Geneva, 7 September 2021 – UN-Habitat, together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Housing Europe, will launch the results of the #Housing2030 initiative next month that will help national and local governments in formulating solutions and policies that offer improved affordable housing.

The #Housing2030 toolkit on Improving Housing Affordability will be launched on October 6th during the Ministerial Meeting on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Since its foundation, UN-Habitat has worked to promote the realisation of the right to adequate housing. A commitment to housing for all is a transformative force that can contribute to the world overcoming challenges related to climate change, poverty, exclusion, and inequality. It can also influence cities to embark on a broader path to inclusive, planned, and sustainable urbanisation.

In the “Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals” leading up to 2030, UN-Habitat committed to ensure that the growth of cities and nations around the world translates into more equally distributed opportunities and positive outcomes, and that no-one and no place is left behind.

Affordability is one of the elements of the right to adequate housing and increasing housing affordability is critical in reaching the goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The lack of affordable solutions often pushes people into sharing overcrowded and unsafe dwellings or moving into areas with little access to employment and education opportunities, healthcare, or green spaces.

While accessing and sustaining decent accommodation is primarily an issue for those living on low incomes, increasingly people --including young people and the elderly, particularly in big cities - are affected by the lack of affordable housing.

According to Eurobarometer, housing is increasingly a matter of concern for European citizens. That is in line with the finding of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that house prices have been growing three times faster than household median income over the last two decades.

Furthermore, the challenge of better understanding how to increase access to quality and affordable housing in various contexts, how to formulate and deliver targeted policy responses, and how to measure housing affordability has become more urgent by the growing income instability triggered by the economic spillovers of COVID-19.

Research conducted by the #Housing2030 authors, as well as the mobilisation of over 56 governments and 43,000 affordable housing providers and neighbourhood developers, have allowed for the development of key concepts and the identification of best practices in four focus areas:  i) land policy and planning strategies, ii) funding and financing instruments, iii) good governance, and iv) environmental and energy standards.

The toolkit will be a valuable support for reforming housing systems in the ECE region as it encourages policymakers to understand the unique drivers of unaffordable housing in their cities and regions and to find, adapt, and combine policy instruments to address local needs and conditions.

Above all, the toolkit supports policy making that play a purposeful and long-term role in shaping more affordable and sustainable housing outcomes. Rather than prescribing a blueprint, it provides definitions of useful approaches, outline their advantages and disadvantages, and illustrate their practical application.

The publication of the toolkit is also marking a new phase of the initiative: the Housing2030 website, which will also be presented at the Ministerial Meeting, will continue to gather and provide resources, as well as a platform for sharing progress by UNECE member states.

The Ministerial Meeting is also expected to endorse the regional action plan for the UNECE region “#Housing 2030: promoting sustainable housing as part of the recovery and rebuilding plans after the COVID-19 pandemic.” Based on available data, there is a correlation between sustainability and affordability because without adequate housing societies become more susceptible to shocks such as a pandemic.

Link to register for the session: