Report shows urgent need for housing to be prioritized in UN’s New Urban Agenda


Habitat for Humanity, Inter-American Development Bank and global housing experts make key policy recommendations to address global housing challenges

ATLANTA and WASHINGTON – April 14 28, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — A new comprehensive report, the Habitat III Housing Policy Paper, outlines a strategic approach that encourages world governments to make programmatic and financial commitments to ensure more affordable, adequate and safe housing.

Developed by co-leads Habitat for Humanity and Inter-American Development Bank, along with 20 global housing experts, the report illustrates the important need for all United Nations member states to prioritize housing in their government agenda to help improve the lives of the 881 million people living today in informal urban settlements and ensure adequate housing for the additional 1.18 billion people expected to need it by 2030. The report also provides a strategic approach that countries should implement to reach these goals.

“Housing will need to stand at the center of the New Urban Agenda if it is to serve as a vision for sustainable, inclusive cities over the next 20 years,” said Steven Weir, vice president, Global Programs at Habitat for Humanity International. “Housing has always been an engine for growth and prosperity in cities. As global urbanization increases, housing will continue to be key to providing stability for the families and neighborhoods that make up the fabric of great cities, and in turn strengthening urban economies, creating jobs and improving both financial and physical well-being.”

The Habitat III Housing Policy Paper is part of a broader set of 10 policies issued by the UN in the process toward theHabitat III conference, the third in a series of global summits that began in 1976 and focuses on housing and sustainable development. Policy priorities will inform the New Urban Agenda, which will define the UN’s global urban strategy for the next 20 years. This is the first time policies have been created to address the future global urban housing deficit.

Habitat for Humanity and IDB prepared the Housing Policy Paper in collaboration with housing experts from a variety of fields. The paper recommends a holistic approach and encourages the global community to focus on housing policy reform in the following five areas:

  • An integrated housing framework that is consistently woven into urban plans and city investment strategies at both the national and municipal levels.
  • A commitment to inclusive housing that spans participatory processes, fair housing policies, gender equal land rights and housing for special needs groups.
  • Adoption of policies and measures to improve the affordability of homeownership.
  • Measures to assure adequate housing that includes habitability, access to basic services and the legal right to secure tenure across a continuum of tenure options.
  • Support of neighborhood upgrading programs and protection of incremental housing.

Implementation of the proposed plan will involve a coordinated, collaborative effort between government, civil society organizations, the private sector and donors who can provide financial, in-kind and other strategic support.

“For our work to be effective and improve lives, we must address the pressing need for decent, affordable housing and build a long-term comprehensive plan for sustainable urban development,” said Michael Donovan, housing and urban development senior specialist, Inter-American Development Bank.”

The Habitat III conference will be held October 17-20, 2016, in Quito, Ecuador, where the final draft of the New Urban Agenda will be announced. Habitat III will bring together 193 countries that will renew their commitment to sustainable urban development and discuss new challenges and solutions. The global summit will draw world leaders who are UN members; representatives from civil society organizations, governments and municipalities, women and youth groups, and trade unions; members of the private sector; and professionals from academia and foundations.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity has grown from a grassroots effort that began on a community farm in southern Georgia in 1976 to a global nonprofit housing organization in nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries. People 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

About Inter-American Development Bank
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

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