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UNECE and UN-HABITAT delivering as one in the Commonwealth of Independent States
St. Petersburg, 27 January 2010

In countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), affordable housing has yet to become a reality. The region lacks a social rental housing market and its multifamily housing stock needs urgent restructuring. There is the additional problem of buildings that have become uninhabitable as the result of natural disasters like earthquakes.  
UNECE’s Country Profiles of the housing sector, performed in several CIS countries over the last years, have highlighted the challenges and the institutional, legislative, financial and technical gaps that need to be bridged to develop affordable, healthy and greener housing.
These studies have stimulated action at the national level, and prompted some capacity building activities from UNECE, including workshops on topics such as informal settlement formation, social housing, and energy efficiency in buildings. Tools such as the UNECE social housing guidelines or the recently developed Action Plan for Energy Efficiency in Housing have also been developed in response to these needs.  
UN-HABITAT, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, has also become increasingly active in the region in recent years, in particular through the Project Office in Moscow, which serves as the regional hub for the exchange of information for CIS countries on human settlements and urban planning. For instance, in May 2006 UN-HABITAT organised a sub-regional conference on affordable housing in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) in cooperation with the Agency for Construction and Architecture under the Government of Tajikistan, supported by the Ministry for Regional Development of the Russian Federation.  
For the UN to play an even more effective role on housing in the region, UNECE and UN-Habitat have joined forces and developed a work plan for their activities in the CIS region, which they will deliver more effectively through UN-Habitat’s Moscow office. This plan, in the form of a Letter of Agreement, includes joint action on capacity-building workshops, as well as joint communication and fundraising activities.
In particular, during the meeting of the Committee on Cooperation between UN-HABITAT and the CIS Inter-Governmental Council for Cooperation in Construction Area in St. Petersburg on 26 January 2010, it was agreed to develop a joint training course on affordable housing for CIS countries.
According to Sergei Kruglik, Russian Deputy-Minister for Regional Development, the new initiative “will join the expertise of the two UN bodies in delivering a concrete and practical training course on a crucial topic for CIS countries such as affordable housing”. Mr. Kruglik, who is responsible for developing affordable housing policies in Russia, currently chairs the CIS Inter-Governmental Council for Cooperation in Construction Area.
UNECE and UN-HABITAT identified training as a concrete capacity building measure that would allow CIS countries to upgrade their knowledge and skills regarding existing housing tools and mechanisms, discuss with experts the problems they face in their everyday work and create a regional network of professionals. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) will bring its assistance and expertise in developing an appropriate training approach and methodology.  
For further information, please contact:
Paola Deda

Secretary to the Committee on Housing and Land Management

UNECE Environment, Housing and Land Management Division

Tel: +41 (0)22 917 2553

Tatiana Khabarova

Habitat Programme Manager

9, Leontyevsky pereulok

Moscow, Russian Federation

Tel: + 7495 787 22 53

Ref: ECE/ENV/10/P02

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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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Email: [email protected]

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