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Renewed call to end poverty housing at close of Asia-Pacific Housing Forum



Manila, 4 October 2013 – The fourth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, organized by Habitat for Humanity International, ended today with a renewed call on public, private and people sector stakeholders to collaborate and end poverty housing. About one in eight still lives in a slum in the region.

The three-day Forum, held at Dusit Thani Manila, saw the participation of some 700 international and local delegates from 35 countries and was opened by Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday. It was last hosted in the Philippine capital in 2009. The event is the leading platform for advocating affordable housing solutions and decent shelter for low-income families. It brings under one roof, public, private and people sector stakeholders engaged in seeking solutions to poverty housing issues.

Also speaking at the forum was Rick Hathaway, Vice President for Asia-Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International, who shared outcomes of the event. “A key piece was the high-level roundtable discussion at the Coconut Palace on the eve of the housing forum. We collaborated with the Office of the Philippine Vice President and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council on the roundtable which shone a spotlight on the poverty housing situation in Asia-Pacific. It was well attended by 75 regional and local policy makers, CEOs, and leaders from NGOs and multilateral agencies.

“I also believe the roundtable helped sustain the regional conversation on shelter for the poor, particularly in the light of the evolving post-2015 Millennium Development Goals agenda. Let’s hope the final form of the agenda will have room for addressing the issues of adequate housing and slums.”

Mr. Hathaway added: “We see the Forum as a platform to raise capacity and effectiveness of those who work in the field to serve low-income families. I’m pleased to report that over two hundred and fifty delegates were trained in housing finance, eco-town planning and energy efficiency over the course of three days.”

During the course of the Housing Forum, Habitat’s national office in the Philippines received budget approval from the government to build, in the first phase, transitional houses for 200 families displaced by the Zamboanga conflict in the south of the country.

The Forum, themed ‘Housing as a foundation for breaking the poverty cycle’, featured five discussion tracks, focusing on affordable housing finance, disaster resilience and climate change, shared value and corporate social responsibility leadership, housing policy and advocacy, and sustainable housing solutions.

As well as Vice President Binay, other high-profile speakers at the Forum included Alicia Bala, Deputy Secretary, ASEAN; Senator Loren Legarda, member of Philippine Senate; Henry Cisneros, former US Housing Secretary and Founder/Chairman, CityView; Nestor Espenilla, Deputy Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Vikram Gandhi, Founder/CEO, VSG Capital Advisors; Kevin Lim, CEO, First Finance; Fernando Zobel de Ayala, President and Chief Operating Officer, Ayala Corporation; Marja Hoek Smit, Director, International Housing Finance Program, Wharton School; Jaime Aristotle Alip, Founder and Managing Director, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Mutually Reinforcing Institutions; Sohail Hasnie, Principal Energy Specialist, SE Asia Department, Asian Development Bank; Liu Thai Ker, former CEO, Housing Development Board Singapore and Advisory Board Chairman, Center for Liveable Cities; Hassan Ahmad, CEO, Mercy Relief; Al Panico, Head of Operations (Asia-Pacific), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Yoshinobu Fukusawa, Asia-Pacific Regional Director, UN-Habitat; Richard Northcote, Head of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability, Bayer MaterialScience; and Efren Peñaflorida, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year.

The Forum is supported by sponsors and partners including Aditya Birla Group, Asian Development Bank, Ayala Corporation, Ayala Land, Bayer MaterialScience, PT Caturkarsa Megatunggal, Cemex Philippines, Citi, Energy Development Corporation, Philippine Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,, Philippine Climate Change Commission and Wharton School. The media partners of the event are ABS-CBN News Channel, AsianNGO, Channel NewsAsia, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Rappler Inc.

The next Forum will be held in 2015.