C. Recognizing gaps and obstacles

17. Take note with great concern of the current conditions of human settlements worldwide, especially as documented in the third Global Report on Human Settlements 2001. Although Governments and their Habitat Agenda partners have continued efforts to fulfil their commitments, widespread poverty remains the core obstacle and environmental conditions need significant improvement in many countries. Critically, the majority of people living in poverty still lack legal security of tenure for their dwellings, while others lack even basic shelter. Thus, serious impediments to sustainable human settlements development still persist;

18. Note with concern that one of the basic obstacles to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda is the discrepancy between commitments made at Istanbul and the political will to fulfil them. We also acknowledge the gaps in both public information and awareness-raising as impediments;

19. Recognize that serious financial constraints give rise to acute problems of adequate shelter, housing and human settlements in countries that receive an influx of refugees resulting from ongoing conflicts, human-made and natural disasters and other calamities taking place in neighbouring countries;

20. Acknowledge the gaps in shelter and urban policies that have limited the opportunities for participation and partnership and have made it difficult to convert best practices into good policies. We are also deeply concerned that many women still do not participate fully on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, while at the same time suffering to a greater extent the effects of poverty;

21. Also acknowledge the fact that the urbanization process in the world has resulted in metropolitan concentrations that extend over the administrative boundaries of the original cities, expand over two or more administrative units, have local authorities with different capacities and priorities and suffer an absence of coordination;

22. Recognize major obstacles that prevent the efficient functioning of land and housing markets to ensure an adequate supply of shelter. Actions recommended in paragraph 76 of the Habitat Agenda3 have not been fully implemented;

23. Have identified considerable obstacles associated with limited economic, technological and institutional capacities at all levels of government, particularly in the developing and the least developed countries. We recognize the absence of comprehensive and inclusive policies for capacity-building institutions and their networking;

24. Have also identified economic policies and financial market constraints at all levels that have prevented the mobilization of adequate resources to meet many countries’ sustainable human settlements needs;

25. Recognize that domestic resource mobilization as well as sound national policies are crucial for financing shelter and human settlements. Although Governments have the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, international support is likewise essential. We regret that international cooperation in shelter and human settlements development has not been enhanced significantly since 1996, which is a growing cause for concern. We also regret that many countries have been unable to make sufficient use of market mechanisms in support of their financial needs for shelter and human settlements development;

26. Recognize that there is unequal access to information and communication technologies, particularly in the developing countries, which has resulted in the inability of Governments and Habitat Agenda partners to make the best use of this resource in implementing the Habitat Agenda;

27. Further resolve to take concerted action against international terrorism, which causes serious obstacles to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda;

28. Recognize that the consequences of these gaps and obstacles are serious: for the first time in human history a majority of the world’s six billion people will live in cities. Many people have experienced a deterioration, not an improvement, in their living environment. The gaps and obstacles encountered in the past five years have slowed down global progress towards sustainable human settlements development. It is essential that actions are taken to ensure that the Habitat Agenda is now translated into policy and into practice in every country;

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