This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
In 1989, the UN launched the [Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000], which urged an enabling approach to mobilize the full potential and resources of all involved in building and improving shelter. In 1976 the UN held the [Conference on Human Settlements], and in 1977 set up the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat).
The [UN Conference on Human Settlements -- Habitat II] (3-14 June 1996) dealt with two main themes: (1) sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world and (2) adequate shelter for all. Special attention was focused on urban problems; hence Habitat II was dubbed the 'City Summit'. The Conference adopted principles, commitments and a related 'Global Plan of Action; individual countries are developing 'National Plans of Action' for making the cities of the 21st century just, healthy, secure and convivial places for all. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) organized a separate Forum concurrent with the Habitat II Conference. Through broad-based participation, enabling strategies and an evolving concept of governance, this Forum sought to empower both those involved and affected. The Forum aimed to express and reflect the problems, desires, prospects and general sentiments of civil society.
The WHO Healthy Cities project and the European Commission Expert Group on the Urban Environment have proved to be effective in helping national and local leaders to view the problems of human settlements in an integrated manner.