The Delhi Declaration on the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Ministers Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD)

We, the Asia-Pacific Ministers responsible for housing and urban development, meeting in New Delhi, India, on 15th –16th December 2006, to consider the challenge of housing and urbanization in Asia and the Pacific;

Recognizing the urgency of the global shelter challenge as emphasized in paragraph 56(m) of the World Summit 2005 outcome document, on the need for the provision of increased resources for affordable housing and housing-related infrastructure, prioritizing slum prevention and slum upgrading, and to encourage support for the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation and its Slum Upgrading Facility;

Welcoming with satisfaction the recognition of the shelter challenge at the same level as water, energy, health and biodiversity in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) declaration and subsequent the focus by the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) on water, sanitation and human settlement, as the first entry point in implementing the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and delivering the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);

Recalling the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements held in Istanbul in 1996 and the Habitat Agenda which addressed the two themes of equal global importance: “Adequate shelter for all” and “Sustainable human settlements development”;

Recalling further the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) which recognized that the process of urbanization is intrinsic to economic and social development;

Encouraged by the successes as well as the catalytic roles other Ministerial bodies have played in their respective regions;

Noting that the Asian-Pacific Region is emerging as a major contributor to the global urban transition, holding 61 per cent of the global population and 43% of the world urban population;

Noting also that this rapid urbanization is an irreversible process that poses challenges far beyond the management capacity of governments, local authorities and other institutions, but also offers opportunities that need to be harnessed;

Aware that the region is gradually growing into a power-house of the world economy accounting for over half of the world's growth since 2001, much of which being domestically driven;

Cognizant of the fact that poverty in terms low income; poor health and education, low access to basic services, deprivation in knowledge and communications, is widespread in the Region;

Cognizant also that a sizeable segment of urban population in the Region is living in slums;

Cognizant further that the region has one of the poorest coverage in terms of sanitation among all regions;

Conscious of the linkages and the interdependencies between rural and urban areas and the importance of balanced territorial development strategies to promote synergies between towns, cities and their rural hinterlands;

Realizing that sustainable housing and urban development has a crucial bearing on the quality of life of all people in terms of their economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being;

Aware of the fact that the growing urban poverty and its increasing incidence among women require gender sensitive approaches to sustainable urban development;

Recognizing that the rich diversity in culture, tradition, language, religion and civilization in our region is the collective strength which can be used for constructive partnership for exchange and for the achievement of the common goal of sustainable housing and urban development;

Recognising further our common pursuit of social development, which aims at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries and their implications for human settlement development;

Noting that political will, decentralization, good governance and the empowerment of national and local authorities as well as the adoption of inclusive processes of decision making are fundamental to addressing the housing and urbanization challenges in the Asia and Pacific Region;

Noting further the close linkage between rural and urban areas, wherein the need to promote urban amenities in rural areas is critical for balanced development;

Noting also the special circumstances of Pacific island nations and small island states that require a different perspective in urban management and planning;

Cognizant of the Enhanced Framework of Implementation of Sustainable Urbanisation in Asia-Pacific:

  1. Express profound gratitude and appreciation to the Government of India for the efforts made in convening and hosting this inaugural conference leading to the launch of the Asia-Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD);
  2. Commend the Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) for her efforts in facilitating and jointly convening this conference with Government of India;
  3. Appreciate the contribution of participating governments and all other co-operating Partners to make this conference productive and successful;
  4. Appreciate further the contribution of participating governments and all other co-operating Partners, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);
  5. Commend further the partnership between UN-HABITAT and Asian Development Bank to bring significant new investments in Water and Sanitation together to the urban poor in the Asia - Pacific region to support the achievement of the MDGs;
  6. Appreciate also the commendable efforts made by the participating institutions that contributed effectively to the deliberations of this Ministerial Conference;
  7. Decide to establish the Asia-Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) as the consultative mechanism on the promotion of sustainable development of Housing and Urban Development in the Asia-Pacific Region;
  8. Decide that APMCHUD will, inter alia, and as guided by the Enhanced Framework of Implementation for Sustainable Urbanisation in Asia-Pacific:
    • Serve as a forum and network to discuss the urban challenge at the continental level and regional level as a basis for national, provincial and local level strategies and policies and as a focus for the discussion of the habitat agenda and the relevant Millennium Development Goals and Targets;
    • Encourage and promote the strengthening of good urban governance in Asia - Pacific and serve as a platform for advocacy of inclusive urban governance;
    • Enhance the role of gender in local government management for the development process, to be achieved by providing bigger role for women in local governance, particularly in areas related to slum eradication programmes;
    • Champion and Support Innovative Housing, Urban Development and Land Management Practices in Asia-Pacific;
    • Promote development of appropriate housing and low-cost construction technology for rural and urban housing;
    • Facilitate south-south and international exchanges of expertise, research, experience and best practices in human settlements among private sector, civil society and other stakeholders in the region;
    • Develop a better understanding of urban land dynamics that can lead to improved land tenure and to the growth of urban land markets in Asia-Pacific;
    • Provide and promote a supportive environment for informal sector activities, including street vending, within national regulatory framework;
    • Support relief and rehabilitation of shelter and human settlements development in post-conflict and post-disaster situations;
    • Urge development partners and multi-lateral agencies to assist Asia-Pacific countries on financing housing and urban infrastructure development;
    • Promote capacity building efforts and encourage strong ties between research institutions to better understand the economic, legal and financial importance of housing urban development and urban land in Asia-Pacific;
    • Encourage the collection and sharing of data and information that can improve the planning and management of urban development;
    • Promote the institutionalisation of a culture for urban planning including the preparation of urban strategic plans at both national and local levels;
    • Encourage the mobilization of domestic financial resources for housing and urban development and promote the necessary partnership for attainment of this objective;
    • Mainstream urban and other issues dealing with human settlements in the macro-economic frameworks and national budgets of Asia-Pacific governments;
    • Provide a focal point to link relevant aspects of regional strategic initiatives as well as international processes and undertakings consistent with the agenda for sustainable urbanisation;
    • Encourage partnerships with private sector for shelter , urban infrastructure and services ;
    • Undertake all other functions that will lead to the realization of the goals of the enhanced framework of implementation for housing and human settlements in Asia-Pacific adopted by this conference;
    • Explore possibilities of establishing a regional fund in the context of housing finance for the poor;
    • Encourage fast-track implementation of water and sanitation programmes to achieve the MDG’s specific targets;
    • Promote broad-based participation, taking into account the issues related to youth, women, disabled, and vulnerable groups;
    • Promote and encourage policies and programmes that are people-centric and community-based;
    • Promote a sense of urban citizenship through fostering civic responsibilities.
    • Address the negative impact of natural disasters and conflicts and the importance of social peace and harmony on the living conditions in towns and cities; and,
    • Promote integrated and sustainable rural and urban development to address the problems of urbanization.
  9. Decide further that APMCHUD will establish links with other inter-ministerial conferences working on issues related to the Habitat Agenda, including, but not limited to, matters concerning finance, water supply and sanitation, local government, land and infrastructure;
  10. Resolve that APMCHUD may initially be composed of the following organs:
    • The Biennial Ministerial Conference,
    • The Bureau, and
    • The Secretariat
  11. Resolve also that the Biennial Ministerial Conference shall be composed of Ministers responsible for Housing and Urban Development and shall normally meet after every two years to consult and review progress on the promotion of sustainable development of Human settlements in Asia-Pacific;
  12. Decide that the host and the Chair of this inaugural conference, India, shall be the first Chair of the Bureau and shall serve until the next biennial conference;
  13. Confirm that the Bureau established at this inaugural conference shall serve as the first Bureau of the Asia - Pacific Ministers Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) with its members being Ministers representing:
    • South Asia, represented by Republic of India as Chair of the Bureau, and Islamic Republic of Iran;
    • South East Asia: represented by Malaysia, and also as the Rapporteur;
    • East Asia: represented by Peoples Republic of China;
    • North and Central Asia: represented by Azerbaijan;
    • Western Asia: represented by Jordan;
    • Pacific and Oceania: represented by Papua New-Guinea;
  14. Decide that the Bureau shall be elected by the Biennial Conference of Ministers responsible for Housing and Urban Development and shall hold office until the next conference;
  15. Request the Bureau to convene within four months to identify the modalities of establishing the Secretariat and other organs. In the meantime, an interim Secretariat may be established in India as soon as possible;
  16. Request further that upon finalization of the modalities of establishment of the Secretariat and other organs, the same may be put as an Appendix to this Declaration;
  17. Resolve that APMCHUD meets every two years, preferably three months before the sessions of the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT;
  18. Request the Asia - Pacific countries and the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT to assist the Bureau in its efforts to establish the Secretariat;
  19. Call upon all co-operating partners, including ASEAN, SAARC, Pacific Islands Forum, ECO, other relevant UN agencies, the Asian Development Bank, and donors, to support APMCHUD efforts in the implementation of the measures outlined in this Declaration;
  20. Request the Asia-Pacific countries to mainstream issues of housing and urban development in countries by establishing Coordinating Committees for the sector, and giving a high prominence to the challenges of sustainable urbanisation;
  21. Recommend that the member countries of the Asia - Pacific assist the United Nations in its current efforts to revive the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation as a mechanism for promoting slum upgrading and other pro-poor housing and infrastructure finance;
  22. Request the Bureau of APMCHUD to inform the relevant regional, international and UN agencies and programmes on the creation of APMCHUD;
  23. Commit ourselves to apprise our respective Heads of States and Governments on the outcome of this conference and take appropriate actions to implement this declaration
  24. Welcome the offer by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to host the next Asia-Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing and Urban Development at a date to be communicated later.