On November 23rd, 2022, the MENA Housing Forum commenced its third and final day with an in-person session on the Integration of Socioeconomic Planning and Local Economic Development in Housing Planning.
Featuring a panel of experts in the housing,development, and financial sectors, this session advanced an enlightening discussion on how housing constitutes an integral factor— both as an input and output— in the socioeconomic development of communities, especially vulnerable ones, and, accordingly, why the agenda for and process of housing planning should incorporate a participatory approach.
The second session of the day revolved around Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) Rights in the MENA. In particular, this in-person session examined the various challenges and areas for improvement related to HLP rights across the region and the implications they sustain for tenure security, with a focus on vulnerable populations, rising poverty, and climate change.
In a parallel virtual session, a discussion on how the future realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (i.e., Agenda 2030) and the New Urban Agenda is contingent on the recognition and upgrading of informal settlements and slums took place.
“Creating and managing better places to live is key to achieving the ambitions of the New Urban Agenda and Agenda 2030, and without a sharp focus on creating and managing better places to live, we will not address any of the ambitions that we have expressed in these agendas”, Monika Glinzler (Department of Human Settlements, South Africa)
The following session was also a virtual one that delved into the importance of securing affordable, sustainable, and inclusive access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services for residents of deprived and peripheral areas.
In this bilingual session, a panel of experts from different areas in the housing sector exchanged knowledge of and experiences with some of the best WASH technologies, practices, and solutions, highlighting and offering an insightful overview of the nuances of the provision of adequate housing.
“Governance needs to be better understood to reduce gaps between policy and implementation in delivering WASH services”, Frank Nan (VNG International)
The MENA Housing Forum concluded with remarks by Habitat for Humanity’s Patrick Canagasingham (COO), Stephen Seidel (Senior Director of Global Partnerships), and Richard Hathaway (Vice President of Europe and Middle East Area).
Among these remarks was the exciting announcement of the launch of the MENA Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (UHPH), a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and best practices among the MENA region’s urban housing experts.