29 April 2020. The UfM will organise an informal online discussion with a view to taking stock of the impacts of the pandemic, as well as lessons learned and deficiencies, while facilitating exchange of best practices and encouraging policy transfer, and indicating the possible way forward as regards adequate and affordable housing in the region.
The discussion will be led and moderated by Dr Darinka Czischke Ljubetic, assistant professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands). Leilani Farha, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing will make introductory remarks at the meeting. Orsetta Causa (DG REGIO), Marisa Plouin (OECD), and Konstantin Kholodilin ( researcher at the German Institute for Economic Research) will also make presentations to kick-off discussion.
The 2017 Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Urban Agenda identified integrated approaches to sustainable, affordable and adequate housing as a common priority on which the UfM work would focus. Since then, the UfM has been deliberating on integrated, sustainable, affordable, adequate and resilient housing as a vector for inclusive and sustainable urban development and regeneration.
In addition to rapid urbanisation, growing housing demand, impacts of climate emergency and devastating natural disasters in the Mediterranean region, UfM countries need to take into account public health emergencies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, in the context of challenges facing the urban sector. UN-Habitat’s COVID-19 Guidance Note of 28 March 2020 on Protecting Residents of Informal Settlements and Policy and Programme Framework of 30 March 2020 indicate that two population groups are at higher risks: those living in emergency shelters, homelessness and informal settlements, and those facing job loss and economic hardship which could result in mortgage and rental arrears and evictions (https://unhabitat.org/covid-19-pandemic). On the global scale, Habitat for Humanity International is urging leaders to consider policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that: Ensure adequate housing remains a priority and option for all; Recognize the multiple ways in which housing is financed at the household level, including access and protection for micro-finance loans; Recognize tenure security along the continuum of land rights; Incorporate participation of the communities they are trying to serve; and Facilitate the ability of communities to build back better and more resiliently.