Co-organizers:

Housing sector in Eurasia needs a mind shift and cooperation

To solve housing problems in the region, practical as well as strategic actions are needed with more emphasis on education and awareness among citizens about their rights and responsibilities in relation to shelter, property and housing

Geneva, Switzerland (April 24, 2013) — Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, said in a video message to the delegates of the second Housing Forum for Europe & Central Asia a paradigm shift is needed from the belief that the market can solve all housing problems. She emphasized as the ongoing crisis since 2008 demonstrates, we need to redefine the responsibility of states in providing social services, including housing.

A market approach is necessary to develop housing microfinance and residential energy efficiency, among many other things, but state intervention for vulnerable groups, like the Roma, elderly, low-income, mentally and physically challenged, or refugees, cannot be overlooked. At the same time, international organizations and NGOs should shift from direct services toward shaping market solutions and policies.

These are some of the outcomes of the second Housing Forum Europe & Central Asia, which concluded on April 24, 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. The debates and discussions touched on important thematic areas such as housing inclusiveness and equal access to adequate standards of living in cities, including the right to adequate housing.

Among the voiced recommendations were calls to increase the supply of rental housing through new models, address the problem of management and deterioration of privatized multi-household housing, work with the Roma on empowerment and legalization of informal settlements, as well as involve more stakeholders in the planning and implementation of housing projects.

The three-day gathering brought together 147 delegates and 71 organizations: UN agencies, international NGOs, Red Cross and Red Crescent, academia, financing institutions, housing experts, real estate business and donors from 38 countries.

The Forum is organized by five international organizations – Habitat for Humanity International, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). UN-HABITAT is supporting the Housing Forum for the first time in this region as part of the regional implementation of its Global Housing Strategy.

Organizing partners will start the groundwork for the third Housing Forum for this region in 2015.

About 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 600,000 homes worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 3 million people. For more information, visit www.habitateurope.org.

About International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (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’s work focuses on four core areas: promoting humanitarian values, disaster response, disaster preparedness, and health and community care. For more information, visit www.ifrc.org.

About 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.

About UNECE
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.

About UN-HABITAT
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. UN-HABITAT programmes are designed to help policy-makers and local communities to get to grips with the human settlements and urban issues and find workable, lasting solutions. For more information, visit www.unhabitat.org.


Important information about arriving to Palais

The event will take place in the Palais des Nations Salle XVIII. All participants will be required to go through security prior to the conference.  Security opens at 8 am.  Lines on Monday mornings are very long, and it is very strongly advised for all participants to arrive at 8 am to register in a timely fashion and be present for the 10:30 Housing Forum Opening Session. (For those who will in Geneva on Friday April 19, 2013 it is possible to pick up their badges between 2 and 5 pm that day in the Palais des Nations. Although not guaranteed, government representatives can try to arrange for their missions to pick up their badges for them.)

Entry to the Palais on  the first day is through The Pregny gate (don’t forget to bring your passport in order to get the security badge. After you have the badge you can get in through either the Pregny gate or Nations gate).

Important: passports or country identity cards are required to pass through security at the Palais. Without these you cannot enter the building.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FORM

Please, bring a filled out copy of the form to the registration. If completed in advance, it will expedite security clearance process. You can download the form here.

VISA

We are unable to assist individuals (or groups) with visa applications. Each participant manages his/her own application with the assistance of the nearest Swiss Consulate. However, if required we can prepare a personalized invitation letter which can be part of the supporting documents when applying for a visa.

TRANSPORTATION

The Geneva airport is close to the Palais des Nations. Travelers can obtain a ticket from a machine in the airport that allows them to use the bus to either downtown Geneva or the Ferney-Voltaire area free of charge. The ride is about 20 minutes.

 

Point “A” is Palais des Nations, Avenue de la Paix, Switzerland

Detailed schedule of HUB sessions

We’ve uploaded the detailed schedule of HUB sessions. ‘The Hub’ consists of a maximum of 24 (4 x 6 parallel) working sessions on a variety of themes that will be delivered by experts with practical, academic and political experience in the housing and related fields.

You can download the PDF version here.

Detailed schedule of the HUB sessions

Detailed schedule of the HUB sessions

Kurt Eliasson, President of CECODHAS Housing Europe, joins as a panelist

Kurt Eliasson, President of CECODHAS Housing Europe

Kurt Eliasson
President of CECODHAS Housing Europe

Kurt Eliasson is CEO at SABO – the Swedish Association of Public Housing Companies, which is the organisation of the municipality owned public housing companies in Sweden. He will be participating as a panelist in a discussion on the topic “The challenge of achieving sustainable housing for all”.

He is also Chairman of the board of Housing Nordic (NBO), Chairman of the board of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, member of the board of Kommuninvest of Sweden, a public sector owned and guaranteed credit market company regulated by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, and President of CECODHAS Housing Europe is the Federation of public, cooperative and social housing.

He is also participating in the session on “Capacity for regulatory framework of housing”, led by Ara Nazinyan from Social Housing Foundation, Armenia.

We welcome UN-HABITAT as our organizing partner

UN-Habitat, For a Better Urban Future

UN-Habitat, For a Better Urban Future

The second Housing Forum Europe and Central Asia organizers are pleased to announce that UN-Habitat has joined us as an organizing partner. We welcome them.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

UN-HABITAT’s programmes are designed to help policy-makers and local communities get to grips with the human settlements and urban issues and find workable, lasting solutions.