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Habitat II Conference                      [ Back to Habitat II ]

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IV Global Plan of Action

B. Adequate Shelter for All

2. Shelter policies

65. The formulation and periodic evaluation and revision, as necessary, of enabling shelter policies, with a view to creating a framework for efficient and effective shelter delivery systems, are the cornerstone for the provision of adequate shelter for all. A fundamental principle in formulating a realistic shelter policy is its interdependence with overall macroeconomic, environmental and social development policies. Shelter policies, while focusing on the increasing demand for housing and infrastructure, should also emphasize the increased use and maintenance of existing stock through ownership, rental and other tenure options, responding to the diversity of needs. These policies should also encourage and support the people who, in many countries, particularly developing countries, individually or collectively act as important producers of housing. Policies should respond to the diverse needs of those belonging to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups as set out in subsection 4 below (paras. 93 to 98).

Actions

66. Governments should strive to decentralize shelter policies and their administration to subnational and local levels within the national framework, whenever possible and as appropriate.

67. To integrate shelter policies with macroeconomic, social, demographic, environmental and cultural policies, Governments, as appropriate, should:

(a) Establish and implement consultative mechanisms among the governmental authorities that are responsible for economic, environmental, social, human settlements and shelter policies, and the organization of civil society and the private sector so as to coordinate the shelter sector in a coherent manner, which should include identifying the market and precise criteria for allocations, subsidies and other forms of assistance;

(b) Constantly monitor the impact of macroeconomic policies on shelter delivery systems, considering their specific linkages and taking into account their possible effects on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;

(c) Strengthen the linkages between shelter policies, employment generation, environmental protection, preservation of cultural heritage, resource mobilization and the maximization of resource efficiency, and strengthen the stimulation of and support for sustainable economic development and social development activities;

(d) Apply public policies, including expenditure, taxation, monetary and planning policies, to stimulate sustainable shelter markets and land development;

(e) Integrate land and shelter policies with policies for reducing poverty and creating jobs, for environmental protection, for preservation of cultural heritage, for education and health, for providing clean water-supply and sanitation facilities, and for empowering those belonging to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, particularly people without shelter;

(f) Strengthen shelter-related information systems, and make use of relevant research activities in policy development, including gender-disaggregated data;

(g) Periodically evaluate and, as appropriate, revise shelter policies, taking into consideration the needs of people without shelter and the impact of such policies on the environment, economic development and social welfare.

68. To formulate and implement policies that promote the enablement approach to the development, maintenance and rehabilitation of shelter in both rural and urban areas, Governments at all levels, as appropriate, should:

(a) Employ broad-based participatory and consultative mechanisms that involve representatives from public, private, non-governmental, cooperative and community sectors, including representatives of groups that are considered to be living in poverty, at all levels in the policy development process;

(b) Establish appropriate processes for coordination and decentralization that define clear local-level rights and responsibilities within the policy development process;

(c) Develop and support adequate institutional frameworks, especially for facilitating investment in the supply of both rural and urban shelter by the private sector;

(d) Consider establishing priorities for the allocation of natural, human, technical and financial resources;

(e) Establish and adopt a regulatory framework, and provide institutional support for facilitating participation and partnership arrangements at all levels;

(f) Review and adjust, when necessary, the legal, fiscal and regulatory framework to respond to the special needs of people living in poverty and low-income people;

(g) Promote the supply of affordable rental houses and the legal rights and obligations of both tenants and owners.

69. To adopt and implement a cross-sectoral approach to policy development, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, should:

(a) Coordinate and integrate shelter and human settlements policies with other related policies, such as population and human resource development policies, environment, cultural, land and infrastructure policies, and urban and rural planning, as well as private and/or public employment initiatives;

(b) Take full account of the need for economic development, social development and environmental protection, and the objectives of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development principles and of the basic needs for human development and health;

(c) Adopt policies ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to new public buildings and facilities, public housing and public transport systems. Furthermore, during renovation of existing buildings, similar measures should be adopted whenever feasible;

(d) Encourage the development of environmentally sound and affordable construction methods and the production and distribution of building materials, including strengthening the indigenous building materials industry, based as far as possible on locally available resources;

(e) Promote the free exchange of information on the entire range of the environmental health aspects of construction, including the development and dissemination of databases on the adverse environmental effects of building materials, through the collaborative efforts of the private and public sectors.

70. To improve shelter delivery systems, Governments at the appropriate levels should:

(a) Adopt an enabling approach to shelter development, including the renovation, rehabilitation, upgrading and strengthening of the existing housing stock in both rural and urban areas;

(b) Establish priorities for the allocation of natural, human, technical and financial resources;

(c) Develop adequate institutional frameworks for the public, community and private sectors, especially for facilitating investments in the supply of both rural and urban shelter by the private and non-profit sectors;

(d) When necessary, review and adjust the legal, fiscal and regulatory framework to respond to the special needs of those belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, in particular, people living in poverty and low-income people;

(e) Periodically evaluate and, as necessary, revise policies and systems for financing shelter, taking into consideration the impact of such policies and systems on the environment, economic development and social welfare, especially their different effects on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;

(f) Promote and adopt, where appropriate, policies that coordinate and encourage the adequate supply of the key inputs required for the construction of housing and infrastructure, such as land, finance and building materials;

(g) Encourage the development of environmentally sound and affordable construction methods and the production and distribution of building materials, including strengthening the local building materials industry, based as far as possible on locally available resources;

(h) Promote, in those countries where it may be appropriate, the use of labour-intensive construction and maintenance technologies that generate employment in the construction sector for the underemployed labour force found in most large cities, at the same time promoting the development of skills in the construction sector.

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