UN agency aims to tackle housing crunch during financial crisis

30 March 2009 – With the world struck by an economic crisis that has its origins in housing credit, the head of the United Nations agency tasked with ensuring adequate shelter for all today said it was doubly important to confront the challenge of affordable housing.

“This year, our meeting takes place at a time our world is mired in the worst economic crisis in living memory,” Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of the UN agency for human settlements (UN-HABITAT), said as she opened the agency’s yearly Governing Council in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The origin of the crisis lies with a housing finance system gone wrong. Lessons learned from this experience must inform our housing policies and strategies,” she added, outlining how the global financial crisis has affected housing worldwide.

The theme for the Governing Council, at which governments decide on UN-HABITAT’s budgets and work programmes, is entitled “Promoting affordable housing finance systems in an urbanizing world in the face of the global financial crisis.”

Also speaking at the meeting’s opening session, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, called for measures to cushion the urban poor against the shocks arising from both the global economic meltdown and climate change.

The Governing Council, attended by representatives from some 100 countries, runs through 3 April.


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