E. Public participation
(Agenda item 10 (e))
- Participation is an integral part of the political processes of decision-making; in a field as complex as human settlements, it is also a necessity because the task is too great for Governments to accomplish without mobilizing the interest of inhabitants, using their ingenuity and skills and harnessing otherwise untapped resources.
- Public participation is the dynamic incorporation of the people in the economic, social and political life of a country, which would ensure that the beneficiary is an effective participant in collective decisions with regard to the common good.
- A co-operative effort of the people and their Government is a prerequisite for effective action on human settlements. The magnitude and intractability of the problems are too great for Governments to act alone. Citizen participation should be an integral part of the decision-making processes on the full range of human settlements issued. Citizens must be provided opportunities for direct involvement in the decisions profoundly affect their lives. Such participation can heighten citizen awareness of the complexity and interrelatedness of the problems and the urgent need for concerted action. Involvement of citizens can also be an important means of making creative use of their ingenuity and skills, thus making effective use of often untapped resources.
- Participation can be conceived, form the top downwards, as the involvement of the higher echelons of government in the decision-making of smaller groups; laterally, as the co-operation between parallel or competing sectoral interests; or, from the base upwards, as the direct involvement of residents in the making of decisions and implementation of programmes which concern them. First two forms of participation are the basis of strategies, planning procedures, implementation of programmes and, in general, management of human settlements: the last, under the label of popular participation, is becoming an indispensable element of a truly democratic process.
- Every effort must be made to remove barriers which preclude active participation by women in the planning, design, and execution of all aspects of human settlements and at all levels of government.
- Public participation is an integral process and therefore it should not be divided into partial participation as this would lead to the current general conception of participation as a way of cheap local labour, or as a mechanism for the solution of partial problems at he local level.
- Citizen participation, by definition, cannot be achieved by fiat. But it can be facilitated by removal of political and institutional obstacles and by providing opportunities for early and continuing involvement in the selection of a alternatives. The inaccessibility of information and the absence of appropriate mechanisms for the expression of alternative views are often major stumbling blocks for effective involvement of citizens in shaping their future.
- The basis of public participation is the incorporation of the population into the production, consumption and distribution of goods in a country.
- Public participation implies not only efforts to convey information, but also a very important effort of education and formation to allow both specialist and public participation to play a determining role in evaluating the economic, technical and administrative consequences of the measures under consideration.
Role of public participation
- Meeting basic human needs and improving the quality of life in human settlements requires critical choices in the allocation of scarce resources, the utilization of available resources and the harnessing of new ones; this process cannot be effective without the active involvement of the people affected by such decisions.
- PUBLIC PARTCIPATION SHOULD BE AN INDISPENSABLE ELEMENT IN HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, ESPECIALLY IN PLANNING STRATEGIES AND IN THEIR FORMULATION, IMPLEMENTAITON AND MANAGEMENT; IT SHOULD INFLUENCE ALL LEVELS OF GOVENRMENT IN THE DECION-MAKING PROCESS TO FURTHER THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC GROWTH OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS.
- Particular attention should be paid to:
- Strengthening the role of the population, men and women, in taking decisions affecting all aspects of the development of human settlements;
- The definition of the role of public participation as a means of mobilizing untapped human resources and improving the effectiveness oft those already operative;
- The involvement of people at all levels of activity in resolving their conflicts;
- The advance public disclosure of strategies, plans and programmes for public discussion should be made at the early planning stages before major commitments to the projects have been made.
Participation in the planning process
- To obtain a democratic process with maximum participation, special attention shelled be paid to the organization of planning and the implementation of plans.
- THE PLANNING PROCESS MUST BE DESIGNED TO ALLOW FOR MAXIM PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.
- This can be achieved by:
- Devoting more interest to the drafting of documentation for decision-making in order to make it more intelligible to laymen, e.g. by abundant illustration, by describing the problems connected with different alternatives and by using a language which laymen can understand;
- Dividing the planning process into stages showing when important decisions should be taken and by taking special measures to involve a wide rage of citizens;
- Helping public officials in every possible way to fulfil their important task of acting as a communication link between authorities and the citizens, e.g by preparing discussion material, arranging public meetings, visiting schools and holding press conferences, etc.
- Seeking the participation of women in the conception of shelter, infrastructure and services and in the provision of transportation and access to community services.
- Public participation does not mean simply the mobilization of people to implement the independent decisions of governments and professionals; participation requires listening and response in both directions.
- TO BE EFFECTIVE, PUBLIC PARTICIPATION REQUIRES THE FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION AMONG ALL PARTIES CONCERNED AND SHOULD BE BASED ON MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING, TRUST AND EDUCATION.
- This may be achieved through:
- Legislation to stimulate public participation and to provide wide accessibility to public information;
- Allocation of resources for the development of skills within the community to render participation progressively more effective;
- Information and possibly legal aid services to inform the citizen of legal rights and duties in relation to human settlement issues as well as to provide legal assistance:
- Appeal and arbitration bodies to reconcile public interest and individual rights;
- Wide use of mass media to provide a forum for citizen participation and public debate;
- Submission of all major planning decisions to appropriate processes of public inquiry, with particular emphasis on the rights of the least privileged sectors of the population;
- Involving specially trained personnel social and community work in the field and community works in the field of human settlements.
- Public participation is a right that must be accorded to al segments of population, including the most disadvantaged groups.
- PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SHULD INTEGRATE THE VARIOUS SETORS OF THE POPULATION INCLUDING THOSE THAT TRADITIONALLY HAVE NOT PARTICIPAED EITEHR IN THE PLANNING OR IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES.
- Particular attention should be paid to:
- Expanding and strengthening the role of community organizations, voluntary groups, workers' organizations, tenants and neighbourhood organizations;
- Assisting in the formation of non-governmental organizations devoted especially to human settlement issues and encouraging the existing ones to focus their programmes on such issues;
- Securing the active involvement of groups whose participation is normally limited;
- Adopting procedure which would facilitate the active participation of youth, the handicapped and the elderly.
New forms of participation
- Of all human endeavours, public participation is the one which can least afford to be isolated from current trends and changes in society, in so far as these effect the relationships between the governing and the governed, the professional and the laymen, the strong and the weak.
- PUBLIC PARTICIPATION MUST RESPOND TO BOTH NEWLY EMERGING NEEDS OF SOCIETY AND TO EXISTIN GSOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL NEEDS. THE PEOPLE AND THEIR GOVERNMENTS SHOULD ESTABLLISH MECHANISMS FOR PULULAR PARTICIAPTION THAT CONTRIBUTE TO DEVELOPING AWARENESS OF PEOPLES ROLE IN TRANSFORMING SOCIETY.
- Areas for special attention include:
- Establishment, especially in rapidly expanding urban areas, of effective channels of communication between the people and all levels of government, as well as mechanisms for enabling people to attain full control and influence in the formulation and implementation of policy for the development of human settlements;
- Establishment in large and medium-sized cities of neighborhood councils capable of increasing public participation in city management;
- Encouragement of the formation of farmers' and landless labourers' organizations, in the rural areas, in order to improve their condition;
- Recognition of the changing role of women in society and encouragement of their full participation in development;
- Public accountability required of large corporations;
- Public interest research and public interest law;
- Active encouragement and support of all members of the public, to acquire the confidence and skills which will ensure their participation at all levels of human settlement planning.
- Public participation is a human right, a political duty and an instrument essential for national development, especially under conditions of resource scarcity; unless their participation is encouraged by the appropriate political, economic and social institutions, people cannot identify with the decisions which affect their daily lives.
- PUBLIC PARTICIATION ELICIED ON A SCALE COMMENSURATE WITH PROBLEMS OF HUMAN SETTLEMNTS, SHOULD INFLUENCE ALL DECISIONS CONCERNING MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND SHUL DFOCUS ON THE APPLIAION OF RESOURCES TO IMPROVEMENT OF THE STANDARD OF LIVING AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE.
- Efforts should be directed in particular to:
- Assessing felt needs and priorities as a necessary prerequisite for settlement plans and programmes;
- Promote actions, which motivate people to decide and act for themselves with the appropriate support of Governments. Self-help projects in which the population has a concrete part in the implementation of plans should have the support of Governments;
- Defining what the people can decide and do better for themselves and determining the area of government action accordingly;
- Decentralizing planning institutions and implementation machinery and especially management operations to the maximum possible extent, to enable local communities to identify their own needs and fields of action;
- Making large-scale public participation a continuing feature of the political process with respect to issues concerning human settlements;
- Mechanisms to promote participation by the people in production, distribution, and consumption, and programmes for employment, job training, and distribution of consumer goods;
- Utilize popular participation for housing construction to facilitate adequate accommodation to all citizens.
F. Institutions and management
(Agenda item 10 (f))
- Policies, strategies, plans and programmes cannot be elaborated or implemented without appropriate instruments. In the field of human settlements, these take the form of political, administrative or technical institutions, enabling legislation and regulatory instruments, and formal procedures for the harnessing of resources, in particular human capacities.
- New institutions on human settlements must be designed to play a variety of roles in development: important among these is that of promoting new concepts and providing leadership in unfamiliar areas. Institutions must also be responsive to change, capable of changing themselves and suitable for promoting change by others.
- Because of their territorial coverage, complexity and relative permanence, human settlements require a very diversified system of institutions. Some operations are better managed on a very small sale, to benefit from the full participation and involvement of residents; others draw unquestionable benefits from the economy and efficiency of scale. Especially in large and complex metropolitan areas, the search for more appropriate institutions must be a continuous one, with a view to achieving a satisfactory balance between effective government and accountability to the governed.
- In political system where responsibilities and resources are shared amongst different levels of government and governmental agencies, joint consultation on matters of common concern is essential to achieve national settlement goals and objectives.
- Institutions are ineffectual unless they are given access to and control over the resources necessary for operation. The increasing gap between the mandate of many human settlement institutions and the resources effectively place at their disposal is one of the principal causes for the widespread crisis in urban management, in industrialized and developing countries alike.
- This is particularly true of institutions catering to the capital and recurrent budget needs of human settlments which have very special requirements such as long-term investment and low yield, and which, if inappropriately or insufficiently funded, become the main obstacle to implementing otherwise well intended policies.
- The implementation of new programmes may require new enabling legislation; but legislative changes are a laborious process, which follows the expressed needs of society, often only with long delay. The same applies to regulations and by-laws - for instance in planning, building and safety - many of which are outdated or altogether irrelevant to the basic present-day needs of the population.
- Similarly the training and practices of the professions involved in human settlements planning need continual review. In the third world, the problems of the professions are aggravated in so far as they may be unduly influenced by the concepts and practices in industrialized countries, and fairly to adequately reflect the realities and needs of their own societies.
- In the last resort, the most valuable resource of all is human beings; the channelling of human initiative and the management of human skills for the achievement of the goals of national planning is a task which has received insufficient attention so far, both at national and local levels.
Recommendation F. 1
- The formulation of effective human settlement policies and strategies requires policies and strategies requires consultation, negotiation and decision at all levels. This will facilitate their implementation, nation-wide focus and authority.
- THERE MUST BE INSTITUIONS AT NATIONAL MINISTERIAL, AND OTHER APPROPRIATE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT RESPONSSIBLE FOR THE FORMULATION A DIMPLEMENTATION OF SETTLEMENT POLICIES AND STRATEGIES FOR NATINAL, REGIONAL AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT.
- The principal features of such institutions are:
- A distinct identity relating to the priority assigned to human settlements in development plans;
- Leadership of other institutions and public at large on settlements matters;
- Executive responsibility for settlement programmes;
- Formal consultation with other settlement institutions;
- Develop and use spatial budgeting techniques to guide co-ordination and approval of government investment programmes;
- Responsibility for evaluation, monitoring and feed-back on settlement policies, strategies and programmes;
- Obtain an adequate share of budgetary and other resources to perform its mandate effectively.
Co-ordination of physical and economic planning institutions
- Even when economic development planning covers the principal sectors of the economy, it frequently neglects the spatial dimension implicit in human settlement issues. This is partly the result of conceptual difficulties and partly the inertia of existing institutions.
- INSTITUIONS FOR HUMAN SETTLEMNTS SHOULD BE CO-ORDINATED WITH THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PLANS AND POLICIES, AND INTERRELATED ON A MULTIDISCIPLINARY BASIS.
- This can be achieve by:
- Establishing appropriate co-ordination between national government departments as well as between the different levels of government where appropriate;
- Ensuring adequate representation of the needs and aspirations of inhabitants in human settlements on the principal policy-making bodies;
- Introducing orientation, refresher and in-service training courses for officials whose decisions bear on settlements.
- Many settlement institutions have outlived their original purpose and are often not relevant to community needs and changing social patterns. Legislation, administrative procedures and fiscal arrangements are often outmoded; functions and territorial boundaries have changed; jurisdictions are fragmented; and institutional structures are excessively cumbersome. Such deficiencies are a major obstacle to effective settlement policies and their implementation.
- INSTITUIONS DEALING WITH HUMAN SETLEMENTS SHOULD ADAPT TO CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES.
- In particular:
- Means should be established to provide for the continuous review of settlement institutions to ensure that they are responsive to community needs and opportunities;
- Institutions dealing with basic infrastructure and public services should be reorganized as necessary to fulfil their function;
- Institutions should be assigned a geographical coverage commensurate with the nature of the service provided the technology of that service, and the changing nature of relationships and interruptions between different parts of the national territory;
- Institutions should receive appropriate resources reflecting the nature of the service provided and its wider implications;
- Institutions should evolve and adapt to new organizational and procedural forms, enter into co-operative and collaborative arrangements with other organizations, public and private, and explore innovative approaches.
The role of special institutions
- New institutions are sometimes necessary when those existing are incapable of handling special settlement problems. The tendency of institutions to perpetuate themselves, or for unwarranted new ones, can lead over the long term to a redundant cumbersome and self-perpetuating bureaucracy.
- INSTITUTIONS ESPECIALLY ESTABLISHED TO SOLVE SHORT-TERM SETTLEMENT PROBLEMS SHOULD NOT OUTLIVE THEIR ORIGIANL PRUPOSE.
- This may be achieved by:
- Transferring functions to permanent institutions in preplanned stages;
- Establishing the life span of the institutions concerned in initial organizational and budgetary instruments;
- Appropriation of additional funds only after careful review of functions;
- Establishing special training programmes to enable participating communities to assume gradually organizational responsibility.
Institutional incentives to participation
- Human settlement institutions will be more effective if means are provided for maximum public participation in the decision-making process in all polices and programmes.
- INSTITUTIONS SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE AND FACILITATE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS AT ALL LEVELS.
- This may be achieved by:
- Decentralizing administration and management at the national, regional and local levels, consistent with effective policy formulation and planning and the efficient use of available professional human resources;
- Providing for built-in machinery for consultation between various types of institutions at different levels;
- Requires public accountability of institutions;
- Facilitating dialogue between elected officials, administrative bodies and professionals.
Management of settlements
- Too often, conditions in human settlements deteriorate rapidly. Among other things, this results from poor management, and under-utilization of existing resources, facilities and infrastructure. Such deficiencies are avoidable.
- SETTLEMENTS MUST BE IMRPOVED BY RESPONSIVE AND IMAGINATIVE MANAGEMENT OF ALL RESOURCES.
- This should be done by:
- Establishing clearly the management responsibilities of national, regional and local government;
- Management within a framework of social goals;
- Preventing speculation on people's basic needs and aspirations;
- Preserving unique cultural and social heritages;
- Government efforts to maintain or restore settlements and their facilities for general public welfare;
- Providing information and incentives for inhabitants to maintain and improve their dwellings and surroundings.
- In most countries, the lack of adequate knowledge, skills and professional resources is a serious constraint on the implementation of human settlement policies and programmes.
- THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESEARCH CAPABILITIES, AND THE ACQUISITION AND DISSEMINAITON OF KNOWLEDGE AND INFORAMTION ON SETTLEMENTS, SHOULD RECEIVE HIGH PRIORITY AS AN INTERGRAL PART OF THE SETTLEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS.
- Special emphasis must be place on:
- National research and development institutions that are specifically geared to finding better solutions to settlement problems, within regional and international networks;
- Projects that demonstrate the innovative use of indigenous human resources, materials and technology;
- Training national personnel at all levels, with emphasis on mangers and middle level personnel, especially by practical on-the-job-training;
- Exchange of relevant information expressed in terms meaningful to those likely to need it.
- The development of human settlements demand special financial requirements. These are not always met due to speculation, rapid inflation and lack of appropriate means and institutions.
- SEPARATE FINANCIAL INSTITUIONS AND ADEQUATE MEANS ARE NECESSARY TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF HUMAN SETTLEMENT.
- Special attention should be directed to:
- Ensuring that public and private investors and purchasers, especially the least advantaged, are protected from the damaging effects of monetary inflation through monetary and other means;
- Encouraging joint ventures between public and private capital, with adequate safeguards for the public interest;
- Selectively using public funds, to give priority to areas where private investment is unlikely;
- Utilizing fully the multiplying effect of public loan and mortgage guarantees;
- Removing institutional obstacles to financing the needs of the poor;
- Encouraging community schemes, and other co-operative financial arrangements;
- Adopting fiscal measures and pricing policies to reduce disparities between high and low income groups;
- Ensuring that systems for financing financial community infrastructure result in an equitable distribution of costs within and between communities;
- Encouraging special national savings institutions to support mortgage financing for low income groups;
- Innovative fiscal measures to make development self-financing.
Reaching the people
- Programmes designed to assist less developed regions and less privileged groups often fail to achieve their intended objectives for various reasons: cumbersome administrative procedures; inadequate information, lack of awareness of intended beneficiaries or unrealistic requirements.
- INSITUTIONS AND PROCEDURES SHOULD BE STREAMLINED TO ENSURE THAT INTENDED BENEFICIARIES RECEIVE THE LARGEST POSSIBLE SHARE OF RESOURCES AND BENEFITS.
- Special emphasis should be place on:
- Adopting open decision-making and public accountability for use of funds;
- Instituting greater local control in the management and administration of settlements;
- Minimizing bureaucracies and overhead costs;
- Removing the role of intermediaries in citizen involvement.
Settlement laws and regulations
- Existing laws and regulations for human settlements are often complex, rigid and dominated by vested interests. They thus tend to obstruct reform and hinder progress.
- ANY FRAMEWORK FOR SETTLEMENT LEGISLATION MUST ESTABLISH CLEAR AND REALISTIC DIRECTION AND MEANS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICIES.
- Special attention should be placed on:
- Promulgation of special legislation for the implementation of settlement policies;
- Laws and regulations to achieve specific settlement objectives, service community interest and safeguard individual rights against arbitrary decisions;
- Laws and regulations that are realistic and easily understood, efficiently applied, adapted and revised periodically to correspond to changing needs of society.