- Access to affordable and sustainable housing is a global challenge growing fast in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
- Housing is at the core of the New Urban Agenda and is closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as to human rights issues, with adequate housing being recognized as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in international instruments.
- The building stock represents the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with households accounting for 19% of total worldwide energy consumption.
- When managed effectively, the housing sector can be an important source of social development, economic growth and stability, accounting for a significant share of wealth and resources.
Brussels, 21 September 2018. The first meeting of the UfM Thematic Working Group on Affordable and Sustainable Housing, organized in coordination with the UfM Co-Presidency, was held in Brussels on 20-21 September 2018. It brought together national focal points at technical line ministries of UfM Member States and participants from key regional and international partner organizations and international financial institutions.
This Thematic Working Group is instrumental for the successful implementation of the UfM Urban Agenda undertaken by UfM Member States, through a multi-stakeholder framework for dialogue and technical cooperation. It thus facilitates regional cooperation on sustainable urban development in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
It responded to the urgent need for affordable and sustainable housing in many UfM countries. Whilst some are facing rapid increases of population, others are facing challenges related to the pressure of tourism and the escalation of housing prices. With this in mind, the Thematic Working Group discussed the driving factors that have led to positive results in some countries, and shared possible tools to face today’s challenge of affordable and sustainable housing.
By the year 2020, the Thematic Working Group will foster knowledge exchange between national Focal Points on social and affordable housing, and identify policy and financing gaps, international good practices as well as bankable housing projects in the field of affordable and sustainable housing. To this end, it will develop a set of recommendations in the form of an Action Plan by the end of 2019.
The Thematic Working Group was held within the framework of the UfM Regional Platform on Sustainable Urban Development, launched in Brussels on 9 November 2017 as a first concrete step towards implementing the UfM Urban Agenda, through a well-structured multi-stakeholder framework for dialogue and technical cooperation.
The UfM Urban Agenda was adopted on the occasion of the Second UfM Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Urban Development in Cairo on 22 May 2017, to step-up regional cooperation on sustainable urban development, with a view to delivering common responses to the pressing challenges facing urban areas, which are key drivers for stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean region.