Government officials, private sector leaders and civil society experts applaud inclusion of housing in global goals and call for improved housing policies
5th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum draws to a close in Hong Kong, Delhi and Manila
Hong Kong, 4 September 2015 – Today marks the closing of the 5th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum in Hong Kong, Delhi and Manila, with more than 1,000 delegates collectively applauding the inclusion of decent housing for all in the Sustainable Development Goals to be ratified later this month. Delegates also called for informed housing policies to ensure that decent, sustainable and affordable housing is globally accessible.
“Housing is at the center of every aspect of life. There is no great education, there are no health outcomes, there is no world peace, there’s no anything without housing. We are so globally connected; the world’s future depends on what we do about building communities,” said Renee Glover, former Atlanta Housing Authority chief and Chair of Habitat for Humanity International’s Board of Directors.
Over the course of the Housing Forum, representatives from civil society, academia, the public and private sectors, as well as students and community groups, explored solutions to challenges, such as urbanization and climate change. Coming a few weeks before the United Nations announces the new Sustainable Development Goals, the outcomes from the Housing Forum will inform the implementation of these global goals. Delegates attending the Housing Forum across three locations signed a statement urging eight recommendations for Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, taking place in Quito, Ecuador, in 2016.
The recommendations urge that the Habitat III conference:
- Continue to prioritize housing
- Work to implement the Sustainable Development Goals agenda
- Prioritize security of tenure
- Include the voices of local communities and their partners
- Have measured outcomes
- Support market approaches
- Prioritize access to urban basic services
- Recognize the need to implement disaster preparedness strategies
Habitat for Humanity has been elected to represent civil society in events leading up to, and during, the Habitat III conference, and has utilized the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum to gather input from the region.
“We are confident that the benefits of this housing forum will have an ongoing positive impact on the Asia-Pacific region’s future, as delegates return to their home countries, full of ideas and renewed enthusiasm. We are hopeful that these ideas will be shared and shape new policies to reduce substandard housing in the region,” said Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity’s Vice-President, Asia-Pacific.
With the pressing need for affordable housing amid rapid urbanization, the Housing Forum expanded this year with Hong Kong hosting the main event and satellite events held in the large urban centers of Delhi, India, and Manila, Philippines. Hot topics and recurring themes during this year’s Asia-Pacific Housing Forum included:
- The critical role of access to land for shelter and security of tenure;
- The need for gender equality in eliminating poverty housing;
- The diversification of micro-lending and the need to make markets work for the poor;
- Building affordable, disaster-resilient housing, and policies that promote such housing, and
- Harnessing technology for housing, and new sustainable building technology.
For details of speakers and further information on the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, including the opportunity to add your signature to the Habitat III recommendations, visit aphousingforum.org.