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Call for participation

From: Gabriele Quinti
Category: Category 1
Date: 28 Feb 2000
Time: 20:00:27
Remote Name:


December 1999

Dear colleague,

the FRHS is launching an Electronic Conference focusing on the role of researchers for the implementation, the improvement and the reviewing of the Habitat Agenda in preparation of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (Istanbul + 5) scheduled for June 2001. The Istanbul + 5 preparatory process has, in fact, entered its final most crucial stage: the Guidelines for Country Reporting have been issued, the National Committees have been established and the first preparatory committee meeting has been scheduled for May 2000.

The success of the Special Session is of the utmost importance in order to preserve and enhance the achievements of the Istanbul Summit, but it is by no means to be taken for granted. It will largely depend by the quality of the participation, not only of governments but of all concerned actors and, especially, by those that in the preparation, running and follow up of the Istanbul Summit were recognised as main partners. This calls for a new display of responsibility on behalf of researchers and scholars in the field of human settlements.

As you certainly remember, research community as such was not present in the preparation and during the works of Istanbul Summit, although many researchers attended it. However, after the City Summit - thanks also to the efforts of the newly instituted Forum of Researchers on Human Settlements - the researchers were formally recognized as an official partner of governments and international organizations within the various UN Commissions dealing with human settlements.

So now both the possibility and the necessity for a major involvement of the research community as a whole in the preparatory process do exist and ask for commitment from individuals and institutions. We think, in fact, that the success of Istanbul + 5 will largely depend, among others, on the quality and quantity of reliable information on the issues connected with human settlements made available to all stake-holders. In this regard, we think that there is a dramatic gap between the available knowledge on urban processes and the rapid evolution and transformation of cities. We especially perceive a difficulty in mapping or adequately interpret phenomena such as urban poverty, social exclusion, the growth of informal economy, the proliferation of informal settlements or the relation between urbanization and demographic transition.

The Istanbul Summit was also important since it pointed on areas needing general concern and proposed a positive, although critical, view of the city as an engine for development. Now it is essential to go further from such achievements and qualify the original assumptions so that Istanbul+5 can be also an arena in which a more articulate interpretation of the urban dimension can be presented and discussed and become the basis for deliberations and strategies adequate to the challenge posed by an everchanging reality. In our perspective, this can be achieved by upgrading the dialogue between the research community and decision-makers on issues such as the impact of globalization on human settlements, urban governance, the eradication of urban poverty.

That’s why we are proposing to engage all the forum members - and not only them - in a new endeavour in continuity with the Geneva International Conference on July 1998, whose main theme was precisely “Research Community for the Habitat Agenda: Linking Research and Policy for the Sustainability of Human Settlements”.

The E-conference is scheduled to take place from March to April 2000 and will be conducted via e-mail, so as to ensure maximum participation. All the contributions will be collected and made available at FRHS webpage, hosted by CERFE website (

If you wish to participate to the E-conference, please, send an e-mail message to: <>


If you don’t wish to participate, simply reply to <> asking to be removed by the list. Once you have subscribed to this list, you will receive further information about the forthcoming conference. This will include the Guidelines for participation, the background paper (on which the e-conference will focus) and the E-conference schedule and protocols governing participation. Take care that this participation is completely free of any charge.

As we have already mentioned, the main outcome of the E-Conference should be a final document in the form of recommendations for the Istanbul+5 process in its different steps that will start with the Preparatory Committee of May 2000, in which we plan to present the document. We are also considering, according with the quality and the quantity of the contributions received, to issue them in a E-Book as we did for the Geneva Proceedings that can be accessed at the FRHS webpage (see above).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who will be able to join us in this initiative, hoping for a high level of participation on the coming months .

With best regards,

Gabriele Quinti Acting Coordinator of the FRHS Ph. ++3906-36001480 - Fax ++3906-36001485

Last changed: March 13, 2002