Day Two Highlights from the Ninth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum: Navigating Policy, Climate Change, and Financial Innovation

Day Two Highlights from the Ninth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum: Navigating Policy, Climate Change, and Financial Innovation

The second day of the 9th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum brought together experts and thought leaders to continue conversations on critical topics that are shaping the future of housing and urban development in the region – from solutions for informal settlements to climate change adaptation and ways to expand access to affordable housing.

Here’s a glimpse of the key takeaways and insights:

Track 1b: Policy Solutions for Urban Informal Settlements

The experts in this session delved into crucial policy solutions aimed at improving living conditions in informal settlements. The challenges stemming from rapid urbanization have left governments struggling to provide adequate and affordable housing.

Sanjee Singh, representing ESCAP, emphasized the importance of including the needs of youth when addressing the challenges of informal settlements and the need for integrated housing policies that encompass various levels of governance, from local to national. She stressed the significance of a clear policy mandate at the regional level, underlining that some degree of subsidization is necessary, tailored to different income levels.

Prak Angkeara, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, raised the pertinent question of how to make housing accessible for low-income groups, including workers and government officials. He expressed the need for guidelines on housing affordability, considering the limited income of those residing in informal settlements.

Tri Dewi Virglyante, Director of Housing and Settlement at the Ministry of National Development Planning in Indonesia, recognized the importance of investing in land banking and expanding microfinance to include housing. This approach ensures more integrated and comprehensive housing solutions.

Track 2b: Affordable Green Technologies and Climate Change Adaptation on a Household Level

This breakout session focused on the role of housing in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Haryo Bekti Martoyoedo, Director of Housing Finance from the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Indonesia, highlighted the challenges of affordability and accessibility in his country.

He also acknowledged Indonesia’s position as one of the top carbon-emitting countries. Finding creative financing schemes and working collaboratively with stakeholders were seen as essential to overcome affordable housing challenges.

Track 3b: Use of Financial Technology Solutions to Expand Access to Affordable Housing

The third session explored the transformative potential of financial technology solutions in expanding access to affordable housing. Roland Pearson noted that while technology is an enabler, its effectiveness depends on various market factors.

The second day of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum reinforced the need for holistic policy solutions, climate-resilient housing, and innovative financial technologies to address the housing challenges in the region.

Innovation Awards 2023

Following an exciting afternoon when Awards’ finalists presented their solutions, the winners of the 2023 Innovation Awards were announced!

The Ninth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum Award Winners are:

  • Policy: Public Sector Housing Solutions Winner
    • City Government of Manila

The Manila Housing Program encompasses housing, disaster resilience, climate adaptation, and social integration, by emphasizing mixed-income communities with amenities, preventing poverty concentration, and ensuring sustainability. It engages residents as active partners, valuing their input, and making them co-creators in addressing their housing needs, ensuring that the solutions developed are genuinely responsive to their unique circumstances and aspirations.

  • Program: Civil Society Housing Impact Winner
    • Rujak Center for Urban Studies

The program started in 2016, following the eviction of Kampung Akuarium settlement residents. Through advocacy, organizing and other tactics, its residents, together with the Rujak Center for Urban Studies, the Jakarta City Poor People’s Network and the Urban Poor Consortium succeeded in pushing for the redevelopment the settlement. The redevelopment, completed in April 2023, uses co-design principles with designs that suit the needs of residents and adopt the unique economic activities.

  • Sheltertech: Private Sector Technology Winner
    • Bandhu

Bandhu is an AI-driven tech platform that connects India’s blue-collar workers to jobs and affordable housing. It secures workers’ rental housing cash flows to unlock rental deposit loans and home improvement loans for low-income tenants and landlords, ultimately making the rural-to-urban migration process more equitable for 300 million Indians.

Closing Ceremony: Stakeholders’ Reflections

We are extremely grateful for all the attendees, the speakers and our partners who all helped make this 9th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum a success. We hope you have found the discussions enlightening and that you are heading home with a head full of ideas and new solutions to scale up sustainable and affordable housing solutions.

Here are some of our stakeholders’ reflections from the closing ceremony:

Israel Cooper, Director
Director, Home New Zealand and Asia-Pacific Development Council member

“The private sector can provide access to markets that even governments, NGOs and development organizations cannot provide. It is important that, as we work together, that the private sector doesn’t just provide capital or funding, but expertise and knowledge. We can learn a lot from organizations like Habitat and others in the housing space.

We can provide scale. As Jonathan Reckford said: the problem of housing is a problem of scale. We can’t lose the perspective of the individual. It is about the ‘one,’ but also the ocean of ‘ones’ – we need to work drop by drop. This is where the private sector brings scale.”

Henry Yap
Undersecretary for the Department of Human Settlements and. Urban Development, Government of the Philippines

“We believe that the successful implementation of any program does not only address the housing needs but has a positive impact on the lives of the people that we serve. We need common goals and partners to attain a collective aspiration and make a dent in the people that we want to serve.

We have a huge task. In all our activities, we need to persevere and champion (against) these challenges, to help people like you and other stakeholders. We need to address these in our country and all of our countries. This is why we are enticing all sectors, even governments, to work with decent and affordable housing.”

Ruby Haddad
Coordinator, Homeless Peoples’ Federation Philippines

“By inviting local communities in making processes and giving them space to initiate dialogues with different actors, it empowers them to take on new initiatives.

In this housing Forum, where we believe people’s processes, is the collaboration with all levels of governments, private sector, academia, helps to spread out these initiatives, if we are committed to address the housing needs of people and achieve the SDGs by 2030.”

Jonghyo Nam
Chief Technical Advisor for Climate Change, UN-Habitat

“What really sets the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum apart is the collective commitment to translate our thoughts into action. The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum is a catalyst for change.

Let’s champion housing solutions. We are more than delegates, we are agents of change.”

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