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UNITED NATIONS HABITAT AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS FOUNDATION

311. The Governing Council considered agenda item 9 at its 37th meeting. The Council had before it the Executive Director's report on the plan and programme ,of operations for the Foundation (UNEP/GC/36).

312. Introducing the item, the Executive Director recalled that General Assembly resolution 3327 (XXIX) had established the Foundation as of 1 January 1975. He hoped the Council would reach consensus on the guidance the work of the Foundation required now that it was entering its operational phase. In response to General Assembly resolution 3327 (XXIX) and Economic and Social Council resolution 1914 (LVII), which required the Foundation to harmonize its work with the human settlements programme of UNEP, as well as with relevant activities in other parts of the United Nations system, the Foundation would develop close and collaborative working relationships with UNEP, the Centre for Housing, Building and Planning, and other organizations and programmes within the United Nations system, to ensure the effectiveness of its own operations and those of the system as a whole, and avoid duplication. He was grateful to the Centre for its co-operation.

313. The programme of operations of the Foundation, especially for the first two years, was intended to be realistic, but not overly modest. The administrative machinery for the Foundation would be established as soon as possible, and the Council should review the organizational structure of the Foundation after two years to ensure its continued success. The mandate of the proposed Advisory Board for the Foundation was to be strictly an advisory one, and the agencies concerned would be fully consulted about invitation to serve on the Board.

314. The success of the Foundation would depend on the resources made available to it by the international community. The Executive Director accordingly appealed to all Governments and other bodies to announce their pledges as only as possible.

315. The representative of Kenya, speaking on behalf of the members of the group of Seventy-seven represented in the Council, expressed satisfaction that the Executive Directors report and statement reflected so well the recommendations of the Council at its second session, which had led to General Assembly resolution 3327 (XXIX). The Foundation, which was established as an integral part of UNEP, had the capacity to become the most effective of the international bodies dealing with human settlements problems, since it was signed to ensure a comprehensive approach to settlement policy and to revise workable solutions to problems which had received too little attention in the past.

316.The activities of the Foundation should take place within the framework of national programmes for human settlements planning and development, which in turn must be an integral part of national development plans. The entire human settlements programme of each country, together with information about available resources - personal savings, investment funds and government funds - could be referred to the Foundation, which would examine the programme in the context of the national situation and the funds available, The Foundation could also offer technical assistance to countries which had not prepared human settlements programmes; it was,, though, important to be clear that a country could choose to receive financing either on a programme basis or on a project basis. The relationship between the Foundation and Governments should be elaborated, since the Executive Director's report was not clear on the subject; in the view of the Group of Seventy-seven, the responsibility for formulating and managing programmes should lie with recipient Governments. The Foundation's assistance to Governments might take the form of grants or loans, or a combination of both, and it could either make funds available from its own sources, or obtain funds from elsewhere. The mechanics for funding should remain flexible; a revolving fund would be needed.

317. In the view of the Group of Seventy-seven, the following points needed emphasis:

(a) The first concern must be for those most in need in each country;

(b) The Foundation should devote its resources to programmes and projects that would meet the over-all objectives of UNEP;

(c) Technical assistance and research should be funded by grants;

(d) The Foundation should encourage the development and use of local technology and materials;

(e) The Foundation should assist the exchange of ideas on developing life-styles suited to various communities, and on innovation and adaptation of construction techniques;

(f) The staffing of the Foundation should relate to its functions.

318. The members of the Group of Seventy-seven represented in the Council believed that it was time for all countries to contribute to the resources of the Foundation and that public opinion should be mobilized in its favour. They endorsed the Executive Director's request that the Governing Council approve the plan and programme of operations for the Foundation; the Executive Director should be authorized to proceed with their implementation forthwith, taking into account the views expressed in the statement made on behalf of the Group of Seventy-seven.

319. A number of delegations, speaking on their own behalf or on behalf of regional groups, reaffirmed their support for the statement made by the representative of Kenya on behalf of the Group of Seventy-seven.

320. Most of the delegations participating in the debate said that the Foundation should become operational immediately. Several representatives noted with satisfaction the Executive Director's determination that the Foundation would co-operate with other parts of the United Nations system, and particular importance was attached to its close working relationships with the Centre for Housing, Building and Planning.

321. The delegation of China drew attention to the possible operational links between the Foundation and IBRD and demanded the expulsion of the Chiang clique e from membership of the Bank.

322. The international nature of the Foundation was emphasized. One delegation said developed countries should sponsor the Foundation, while another, from a developing country, considered that developing countries, especially those with excess liquidity, should also contribute to its finances. Some developing countries pointed out that the Foundation could also help developed countries in dealing with their human settlements problems.

323. A number of representatives said their Governments would co-operate in all ways with the Foundation in attaining its goals. The representative of Iraq expressed his Government's willingness to act as host for the Foundation's headquarters. Some countries indicated that they would communicate to the Executive Director in the very near future their financial contribution to the Foundation.

Action by the Governing Council

324. At the Council's 37th meeting, the President submitted a draft decision introduced by the representative of Kenya on behalf of the Group of Seventy-seven.

325. The Governing Council adopted the draft decision by consensus (decision 38 (III)). 28/