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In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685
Or contact your local HUD officeJune 13, 1996


ISTANBUL, Turkey -- U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros today outlined a five-point strategy to "forge an international framework for building healthy, sustainable, and livable urban communities for the next century and beyond."

Cisneros discussed the crises facing cities around the world in a speech to the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul. The international gathering of local and national government officials, along with representatives of citizen groups, is being held to discuss promising solutions to problems caused by rapid urbanization.

Cisneros heads the U.S. delegation to the Habitat Conference. Vice President Gore, who was unable to attend, is honorary chair of the delegation.

The HUD Secretary said the challenges facing the world's big cities can be met by pursing the following strategies, which reflect urban policies pursued by the Clinton Administration in the United States:

  • Bringing local governments, businesses and ordinary citizens together to work in cooperation with national governments to find solutions to their problems.

  • Allowing governments and people on the local level increased freedom to devise local programs to deal with challenges they face, instead of imposing uniform national programs on every community.

  • Promoting economic growth and the creation of private sector jobs. "No level of government subsidies can match the strength of a thriving economy driven by the private sector," Cisneros said.

  • Protecting the environment to promote sustainable development.

  • Strengthening smaller cities and rural areas in addition to the largest cities, because of the "interwoven destiny" of all economies.

Cisneros said that problems plaguing communities do not respect state, local or national boundaries, and so cannot be solved by individual nations acting alone.

"Residents of Toronto suffer the consequences of acid rain when industrial plants thousands of miles away spew harmful pollutants into the atmosphere," Cisneros said. "And residents of New Orleans suffer the consequences of drug trafficking and crime when there are no sustainable agricultural alternatives to the slash-and-burn cultivation of opium poppies and coca in other nations."
Cisneros praised the international cooperation fostered by the Habitat II Conference.
"Finding common values and shared goals is a better way to shape the future than replaying the stale drama of confrontation," Cisneros said. "The international community is moving towards a shared sense of participation whose bonds, though voluntary, will hold us together in the face of those forces that would otherwise divide us."


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