UN-Habitat partnered with five international organizations – Habitat for Humanity International, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – to organize the second session of Housing Forum Europe and Central Asia: ‘Promoting Sustainable Housing Futures for All’, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, on 22-24 April 2013.
The Forum offered the unique opportunity for UN-Habitat and its partners to discuss and support the regional roll out of the UN Global Housing Strategy in Europe and Central Asia.
In particular, the Forum discussions explored solutions to housing challenges in Europe and Central Asia, by engaging with partners and key regional stakeholders of the housing sector to look at ways to address housing problems, develop affordable housing solutions for the poor on national and regional levels and bring together private investment and the public sector.
At the opening session of the Forum, in his welcoming remarks, Mohamed El Sioufi, Coordinator of the Global Housing Strategy and Head of the Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch at UN-Habitat, advocated for engaging all partners in a collaborative regional movement to achieve the goal of inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for all in Europe and Central Asia, and for promoting the idea of a ‘social retrofit’ in the housing sector.
At a side event on ‘Formalising the informal – the challenge of legalisation’ co-organised by UN-Habitat and UNECE, participants shared experiences and practices of their national housing sectors and stressed the need for establishing National Habitat Committees towards formulating National Housing Strategies, inclusive housing policies and programmes, taking into consideration the particular challenges faced by migrants and vulnerable groups in Eurasian cities and informal settlements. In partnerships with all regional housing stakeholders, the Global Housing Strategy will aim at improving access to housing in general and the living conditions of slum dwellers in particular, and to assist governments in working towards the realisation of the right to adequate housing.