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New name reflects increased urban focus for UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management

New name reflects increased urban focus for UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management

Today, more than half of the world population lives in cities – a number expected to grow to 70% by 2030. The concern about the pressure a growing urban population will put on cities in the future is unmistakably reflected in the distinctly urban component of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, SDG 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, as well as in recent international and regional agreements, such as the New Urban Agenda, and the Geneva UN Charter on Housing and Sustainable Development.

Since the adoption of these agreements, UNECE’s Committee on Housing and Land Management has broadened the scope of its activities to tackle emerging urban challenges in the UNECE region, including environmental sustainability, real estate market stability, informal settlements, energy efficiency, etc.

However, the name of the Committee and its areas of work have not changed since 2006, and the current name thus does not adequately reflect the content of the work of the Committee.

In order to reflect more accurately the higher priority given by member States to urban issues, as well as the expanded scope of its work, the Committee’s name was changed to “Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management” at its 79th session (4-5 October).

The Committee also discussed projects and initiatives on smart sustainable cities. Delegates endorsed key conclusions and recommendations of a smart sustainable city profile for the town of Voznesensk (Ukraine), which was developed by UNECE in cooperation with the city government. The Voznesensk city profile highlights the need for the town to develop more sustainable and stable financing for its urban infrastructure, reduce the energy consumption and further explore possibilities for the use of alternative energy sources for lighting and heating, facilitate tourism and a more effective and inclusive provision of social services.

The Committee endorsed revised guidelines on condominium ownership which provide guidance on issues requiring legal-regulatory intervention, capacity building, the design of financing schemes, and best practices. The revised guidelines on the management and ownership of condominium housing expanded the scope of the previous document issued in 2003 to address contemporary housing management challenges.

The delegates were also presented with key conclusions of the Country Profile of Housing and Land Management of Belarus, which highlighted significant advancement in housing policy, urban planning and development and land administration system since the publication of the previous Country Profile in 2008. The conclusions underlined the need to:

  • increase the volume of housing construction, especially to meet the housing needs of low-income households to ensure labour mobility;
  • increase competitiveness in the supply of construction materials and increase spending on financial R&D in the housing sector;
  • improve the platform for data collection, introduce the system of authentic registers and amend the taxation system; and
  • introduce a more comprehensive National Urban Policy that would include a vision for cities as well as the overall city system of the country.

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