As Iraq’s estimated housing shortage reached approximately 2 million housing units in 2010, the recent conducted assessment did not reveal significant progress due to several factors encountered the construction sector in general in the country. The experts who gathered from the different concerned federal ministries as well as from the KRG, and Baghdad mayoralty, concluded that centralized systems of housing delivery can no longer address the country’s increasing housing deficit, and focused their discussions on how the Government will establish an enabling environment to support the engagement of other actors in radically scaling up housing provision; in particular the private sector and individuals.
H.E. Dr. Anne Nafe’ Aussi, the Minister of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works, opened the discussion and acknowledged the previous efforts and confirmed that the implementation of the policy was hindered by political, social, economic and urban challenges that transformed into conflicts after 2014. This coincided with the drop in oil prices in addition to the exacerbation of the displacement burden and the unprecedented destruction in the areas that witnessed the confrontation with ISIL. In its remarks, the Minister emphasised on the importance of the discussions to help the government to adopt explicit policies with action plans and timetables, budgets and enforced regulations to accelerate reconstruction and return to the retaken areas from ISIL as well as to establish an enhanced framework for all concerned ministries and institutions to enable providing decent and affordable housing for all citizens.
Dr. Erfan Ali, the Head of UN-Habitat in Iraq, confirmed that the right to housing is internationally recognized as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living. In line with this, “housing adequacy” should be always measured against a list of key factors including: legal security of tenure; availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure; affordability; habitability; accessibility; location; and cultural adequacy. Dr. Ali clarified that the policy is built on thorough analysis of key thematic areas relevant to the housing sector; access to land, access to finance, housing production, building materials, infrastructure, housing management and maintenance and informal settlements. He reiterated the commitment of UN-HABITAT to support the Government of Iraq as it implements this policy, and looks forward to seeing the progressive realization of making housing in the centre of all urban related policies and providing adequate housing for all the people of Iraq.
To share learnt lessons, the experience of the Jordanian Ministry of Housing and Public Works was presented during the event, in addition to a comprehensive presentation of the Jordan Affordable Housing project of UN-Habitat to provide affordable housing provisions through private sector and no subsidies for the Jordanian hosting communities and Syrian refugees in Jordan.
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