The Global Housing Strategy, mandated by Governing Council resolution 23/16, guides the programmatic work for Housing and Slum Upgrading area. It assists member States to analyze their housing policies and formulate housing strategies and interventions that are gender-responsive. The overall objective of Housing and Slum Upgrading area is to increase access to adequate housing, improve the standard of living in existing slums and curb the growth of new slums in an inclusive manner.

Objective and Strategy

Housing and Slum Upgrading area makes a substantive and progressive contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, targeting slums. The strategy for implementing the work programme is based on a twin-track approach that focuses on improving the supply and affordability of serviced land and new housing opportunities at a scale that aims at curbing both the growth of existing slums and the creation of new slums, while also implementing city-wide and national slum upgrading programmes to improve housing conditions and the quality of living conditions in existing slums. In summary, the strategy, through the development of the Global Housing Strategy to the Year 2025 and its implementation, comprises the following elements:

  • Evaluation of the results of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the year 2000, to understand both its achievements and its failures through the analysis of case studies and the identification of best practice, innovative approaches and modalities built on lessons learned;
  • Development and implementation of a global housing strategy (as called for in Governing Council resolution 23/16), through a participatory process, including regional and national housing policy dialogues targeting improvements in adequate housing delivery and the living conditions of slum dwellers. The global housing strategy promotes a paradigm shift in housing policy and practice, which includes the adoption of evidence-based, well-informed and results-based policies. Innovations in implementation include crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding and the fostering of unprecedented large-scale partnerships via the social and professional media, including efforts to enhance the role of the academic sector in serving communities and to enlist the services of professionals in volunteering and the private sector in contributing through corporate responsibility modalities. Such innovations enlarge the scale of activities and increase outreach, participation and inclusiveness, while reducing costs and the environmental footprint;
  • Provision of support to local and national authorities in their efforts to develop housing strategies based on the principles and guidelines provided by the Global Housing Strategy. This is achieved through the promotion of increased access to adequate housing, slum upgrading and prevention, and community development through five cross-cutting strategies: advocacy; knowledge management; policy advice; capacity development at the local, regional and global levels; and operational implementation support. Guidance is developed to support partners to interact and work in a concerted way to implement their mandates and roles; capacity is developed to support this through dedicated strategies and programmes, including human resources, tool development, resource and organizational development, and institutional strengthening components;
  • Enhancing the opportunities to achieve a perceptible impact at the country level by catalyzing the concerted efforts of key actors, including local and national governments, civil society, universities, the private sector, the media, international stakeholders and others by encouraging the establishment of national Habitat committees (General Assembly resolution 62/198) to act as national focal points in urban and housing development, slum improvement and prevention, and community development.