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PROGRAM 6: HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

129. Introducing the programme on human settlements, the Assistant Executive Director stated that co-ordination and co-operation with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) had a high priority; this was reflected in the joint UNEP/Habitat report on co-operation. A set of environmental guidelines for settlement planning and management had been published and it was now up to Governments to arrange for their implementation. In this respect, UNEP and Habitat could make only limited progress in certain metropolitan areas. The Assistant Executive Director noted that the low priority given to the subprogramme on natural and man-made disasters was a result of Governing Council decision 1117, on Which the Council might now choose to give fresh guidance.130. One representative commanded the workplan, especially as It related to

coastal settlements and climate change.

131. Some representatives urged that the budget allocation to the programme be increased, particularly to the section on community preparedness for natural and man-made disasters. They suggested placing more emphasis on training people to prepare for natural disasters and to cope with their after-effects.

132. Some representatives emphasized the need for the program ~ to reflect the resolutions on human settlements and sustainable development adopted at the twelfth session of the Commission on Human Settlements held in Cartagena, Colombia, earlier in 1989.

133. One representative, while supporting the co-operation between UREP and Habitat and endorsing their proposed joint work programme, suggested that specific attention should be given to the further development of an environmental approach to settlements planning and management, to the provision of technical guidance on water supply and environmental sanitation, and to waste management. He also suggested that the guidelines jointly prepared by UNEP and WHO on health aspects of human settlements should be widely distributed.

134. One representative stressed the Importance of urban utilities, especially low-cost water treatment, and the need for environmentally sound handling of solid waste and waste water.

135. Another representative argued that the problems of pastoral nomadism should be included in the subprograme on human settlements. Nomadism was a traditional technology for the utilization of marginal land that otherwise would remain unused and therefore the establishment of permanent settlements for nomads was not appropriate, either socially or environmentally; there was a need to find acceptable solutions that would preserve their traditional way of life. He also indicated his country's willingness to support such work financially, should a suitable project be proposed.

136. One representative stated that there was a need to focus on the problem of transport in urban settlements, which affected air quality and had an important bearing on policies of urban and rural settlement.

137. The observer for UNESCO expressed the need for continued co-operation between his organization and UREP in both human settlements and in preparing for natural disasters. His organization, notably Its Man and the Biosphere programme, had an important part to play, especially in regard to the problems of large cities.