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General Assembly

Distr: General
20 December 1988
Original: English

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Forty-third session
Agenda item 12 e

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly

43/181. Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000

The General Assembly,

Bearing in mind the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976 and the recommendations for national action adopted at Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements,

Recalling its resolution 35/56 of 5 December 1980, the annex to which contains the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade, in which, inter alia, the importance of the provision of basic shelter and infrastructure was stressed,

Recalling also its resolution 37/221 of 20 December 1982, by which it proclaimed the year 1987 International Year of Shelter for the Homeless,

Recalling further its resolution 42/191 of 11 December 1987, in which it decided that there should be a Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000,

Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women,

Recalling Commission on Human Settlements resolutions 9/9 of 16 May 1986 and 10/17 of 16 April 1987 on the participation of women in the solution of human settlements problems,

Recalling also Commission on Human Settlements resolution 10/16 of 16 April 1987 on the effect of the external debt of the developing countries and their ability to raise the funds needed to solve the housing problems of the homeless up to the year 2000,

Taking note of Commission on Human Settlements resolution 11/7 of 11 April 1988 entitled "Co-ordination and co-operation with agencies and organizations within the United Nations system",

Convinced that the continuous, co-ordinated and widely based efforts of Governments, organizations of the United Nations system, other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals, when guided by an appropriate strategy, will reverse the alarming trends in the field of human settlements and produce clear and visible improvements in the shelter and neighbourhoods of the poor and disadvantaged by the year 2000, and that this should be a global responsibility,

Encouraged by action already taken or being taken in many countries to prepare national shelter strategies and to adopt other measures that will promote achievement of the goal of shelter for all,

Recognizing that, despite such efforts, more than one billion people have shelter unfit for human habitation, that this number will increase dramatically, partly as a result of population and urbanization trends, and that determined measures must be taken aimed at profiting from these trends, rather than being penalized by them,

Also recognizing that the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless has confirmed the need to intensify national and international efforts to produce, deliver and improve shelter for all, with specific emphasis on the poor and disadvantaged,

Convinced that shelter problems are universal, that no country has yet completely met its shelter needs, and that every country can profit from the experience of others,

Also convinced that shelter problems are a global concern requiring solutions that relate to other global problems and also requiring the efforts of all countries to reach such solutions, that the demand for shelter in each country can be met by applying a set of common principles, but that goals can only be met by the individual efforts of each Government acting in its own political, economic, social and cultural context,

Recognizing that the core of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 consists of integrated national shelter strategies that need to be based on a full understanding of the scale and nature of the problem and the national resource base available to address the problem,

Recognizing also that national shelter strategies need to contain four complementary parts: clear and measurable objectives; national mobilization and distribution of financial resources; promotion of shelter production and improvement with special reference to the management of land, the provision of infrastructure and encouragement of the use of appropriate building materials and technology; and the gradual reorganization of the shelter sector,

1.Adopts the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000;

2.Decides that the main objective of the Strategy is to facilitate adequate shelter for all by the year 2000, that the main focus should therefore be on improving the situation of the disadvantaged and the poor, and that the following fundamental objectives and principles should form the basis of the Strategy:

  1. Enabling policies, whereby the full potential and resources of all governmental and non-governmental actors in the field of human settlements are utilized, must be at the heart of national and international efforts;

  2. Women, as income-earners, home-makers and heads of households, and women's organizations fulfil a crucial role as contributors to the solution of human settlements problems, which should be fully recognized and reflected in equal participation of women in the elaboration of housing policies, programmes and projects, and the specific interests and capabilities of women should be adequately represented in human settlements policy formulation and in government mechanisms employed at all levels for the implementation of housing policies, programmes and projects;

  3. Shelter and development are mutually supportive and interdependent, and policies must be developed in full recognition of the important links between shelter and economic development;

  4. The concept of sustainable development implies that the provision of shelter and urban development must be reconcilable with a sustainable management of the environment;

3.Designates the Commission on Human Settlements as the United Nations intergovernmental body responsible for co-ordinating, evaluating and monitoring the Strategy and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) as the secretariat for the Strategy and the lead agency for co-ordinating and monitoring the relevant programmes and activities of other United Nations organizations and agencies concerned;

4.Urges Governments to develop appropriate national and sub-national strategies for shelter in the light of the guidelines provided in the report of the Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) entitled "Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000" and to report regularly to the Commission on Human Settlements, beginning at its twelfth session, on their relevant experience and on progress achieved in implementing those strategies;

5.Requests the Executive Director to monitor the relevant global experience and progress of all countries in implementing the Strategy and to report thereon to the Commission, beginning at its thirteenth session;

6.Decides to review and clarify the Strategy on a biennial basis, within regular budgetary resources, with the assistance of experts selected on the basis of equitable geographic representation, and to revise the Strategy in the light of global and national experience from all regions and subregions;

7.Requests the Commission on Human Settlements, as the body designated to co-ordinate implementation of the Strategy, to report biennially to the General Assembly on progress made in its implementation;

8.Also requests the Commission to strengthen, within existing resources, its role in regard to the promotion of innovative measures by which bilateral and multilateral financial institutions may support the shelter strategies of developing countries, for example, by way of suitably devised loan agreements that would lead to the building up of national revolving funds for shelter;

9.Requests financial institutions and creditor countries to consider, as one of the conditions for the success of the Strategy, immediate measures to reduce the external debts by their conversion into long-term loans;

10.Adopts the guidelines for steps to be taken at the national and international levels, as set out in the annex to the present resolution, in support of the guidelines for national and international action contained in the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, prepared pursuant to its resolution 42/191;

11.Calls upon all States and others in a position to do so to make generous contributions to the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation to facilitate implementation of the Strategy.

83rd plenary meeting
20 December 1988


I. Guidelines for Steps to be Taken at the National Level

A. Considerations for Governments when formulating a national shelter strategy

1. A national shelter strategy must spell out clear operational objectives for the development of shelter conditions both in terms of the construction of new housing and the upgrading and maintenance of existing housing stock and infrastructure and services.

2. In the definition of those objectives, development of shelter should be seen as a process whereby conditions are gradually improved for both men and women. The objectives need to address the scale of the problem, while the "adequate" standard aimed at should be identified on the basis of an analysis of the standards and options affordable to the target population and society at large. The objectives should be based on a comprehensive view of the magnitude and nature of the problem and of the available resource base, including the potential contribution of men and women. In addition to finance, land, manpower and institutions, building materials and technology also have to be considered irrespective of whether they are held by the public or private, formal or informal sector.

3. The objectives of the shelter sector need to be linked to the goals of overall economic policy, social policy, settlement policy and environmental policy.

4. The strategy needs to outline the action through which the objectives can be met. In an enabling strategy, actions such as the provision of infrastructure may mean the direct involvement of the public sector in shelter construction. The objective of "facilitating adequate shelter for all" also implies that direct government support should mainly be allocated to the most needy population groups.

5. The public sector is responsible for developing and implementing measures for national shelter policies and for the adoption of measures to stimulate the desired action by other sectors. This can be done through measures in areas such as the locally based small-scale building-materials industry, appropriate financial schemes or training programmes.

6. Another important component is the development of administrative, institutional and legislative tasks that are the direct responsibility of the Government, for example, land registration and regulation of construction.

7. An analysis of affordability will provide the criteria for defining the right priorities and appropriate approaches and standards for public sector involvement. Likewise, such an analysis gives the criteria for planning the indirect involvement of the public sector, that is, the type of activities to be promoted and the appropriate way of going about it.

8. The appropriate institutional framework for the implementation of a strategy must be identified, which may require much institutional reorganization. Each agency involved must have a clear understanding of its role within the overall organizational framework and of the tasks expected of it. Mechanisms for the co-ordination of inter- and intra-agency activities need to be developed. Mechanisms such as shelter coalitions are recommended and may be developed in partnership with the private and non-governmental sectors. Finally, arrangements for the continuous monitoring, review and revision of the strategy must be developed.

B. Steps to be taken by Governments when implementing a national strategy

9. Work for the preparation of the strategy must be organized. For instance, a task force may be appointed for the actual work and a steering committee ensuring high-level political commitment set up to guide its work. Alternatively it may be possible to use existing mechanisms. Equal participation of women should be ensured at all levels.

10. Needs and resources must be assessed. Estimates are required of the needs in housing construction and in upgrading and maintenance, including housing-related infrastructure, as well as of the resources that can be mobilized during the period to the year 2000 to cover those needs.

11. Shelter options and standards that are affordable by the target groups and society at large must be analysed, taking into account both the scale of need and all the resources available - finance, land, manpower and institutions, building materials and technology.

12. Objectives must be set for the construction of new housing and for the upgrading and maintenance of the existing housing stock in terms both of the scale of the activities and of the housing standards to be met.

13. Action must be identified through which those objectives can be realistically met. The estimated required resources for this action must not exceed those that can be made available by society. The action includes both direct government involvement and measures needed to encourage, facilitate and integrate active participation of other sectors in shelter delivery.

14. A plan of action must be prepared in consultation and partnership with non-governmental organizations, people and their representatives, which:

  1. Lists the activities that are the direct responsibility of the public sector;

  2. Lists the activities to be taken to facilitate and encourage the other actors to carry out their part of the task;

  3. Outlines resource allocation to the aforementioned activities;

  4. Outlines the institutional arrangements for the implementation, co-ordination, monitoring and review of the strategy;

  5. Outlines a schedule for the activities of the various agencies.

II. Guidelines for Steps to be Taken at the International Level

15. International action will be necessary to support the activities of countries in their endeavour to improve the housing situation of their poor and disadvantaged inhabitants. Such assistance should support national programmes and use know-how available locally and within the international community.

16. The goal of external assistance should be to enhance and support national capabilities to develop and implement national action components of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000.

17. Mutual co-operation and exchange of information and expertise between developing countries in human settlement work stimulate and enrich national human settlement work.

18. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) will act as the co-ordinating agency in the implementation of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, on the basis of biennial plans to be drawn up with the involvement of experts working with Governments and the Centre at the regional and subregional levels.

19. As the co-ordinating agency for the Strategy, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) will stimulate international and national action by incorporating the Strategy in its future medium-term plans and biennial work programmes.

20. An inter-agency-level working arrangement will be made within the existing budget to provide continuous co-ordination of the Strategy.

21. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) will prepare a reporting format to facilitate monitoring by the Commission on Human Settlements of progress achieved in the implementation of the Global Strategy.