The Fourth Global Forum of Parliamentarians on Habitat, which was held in Berlin, Germany, on 12-14 May 2003, adopted the Berlin Declaration calling on governments to increase financial support for the realization of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. Governments were also called upon to ensure the availability of predictable financial resources for UN-HABITAT to strengthen its work on poverty alleviation.
Since its inception in 1987, and at all its subsequent major meetings including Habitat II in Istanbul, in 1996, Cancun, Mexico, in 1998; and in Manila, Philippines, in 2000, the Global Forum of Parliamentarians has supported legislative changes for sustainable urban development and adequate housing for all. It has always been a strong supporter of the Habitat Agenda and has advocated better urban governance as a way of meeting the urgent needs of the urban poor.
The opening ceremony, which was held in the German Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, was attended by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT; and Senator Ernesto Gil Elorduy of Mexico who was re-elected for a second term as the President of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat. Also present were Madame Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development; Mr. Peter Goetz, President of the Regional Council for Europe of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat; Senator Rodolfo Biazon from Manila, Philippines; and Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’ Abba, the Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament. In attendance was a large gathering of over 150 Senators and Parliamentarians from over 54 countries from Africa, Asia, the Pacific region, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Caribbean.
In her opening address, Mrs. Tibaijuka congratulated the delegates for keeping alive the spirit of Istanbul. “Now more than ever before, Global Parliamentarians (for Habitat) needs to be proactive in overcoming the marginalization of the Habitat Agenda; it needs to lobby for increased international assistance for the brown agenda,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka. “As one of our major partners, we look to you to help us secure predictable funding from your governments but also to create innovative legislative and administrative policy instruments to help implement the Habitat Agenda. Together we can build a future of sustainable cities without slums, where every man, woman and child has access to adequate shelter.”