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Putting decent housing on the political agenda in Europe and Central Asia

March 7, 2011

Four organizations hold the first Housing Forum in the region to explore and share solutions that address the urgent and widespread problem of substandard housing.

Bratislava, Slovakia
(March 7, 2011) – Housing development is generally expensive and hard to execute, and the biggest issue for many is its affordability, especially in developing countries or those undergoing economic transition. The recent foreclosure crisis has also challenged a popular house for everyone model. At the same time, access to adequate housing is one of the fundamental human rights which should be recognized, respected and protected.

The global economic recession forces governments to cut the public support for housing projects. Yet, this support is crucial if Europe wants to address social inequality, bring development, guarantee employment and achieve greater social inclusion of certain groups, like Roma. It is impossible to deal with these issues without their respective housing aspects.

Four organizations–Habitat for Humanity in Europe and Central Asia, the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies, the United Nations Development Programme and the UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management–came together to create the first Housing Forum Europe & Central Asia to draw political attention to the urgent housing problems. The Forum is hosted on April 4-6, 2011 in the capital of Hungary that holds for six months the European Union presidency. It is organized under the auspices of the Hungarian government and with the patronage of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary.

The Forum brings together leading housing organizations from the region, key NGO actors, private corporations, researchers and policymakers to explore and share solutions to address urgent housing issues. Many sessions are generated and presented by the delegate participants. To find our more information about the upcoming Forum, visit the event’s web site www.ecahousingforum.eu

Media representatives can be accredited to cover the work of the Forum. For more information, contact the Forum’s press officer.

Where: The European Youth Centre, Zivatar utca 1-3, 1024 Budapest, Hungary
When:
Monday, April 4-6, 2011

For media registration and further information: Katerina Bezgachina +421 911 04 58 38 kbezgachina@habitat.org

Information on the co-organizers of the Housing Forum:

Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built and renovated more than 400,000 homes worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 2 million people. For more information, visit www.habitateurope.org

International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies
The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian organization. It works to support and develop the capacities of its member national societies around the world in their humanitarian mission to assist the most vulnerable members of society, without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. The IFRC is the convener of the General Shelter Cluster for natural disasters. For more information, visit www.ifrc.org

UNDP
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States is on the ground in 28 countries and territories in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. For more information, visit www.undp.org

UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was established in 1947 by the UN Economic and Social Council. The overall mandate of the UNECE is to facilitate greater economic integration and cooperation among its fifty-six Member States and promote sustainable development and economic prosperity. For more information, visit www.unece.org