people at conference

Inaugural MENA Housing Forum champions inclusive, affordable and sustainable housing

CAIRO (Nov. 21, 2022) — The first-ever Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, Housing Forum started today in Cairo, under the patronage of the Egyptian Ministry of Housing. Over the next three days, stakeholders will discuss ongoing housing challenges, including the persistence of informal settlements, the rise in refugee numbers, the increase of vulnerability in the wake of COVID-19, and the region’s role in climate action following the COP27 climate change conference. With 10 in-person and five virtual sessions scheduled, the hybrid forum is expected to attract over 500 participants.

The event, part of a global series of housing forums in different regions of the world, is organized by Habitat for Humanity International, with financial sponsorship provided by the Hilti Foundation. Featured speakers include Laila Iskander, former Egyptian minister of environment, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat, and Habitat’s CEO Jonathan Reckford.  

“The first MENA Housing Forum represents a unique opportunity to discuss both the challenges and opportunities related to housing and human settlements across the region. To achieve more affordable, sustainable and inclusive housing, all the different actors and stakeholders in the sector must work together,” said Patrick Canagasingham, chief operating officer at Habitat for Humanity International, during his opening remarks.

conversation between people

Building on the momentum and partnerships created as part of the MENA regional and national housing forums that were held in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon over the last month, Habitat for Humanity is launching the MENA Urban Housing Practitioners Hub, or UHPH: an open platform for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge and best practices regarding housing and urban issues across the region. The hub will provide practitioners and researchers with opportunities to regularly convene and engage in collaborative discussions and identify concrete actions around housing and urban issues to generate innovation and impact in the region.

speaker at a conference

Patrick Canagasingham, chief operating officer at Habitat for Humanity International delivers his remarks

“Housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities. The MENA UHPH’s ultimate goal is to impact the quality and scale of housing and urban policies in the region, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda,” commented Canagasingham.

Drawing from the experience of the UHPH platform in Latin America and the Caribbean, launched in 2015, Habitat for Humanity is currently exploring various partnerships with key regional actors, including international organizations, NGOs, academic institutions, and the private sector.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand partner up with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit

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