The giant United Nations Habitat Conference on housing and human needs was torn apart by international politics at its closing session on Friday night (11 June).
The giant United Nations Habitat Conference on housing and human needs was torn apart by international politics at its closing session on Friday night (11 June). The conference was unable to reach unanimous agreement on a final declaration. In the end, a declaration was carried by just over a two-thirds majority. Zambia's delegate expressed regret at the lack of unanimity.
SYNOPSIS: When the Iraqi delegate spoke, he focused on the question that divided the conference. The delegate, Dr. Rasheed Riffai, stressed that the conference must address itself to the Palestinian question. The issue was regarded as being anti-Israel and therefore extraneous to the declaration. Western nations rejected the declaration which was intended to crown the 134-nation conference.
Henrique Penalosa of Colombia made reference to one of the few issues which was not completely overshadowed by politics. It was Habitat's commitment to insure clean water supplies on a worldwide basis by 1990, thus helping to avert the 25,000 deaths attributed to contaminated water every day. What will now be known as the Vancouver Declaration calls on governments to provide water and housing for the world's poor and to curb land profiteering and urban sprawl in developed countries.