Housing is a fundamental human need that can influence public health, security and wellbeing of both present and future generations. With over 50% of Albania’s inhabitants currently residing in urban areas, the transition toward more sustainable housing in the country could have an extremely positive impact. In order to accelerate this transition, UNECE and the Ministry of Urban Development of the Republic of Albania signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop cooperation on sustainable housing. The first tangible element in this cooperation will be the establishment of the Geneva United Nations Charter Centre of Excellence in Tirana. This MoU will provide a framework within which the parties will develop and undertake activities and projects to promote the principles of the Geneva UN charter on Sustainable Housing.
This collaboration will promote research and knowledge sharing, training and capacity building in addition to financial and in-kind support. Activities will include the translation and printing of the Charter in the Albanian language, the production of supporting documentation and organization of international, national and subnational meetings to disseminate information. UNECE will facilitate and supervise the work of the Centre of Excellence, promote the goals and objectives of the Charter and coordinate the cooperation and exchange of experience between the network of centres of excellence.
The Albanian Minister of Urban Development, Mrs. Eglantina Gjermeni, declared: “The Centre of Excellence that will be established in Albania is a great initiative, much needed for our country. We will work to transform this Centre into a focal point for the Balkan region. The Centre will not only enhance further cooperation among our countries，but will also encompass housing and sustainable development on a regional level”.
UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach said “In our region, many cities are struggling to address the multiple challenges of our time: ageing, migration, inequality and security, in a difficult economic and financial context. But they are also key engines of transformation, living laboratories that can generate innovative solutions to these problems. By establishing a UN Charter Centre of Excellence in Tirana, we will be contributing to forge these solutions and taking one step towards achieving SDG 11: making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
For further information on the UN charter and UNECE’s work on Housing and Land management, please visit: http://www.unece.org/housing.html
Note to editors
The Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing, a non-legally binding document that aims to support member States as they seek to ensure access to decent, adequate, affordable and healthy housing for all, was endorsed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on 16 April 2015. The Charter includes the following four principles which form the basis of sustainable housing: Environmental protection; Economic effectiveness; Social inclusion and participation and Cultural adequacy. The Charter on Sustainable Housing is a comprehensive document which reflects the content of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals and especially the SDG 11 on human settlements.