate waste-generating life styles obsolete ( Rec. C 13 (a)


(b) In the development of human settlements the quality of the environment must be preserved. Pollution should be prevented by ;minimizing the generation of wastes; wastes which cannot be avoided should be effectively managed and whenever possible turned into a resource.


(i) Adoption of pollution control measures including incentives and disincentives for location of waste-generating enterprises, and measures to selectively discourage production of materials which add unnecessarily to the waste load;


(ii) better use of existing technology and development of new technology to reduce the volume of waste material generated, along with better design and choice of materials destined to become waste;


(iii) Innovative use of unavoidable waste as a by-product

(vi) Use of sources of energy which have a low or no waste production


(vii) Re-exploration of traditional uses of waste materials and study of their potential uses in contemporary society;


recommendation C 14 Transportation and communication

(a) Consideration should be given to the radical reversal of current trends, both in terms of facilities for and modes of transport in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation where larger cities are congested with private vehicles which in most countries cater only to a minority while adequate public transport is unavailable to urban and rural residents.


(b0 Policies on transportation and communication should promote desired patterns of development to satisfy the needs of the majority of the population, to assure the distribution of activities to favour mass transportation, and to reduce congestion and pollution by motor vehicles.


(c) This could be achieved through:


(i) a more deliberate use of land-use planning and policies for the location of traffic generating activities, in order to minimize the need for travel.

(ii) the active development of a system of public transportation with adequate incentives for its use in preference to individual use of motor vehicles


(vi) provide for the separation of pedestrian and motor circulation, as well as separate paths for bicycles, and other categories of vehicular traffic;


(vii) Over the short-term, transportation improvements should be designed to make more efficient use of existing highways and transit systems;

(vii) Innovative transportation systems need to be encouraged for reducing energy consumption and conserving resources and avoiding pollution C14 vii


(x) The study of new techniques to avoid the air and environmental pollution caused by the present automobile system.


Recommendation C 15

Social services


(b) the provision of health, nutrition, education, security, recreation and other essential services in all parts of the country should be geared to the needs of the community and receive an effective priority in national and development planning and in the allocation of resources


(c) Areas for priority action include the following:

(v0 Priority orientation of the above actions towards the promotion of health and the prevention of malnutrition, communicable diseases and other avoidable health risks and the provision of essential services and spiritual and physical recreational facilities;


D. Land (Agenda item 10 (d)




Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human elements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole


2. Instead, the pattern of land use should be determined by the long-term interests of the community, especially since decisions on location of activities and therefore of specific land uses have a long-lasting effect on the pattern and structure of human settlements. Land is also a primary element of the natural and man-made environment and a crucial link in an often delicate balance. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection as an asset and the achievement of the long-term objectives of human settlement policies and strategies.


3. To exercise such control effectively, public authorities require detailed knowledge of the current patterns of use and tenure of land; appropriate legislation defining the boundaries of individual rights and public interest; an suitable instruments for assessing the value of land and transferring to the community, inter alia through taxation, the unearned increment resulting from changes in use, or public investment or decisions, or due to the general growth of the community.


4. above all, Governments must have the political will to evolve and implement innovative and adequate urban and rural land policies, as a corner-stone of their efforts to improve the quality of life inhuman settlements.


Recommendation D1

Land resource management

a Land is one of the most valuable natural resources and it must be used rationally. Public ownership or effective control of land in the public interest is the single most important means of improving the capacity of human settlements to absorb changes and movements in population, modifying their internal structure and achieving a more equitable distribution of the benefits of development whilst assuring that environmental impacts are considered.


(b) Land is a scarce resource whose management should be subject to public surveillance control in the interest of the nation

(c) This applies in particular to land required for:

(v) The protection and enhancement of the natural environment especially in sensitive areas of special geographic and ecological significance such as coastal regions and other areas subject to the impact of development, recreation and tourism activities.


(d) Land is a natural resource fundamental to the economic, social and political development of peoples and therefore Governments must maintain full jurisdiction and exercise complete sovereignty over such and exercise complete over such land with a view to freely planning development of human settlements throughout the whole of the natural territory. This resource must not be the subject of restrictions imposed ;by foreign nations which enjoy the benefits while preventing its rational use.


(e) In all occupied territories, changes in the demographic composition, or the transfer or uprooting of the native population, and the destruction of existing human settlements in these lands and/or the establishment of new settlements for intruders, is inadmissible. the heritage and national identity must be protected. Any policies that violate these principles must be condemned.


recommendation D2

Control of land use changes.

(a) Agricultural land, particularly on the periphery of urban areas, is an important national resources; without public control land is a prey to speculation and urban encroachment.


(b) Change in the use of land especially from agricultural to urban, should be subject to public control and regulation.


(c) Such control may be exercised through

( i) zoning and land-use planning as a basic instrument of land policy in general and control of land-use changes in particular;

(ii) Direct intervention, e.g the creation of land reserves and land banks purchasing compensated expropriation and/or pre-exemption, acquisition of development rights, conditioned leasing of public communal land, formation of public and mixed development enterprises;


(ii) Legal controls, e.g. compulsory registration, changes in administrative boundaries, development building and local permits, assembly and replotting;


Recommendation D3

 Recapturing plus value.

(a) Excessive profits resulting from the increase in land value due to development and change in use are one of the principal causes of the concentration of wealth in private hands. Taxation should not be seen only as a source of revenue for the community but also as a powerful tool o encourage development of desirable locations, to exercise a controlling effect on the land market and to redistribute to the public at large the benefits of the unearned increase in land values.


(b) The unearned increment resulting from the rise in land values resulting from change in use of land, from public investment or decision or due to the general growth of the community must be subject to appropriate recapture by public bodies (the community), unless the situation calls for other additional measures such as new patterns of ownership, the general acquisition of land by public bodies.


(c) Specific ways and means include:

(i) levying of appropriate taxes, e.g. capital gains taxes, land taxes and betterment charges, and particularly taxes on unused or under-utilized land;


(ii) Periodic and frequent assessment of land values in and around cities and determination of the rise in such values relative to the general level of prices;


(iii) Instituting development charges or permit fees and specifying the time-limit within which construction must start;


(iv) Adopting pricing and compensation policies relating to value of land prevailing at a specified time, rather than its commercial value at the time of acquisition by public authorities

(v) Leasing of publicly owned land in such a way that future increment which is not due to the efforts by the new user is kept by the community.


(vi) Assessment of land suitable for agricultural use which is in proximity of cities mainly at agricultural values.


Recommendation D. 4

Public ownership

(a) Public ownership of land cannot be an end in itself; ;it is justified in so far as it is exercised in favour of the common good rather than to protect the interests of the already privileged.


(b) Public ownership, transitional or permanent should be used, wherever appropriate , to secure and control areas of urban expansion and protection; and to implement urban and rural land reform processes, and supply services land at price levels which can secure socially acceptable patterns of development


recommendation D 5

patterns of ownership

() Many countries are undergoing a process of profound social transformation; a review and restructuring of the entire system of ownership rights is, in the majority of cases, essential to the accomplishment of new national objectives.


(b) Past patterns of ownership rights should be transformed to match the changing needs of society and be collectively beneficial.


(c) special attention should be paid to:

(i) Redefinition of legal ownership including the rights of women and disadvantaged groups and usage rights for a variety of purposes;


(ii) Promoting land reform measures to bring ownership rights into conformity with the present and future needs of society;


(iii) Clear definition of public objectives and private ownership rights and duties which may vary with time and place;


(iv) Transitional arrangements to change ownership from traditional and customary patterns to new systems, especially in connection with communal lands, whenever such patterns are no longer appropriate.


(v) Methods for the separation of land ownership rights from development rights, the latter to be entrusted to a public authority;


(vii) The land rights of indigenous peoples so that their cultural and historical heritage is preserved.


Recommendation D6

Increase iunusable land

(a) In view of the limited availability of land for human settlements and the need to prevent the continuing loss of valuable natural areas due to erosion, urban encroachment and other causes, efforts to conserve and reclaim land for both agriculture and settlements without upsetting the ecological balance are imperative.


(b) the supply of usable land should be maintained by all appropriate methods including social conservation, control of desertification and salination, prevention of pollution, and use of land capability analysis and increased by long-term programmes of land reclamation and preservation.


(c) Special attention should be paid to

(vi) Prevention of pollution as well as restoration of derelict or damaged land, control of fire and preservation of the environment from natural and man-made hazards.


Recommendation D7 Information needs


(a) Effective land use planning and control measures cannot be implemented unless the public and all levels of government have access to adequate information.


(b) Comprehensive information on land capability, characteristics, tenure use and legislation should be collected and constantly up-dated so that all citizens and levels of government can be guides as to the most beneficial land use allocation and control measures.


(c0 This implies


(vi) development and use of methods for assessing economic, social and environmental impacts from proposed projects in a form useful to the pubic;


(vii) Consideration of land use characteristics including ecological tolerances and optimum utilization of land so as to minimize pollution, conserve energy, and protect and recover resources;

(viii) Undertake the necessary studies on precautions that can be taken to safeguard life and property in case of natural disaster.


E. Public participation (Agenda item 10 (e) )

17. Participation is an integral part of the political processes of decision-making; in a field as complex as human settlements, it is also a necessity because the task is too great for Governments to accomplish without mobilizing the interest of inhabitants, using their ingenuity and skills and harnessing otherwise untapped resources.


28. Public participation is the dynamic incorporation of the people in the economic, social and political life of a country which would ensure that the beneficiary is an effective participant in collective decisions with regard to the common good.


39. A co-operative effort of the people and their Governments is a prerequisite for effective action on human settlements. The magnitude and intractability of the problems are too great for Governments to act alone. Citizen participation should be an integral part of the decision-making processes on the full range of human settlement issues. Citizens must be provide opportunities for direct involvement in the decisions that profoundly affect their lives. Such participation can heighten citizen awareness of the complexity and interrelatedness of the problems and the urgent need for concerted action. Involvement of citizens can also be an important means of making creative use of their ingenuity and skills, thus making effective use of often untapped resources.


40 Participation can be conceived, from the top downwards, as the involvement of the higher echelons of government in the decision-making of smaller groups; laterally, as the co-operation between parallel or competing sectoral interests; or, from the base upwards, as the direct involvement of residents in the making of decisions and implementation of programmes which concern them. The first two forms of participation are the basis of strategies, planning procedures, implementation of programmes and, in general, management of human settlements; the last, under the label of popular participation, is becoming an indispensable element of a truly democratic process.


51 Every effort must be made to remove barriers which preclude active participation by women in the planning, design, and execution of all aspects of human settlements and at all levels of government.


62 Public participation is an integral process and therefore it should not be divided into partial participation as this would lead to the current general conception of participation as a way of cheap local labour, or as a mechanism for the solution of partial problems at the local level.


73 Citizen participation, by definition, cannot be achieved by fiat. But it can be facilitated by removal of political and institutional obstacles and by providing information in clear and meaningful terms. It can also be stimulated by providing opportunities for early and continuing involvement  in the selection of alternatives. the inaccessibility of information and the absence of appropriate mechanisms for the expression of alternative views are often major stumbling blocks for effective involvement of citizens in shaping their future.

95 Public participation implies not only efforts to convey information but also a very important effort of education and formation to allow both specialist and public participation to play a determining role in evaluating the economic, technical and administrative consequences of the measures under consideration


Recommendation E. 1

Role of public participation

(a) Meeting basic human needs and improving the quality of life in human settlements requires critical choices in the allocation of scarce resources, the utilization of available resources and the harnessing of new ones; this process cannot be effective without the active involvement of the people affected by such decisions.


(b) Public participation should be an indispensable element inhuman settlements. especially in planning strategies and in their foruoation, implementation and management; ;it should influence all levels of government in the decision-making process to further the political, social and economic growth of human settlemetns.


(c) Particular attention should be paid to;

(iv) The advance public disclosure of strategies, plans and programmes for public discussion should be made at the early planning stages before major commitments to the project have been made.


recommendation E 3

Two way flow

(a) Public participation does not mean simply the mobilization of people to implement the independent decisions of governments and professionals; participation requiares listening and response in both directions.


(b) to be effective, public participation requires the free flow of information among all parties concerned and should be based on mutual understanding, trust and education.


(ii) Allocation of resources for the development of skills within the community to render participation progressively more effective;



(iv) Appeal and arbitration bodies to reconcil public interest and invdividual rights;


(vi) Submission of all major planning decisions to approapriate processes of p8blic inquiry, with particular emphasis on the riths of the least privileged sectors of the population.


Recommen dtaion E 4

Wide involvement

 (b) Public participation should integrate the various sectoras os the population invcluding those that traditionally have not participated wither in teh planning or in teh decision-makeing proceses.

(c) Particular attentionshould be paid to:

(i) Expanding and strengthening the role of community organizations, voluntary groups workers’ organizations, tenants and neightbourhood organizations.


(ii) Assisting in the formation of non-governmental organizations devoted especially tohuman settlement issures and encouraging the existing oens to focus their programmes on such issues;


(ii) Decentralizing planning and public administration institutions and establishing orstrengthening locally elected bodies so as to ensure the deomocratic charatcter of pop8ular participation.



Believeing that

[(c) Teh wasteful consumption and misuse of scarce natural resorces including the resources expended by Governments on armaments consitute serious limitation on the availability of resources for development purposes.



All pertinent  recommendations from previous conferences

22 In the planning and management of human settlements, Governments should take into consideration all pertinent recommendations on human settlements planning which have emerged from earlier conferences dealing with the quality of live and development problems which affect it, starting with the high global priority represented by the transformation of the economic order at the national and international levels (sixth and seventh special sessions), the environmental impact of human settlements (Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment), the housing and sanitary ramifications of population growth (World Population Conference, Bucharest), rural development and the need to increase food supply (W0rld Food Conference, Rome) and the effect on women of housing and urban development (International Women’s Conference, Mexico City). (III 22 Habitat 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 16:21

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