The call for affordable housing for sustainable development takes center stage at ninth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum in Korea 

The call for affordable housing for sustainable development takes center stage at ninth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum in Korea 

  • The Forum held for the first time in South Korea is organized by global nonprofit housing organization, Habitat for Humanity, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
  • Under the theme of “Enabling Sustainable and Affordable Housing in Informal Settlements,” the two-day conference gathers 300 stakeholders to discuss and create innovative housing solutions.

Suwon, South Korea, October 26, 2023 – High level representatives from the public sector and civil society shared their insights into the need for affordable and sustainable domestic, regional and global housing solutions at the opening plenary session of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum today. They were Oh Byoung-kwon, 1st Vice Governor for Administrative Affairs, Gyeonggi Province; Jae-joon Lee, Mayor of Suwon City; Srinivasa Popuri, Chief, Multi Country Programme Office of UN HABITAT; Dr. Renu Khosla, Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence and Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Reckford said, Partnerships are a necessity as we face a global housing crisis, which has shown no signs of slowing down. Right now, 1.1 billion people are living in slums and other informal settlements, where they have very limited access to basic services such as clean water, sanitation, and electricity. They also lack land and property rights”. He added “by focusing on both building homes ourselves and building systemic solutions with partners, Habitat for Humanity is working toward reducing the global housing deficit.”

According to a United Nations study, the Asia-Pacific region’s urban dwellers will rise to more than 2.8 billion by 2030 and reach nearly 3.5 billion in 2050. Luis Noda, Asia-Pacific Vice President of Habitat for Humanity International, called for active participation to create sustainable, affordable housing solutions. “Let this forum be the space for you to challenge assumptions, network with peers, have deeper conversations, and take bold, collective action.”

The ninth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum started today at the ibis Ambassador Hotel in Suwon, South Korea. Under the theme of “Enabling Sustainable and Affordable Housing in Informal Settlements,” this year’s conference is held in South Korea for the first time since the inaugural event in 2007. The Housing Forum brings together over 300 stakeholders, including government officials, housing experts, academics, nongovernmental organizations and members of the local private sector to address relevant challenges and discuss creative solutions for housing in the Asia-Pacific region.         

Day One of the Housing Forum will have pertinent discussions on sustainable approaches for adequate housing under four topics:

  • The Hidden Value of Informal Settlements;
  • Affordable Greening Technologies and Climate Change Adaptation on a Household Level;
  • Trends and Opportunities in Housing Microfinance Space in Asia-Pacific; and 
  • Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era. 

In the afternoon, the focus will be on the Housing Forum’s Innovation Awards that will see six finalists ― entrepreneurs, startups and representatives from government housing agencies ― pitching to a live audience. The awards celebrate outstanding initiatives, technology and programs that are creative, sustainable and practical in solving the housing challenges faced by vulnerable and low-income communities.         

Day Two of the Housing Forum will include groundbreaking discussions such as:

  • Policy Solutions for Urban Informal Settlements;
  • Use of Financial Technology Solutions to Expand Access to Affordable Housing; and
  • Influencing Reduction in Housing Deficit through Policy and System Change.

Since the inaugural forum in 2007, the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum has brought together over 12,000 participants from across Asia-Pacific and beyond. This edition of the Housing Forum is supported by its global gold sponsor Hilti Foundation and other partners: UN-Habitat, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence, EU SWITCH-Asia, and the University of New South Wales.

A series of associated events that included a Youth Assembly and Business Assembly as part of the Eighth Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-8), was held in conjunction with the main Housing Forum. In the lead-up to the Forum, preliminary events were held in Nepal, Tonga, Indonesia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Philippines from April to September 2023.

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