Habitat for Humanity response to the G7 Communique

APULIA, Italy (June 14, 2024)  While Habitat for Humanity welcomes the mention of “the transformative power of cities worldwide as drivers for sustainable development,” the G7 Leaders’ Summit communique overlooks the pervasive global housing crisis and rapid urbanization driving the expansion of informal settlements. As such, the G7 misses a significant opportunity to achieve its further ambitions for sustainable development and industrial growth in Africa and beyond.

Our research shows that if we improve housing for vulnerable people, it transforms not only their lives but also the communities surrounding them. Upgrading informal settlements could result in:

  • Gross domestic product (GDP) increasing by as much as 10.5%
  • Life expectancy rising up to 4%, adding 2.4 years of life on average
  • As many as 41.6 million additional children would be enrolled in school

Habitat for Humanity urges G7 leaders to recognize that improving the homes of the most vulnerable is essential for human development, and a critical gap in their Official Development Assistance, or ODA.

“The global inequity in access to adequate housing is preventing the world from implementing effective sustainable development solutions, particularly in informal settlements,” said Patrick Canagasingham, chief operating officer at Habitat for Humanity International. “The benefits of investing in these areas are undeniable. When done at scale, such investments: enable families and communities to secure adequate housing; drive economic growth; improve income, health, and education outcomes; and integrate long-term climate adaptation measures – all priority areas of the G7. We urge G7 leaders to shift their ODA efforts to prioritize increasing equitable access to adequate housing for people living in informal settlements.”

Building on the G7’s commitments from the 2024 Leaders’ Summit, Habitat recommends that the G7:

  • Focus ODA on informal settlements in order to best support the development of and investment in low-income countries. Prioritizing these areas can drive transformational change, enhancing the well-being of vulnerable populations and their communities.
  • Ensure the newly established Secretariat of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) includes robust representation from civil society, encompassing voices from both donor and recipient countries, to prioritize sustainable development and the needs of vulnerable populations in informal settlements.
  • Incorporate human settlement upgrading into responses for climate adaptation and displacement, ensuring countries are not forced to choose between fighting poverty and protecting the planet.
  • Promote investments in global data and climate modeling frameworks that are slum-aware, not slum-blind.


About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner 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 habitat.org.