Resources for:
  Governments
  Scientists
  Journalists
  Civil Society
  Business Persons
  Children and Youth

Thematic Areas


 
 Printable Version
 

A - Progress report on the implementation of the plan and programme of operations of the foundation

progressed report on the implementation of the plan and programme of operations of the foundation

324. The governing council considered agenda item 9 (a) at the 8th meeting of the session, on 12 May 1978. The council I had before it the report of the Executive Director on progress made in the implementations of the plan and programme of operations of the United Nations habitat and human settlement foundation (UNEP/GC/6/10).

325. The executive director, in brief introductory statement, announced that, in its debate on financial and budgetary matters and administrative arrangements of the foundation, sessional committee II would consider recommending an extension of the foundation for a certain period of time. The most important element of the report before the council related to the establishment by general assembly resolution 32/162 of the commission on human settlements and habitat, cenre for human settlements. He drew particular attention to the general Assembly’s decision that there should be close links between the centre and UNEP and that accordingly the centre would be located at Nairobi.

326. The charman of the commissionof human settleents said that, whle he ws not speaking formally on behalf ot he commission, he felt it was essentail to give thegoverning council a grief account of its first session. The establishment of the commission ws an approprate United Naions conference on human settlements among countries as different states of development and with different socio-economic systems.

327. The commission faced four main difficulties: (a) according to general Assembly resolution 32/162, the Habitat centre was to be composed of staff and other resources from various secretriat units at present scattered in three different places (nairobi, new york and vancouver); (b) the work programmes on which the different secreriat units were currently enganged had not yet been co-ordinated and harmonized; (c) according to resolution 32/162, theentire united Naions programme in the field of human settlements should be, as gar as possible, decentralized to the regional commissions, together with related manpower and other resources; (d) all that should be done without any increase in the regular budget; allocations for United Nations activities in the field of human settlements. Consequently, a major effort was required to raise extrabudgetary funds, it was difficult to do so do until Governments knew exactly for what purpose the funds were to be used and how the various programmes were to be integrated and co-ordinated.

328. The commission had noted with regret that the Executive Director of the Habitat Centre had yet been appointed, but welcomed the assurances of the Secretary-General that the appointment would be announced shortly. The commission had requested the Executive Director, once appointed, to conduct a survey of existing resources for United Nations activities in the field of human settlements and to draw up a fully integrataed can costed progrmme based on the principle of gradual regionalization. To that end, it had recommended that the Executive Director of the Centre should meet the Executive Director should meet the executive secretaries of the regional commissions to discuss their work programme their work programme and priorities in the field of human settlements and to agree on mutually acceptable criteria and arrangements for the deployment of resources to the regional secretariat units.

329. The deliberations of the Commission at its session had taken place in constructive and co-operative spirit. The task before the Commission and the Centre would require the mobilization of resources on a gigantic scale. Measures were need to ensure the proper deployment and distribution of available resources, and the redlease and encouragement of the needed human capacity. If Governments and people could mobilize the political will can commitment to forceful action, the task could be seccefully undertaken.

330. Moreover, the Commission would be able to live up to the great expectations placed on it only with co-operative support of other United Nations organizations. The drole of UNEP in that context was of extraordinary importance. \he was therefore deeply grateful to the Executive Director of UNEP for his goodwill and co-operative attitude, which augured well for the symbolitic relationship that must be developed between the two secretariats at Nairobi.

331. Delegations which spoke on the item generally welcomed the end of the long period uncertainty regarding institutional arrangements, and hoped that the global problems of human settlements would infuse new life into the Foundation. The fact, however, that the Executive Director of the Habitat Centre had not yet been appointed gave reason for concern. \one representatiive pointed out that over four weeks had passed since the Secretary-General’s assuarances that the Executive Director of the Centre would be appointed shortly. His delegation had had no indication of any action by the secretary General in that respect, and found that situation less than satisfactory. Another delegation added that what the Centre did would largely depend on the personal qulities of its Executive Director and the ideas he brought to his post. No more valuable time could or should be lost on the matter, and it was hoped that a firm decision would be taken promptly.

332. One delegation pointed out what the sooner the Centre became opetrational, the better would be the Foundation’s chances of achieving greater visibility and appeal by establishing as soon as possible an imaginative demonstration project which would clearly proclaim its message, especially to the developing counties.

333. Another delegation noted the special importance, inter alia as a means of attracting financial support, of basing Foundation'’ operations to a high degree on the recommendations of the Habitat Conference regarding the social condition from the UNEP Fund to the Foundation would be necessary; such a contribution should be limited to the cost of one year’s operation. The Executive Director’s proposal that the GoverninG Council decide to cover the programme support costs for the Foundation for the whole of 1978 was welcome. The Fund should, in a context of close co-operation between UNEP and the Habitat Centre, continue to allocate a substantial settlements, as long as those programmes could not be funded from other sources. Another delegation, also endorsing the decision to guarantee the financial support for the Foundation until the end of 1978, stressed that the Foundation should be enabled to maintain the flow of its operations. \one delegation said that the extension of support for the Foundation should run until \june 1979. Another delegation, while recognizing that ongoing activities could not be cut short, said that from 1 January 1979 the funds allocated to the subject area of human Settlements should be redistributed and new programme priorities establushed.

334. One representative remarked that the close links envisaged between the commission on Human Settlement and the Governing Council. It could well be that many individuals would represent their Governing council. It could well be that many individual would represent their Governments on both governing bodies. It might therefore be necessary to look again at the question of the commission. After five years of operation UNEP had established a sufficiently stable policy basis and developed sufficient momentum to be able to proceed without the need for annual reviews of its work and policies. His delegation would therefore favour blenial sessions of the Governing Council. \however, in view of the huge backlog of work it had to perform the commission would initially need to meet annually.

335. Another representative also addresses the implications of resolution 32/162 for the work of UNEP. While agreeing with the Executive Director that UNEP could now concentrate on the environmental aspects of human settlements, he would wondered how that was going to be done. The Executive Director had indicated that a revision of objectives and strategies in the subject area Human Settlements would be submitted to the Council in the subject area of Human Settlements would be submitted to the at its seventh session. His delegation would have welcomed at the current session a clearer pictur of the Executive Director’s intentions. Regarding the administrative impact of the resolution on UNEP and the Habitat Centre should not be pursued.

336. One representative, referring to paragraph 8 (e) of document UNEP/G/C. 6/10 regarding region secretariat units, said that his delegation and those of the EEC countries would be opposed the establishment of regional offices of the habitat centre in all parts of the world. Existing united nations machinery could be used for regional activities, and the component organs should bear that option in mind. Another representative stated that resolution 32/162 implied that available resources should be redistributed and new priorities defined.

The representative of the centre for housing, building and planning reported that the commission, at its first session, had expressed the view that at the global and interregional levels the centre’s programme should include research and methodology activities, the promotion and dissemination of information, as well as assistance required for field activities. At the regional level, the programmes would be formulated by the regional commissions taking into account national, regional and sub-regional priorities. The commission had considered the factors which should be taken into account in the selection, approval and evaluation the programmes. It had provided useful guidance and direction for the future activities of the centre and requested a number of substantive reports to be prepared for its second session to be held at Nairobi for two weeks in 1979.

338. Responding to points raised during the debate, the executive director emphasized that responsibility for the foundation was being transferred at a time when the foundation was in a good position to discharge its commitments and responsibilities, both administrative and substantive. As to the absence of a set of revised objectives and strategies in the subject settlements, he had not so far been in a position to recommend the necessary changes. However, the proposed joint meeting of the bureaux of the Governing council of UNEP and the commission of human settlements would facilitate that matter.

Action by the governing council.

339. At the 8th plenary meeting of the session, on 12 May 1978, the Governing council took note of the executive director’s progress report the implementation of the plan and programme of operations f the foundation (decisio6/12/A), 69/

B. financial and budgetary matters and administrative arrangements.

340. Agenda item 9 (b) was assigned to sessional committee II. In discussion the item, which was introduced by the administrator of the foundation the committee had before it documents UNEP/GC.6/L.7.

_____

69/idem.

341. some delegations questioned whether, in view of General Assembly resolution 32/162, which established the commision on human settlements as the competent intergovernmental body to consider human settlements matters pertaining to the foundation.

342. The administrator explained that the first session of the commision, being of an organizational nature, had not considered budgetary matters, it was also pointed out that the budget was not presented to the commission because the secretary-general felt that it should consider a combined budget for habitat, centre for Human settlements together with the views of ACABQ thereon. It was however noted by some delegations that since an executive director of or the Habitat centre had not been appointed, a budget for the centre could not have been prepared.

343. The administrator drew attention to the fact that, in the absence of a decision on the appointment, the secretary-general had suggested that the governing council of UNEP might consider extending the authority given in its decision 94 (V), to cover the period to 31 December 1978.

344. Several delegations expressed disappointment that the executive director had not been appointed, and urged that the appointment should be made in the near future.

345. One delegation expressed satisfaction with the way in which the administrator of the foundation had carried out decision 94 (v), particularly the latter part of paragraph 3, and expressed the view that the financial accountability for the programme support cost should henceforth be formally vested with the administrator of the foundation until such time as the executive director was appointed.

346. One delegation stressed that UNEP should continue to give administrative support to the foundation, although that did not imply that additional funds from the programme support budget of the fund of UNEP should be used for programme support of the foundation. It was further stated that the human settlements programmes of UNEP should be developed in close co-operation and consultation with the executive director of UNEP should report on that co-operative effort to the council at its seventh session.

347. The delegation of the Philippines announce that since the uncertainties regarding institutional arrangement for human settlements within the united nations system were now resolved, its government had decided to make a payment of $250, 000 as a first installment against its previous pledge of $1 million. The representative of Iraq announced his Government’s pledge of $10,000 and the representative of Zaire announced his government’s pledge of $32,000.

348. At the conclusion of the debate on item 9 (b), the committee recommended for adoption by the governing council a draft decision on budgetary matters and administrative arrangements for the foundation.

Action by the governing council

349. At the 14th plenary meeting of the session, on 24 May 1978, the governing council adopted by consensus the draft decision recommended by sessional committee II (decision 6/12B), 70/

____

70/ idem.