With the global increase in urbanization rates and the consequent increase in demand for housing and basic urban services, and despite the development of urban policies in many countries, the population of informal and poor areas in the world has increased from 725 million in 2000 to an estimated 889 million in 2020. This increase widened the gap between social groups in urban communities and elevated the vulnerability and deprivation of the poor.
Hence, the issue of adequate housing topped international development agendas, in particular the New Urban Agenda and the Global Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 11: “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and to upgrade slums by 2030”. In 2013, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme issued the Global Housing Strategy to assist member states in supporting the right to adequate housing. In light of the global strategy, the Council of Arab Ministers of Housing and Reconstruction - held in its thirtieth session in December 2013- decided to prepare the Arab Strategy for Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. The General Secretariat of the Arab League assigned great importance to the development of strategies and programs to achieve sustainable development in Arab countries, with the technical support of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and endorsed the strategy in 2016.
Egypt was one of the leading countries that adopted the directions of the global and Arab housing strategies by drawing a road map towards achieving the goals of adequate housing for all. In 2014, Egypt started preparing the Egyptian Housing Profile as a first step to monitor and analyze the sector’s components and challenges in Egypt. This was conducted with the participation of all governmental agencies, academic entities and representatives of relevant local communities. The profile was issued in 2016 in cooperation with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.
Based on the profile. Egypt now leads the Arab countries and many countries internationally by issuing the National Housing Strategy, based on international human rights agreements and treaties. This strategy came in light of the complex circumstances of the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which once again stressed the importance of empowering the right to adequate housing ‒healthy and safe for all. Egypt has endeavored to ensure that the national housing vision is integrated with the sectoral national visions, Egypt’s 2030 vision and the urban and economic development plans, to enhance the interrelationships between the sector and all relevant development and service sectors, and confirm the effectiveness and efficiency of the strategy.
Through analyzing and studying the housing system, its challenges and the country’s attempts to address it, the strategy sets clear policies to deal with the housing challenges through four main topics: topic of existing urban development areas, topic of the existing housing stock and vacant units, topic of challenges and problems related to the low-income housing, and topic related to the dimensions of sustainable development. These policies are supported by a dimension of institutional and administrative sustainability, and the strengthening of the knowledge and information base. The strategy also clarifies the parties concerned with implementing the policies, responsibilities and roles, as well as the required types of interventions (legislative, financial, urban, etc.), and the spatial and sequential framework of each policy in order to achieve maximum return. The strategy developed a unified integrated vision that could effectively direct the sector over the next twenty years with clarity and flexibility.