The UN-Habitat office in Spain operates as a country office under the Office for Europe and European Institutions. Since 2012, it has focused on the following topics: Representation and Liaison with Spanish key stakeholders for developing strong support from member states and strengthening UN-Habitat´s mandate; Effective Advocacy, Communication and Digital Engagement to inform, influence and mobilize all relevant stakeholders; Innovative and Strategic Partnerships and Resource Mobilization to encourage regional and local bodies and stakeholders to engage in global processes within the framework of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as other global frameworks; and Knowledge Fostering, Programme Support, and Advisory Services for enhancing UN-Habitat´s impact and expertise as a renowned and valued centre of excellence.
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Adequate, accessible and affordable housing is one of the great challenges in Spain. The most serious problems are the following, A) the gradual and constant rise in rental prices, which make it difficult to access housing in the sub-national governments where the highest percentages of rental homes are located (Canary Islands 32.8%, the Balearic Islands 31.8%, Catalonia 28.1% and Madrid 27.0%). In the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Madrid, rental prices have already exceeded historical highs and in Catalonia, they are very close to doing so (data obtained from the Special Housing Bulletin 2018 of the Ministry of Public Works, Housing and Transport). B) the loss of houses in some public parks of the Administrations (they are counted by thousands) and their transfer to investment funds whose only purpose is lucrative. C) the existence of many homeless people who depend entirely on social services (some 23,000 people are counted, although Caritas estimates that they total close to 40,000) and D) the high number of people and families who face real difficulties in accessing affordable housing and who are at obvious risk of social exclusion. (Data from the Spanish Urban Agenda)
Spain is a country very vulnerable to climate change. The alert about the elevation of the average temperature between 5º and 7ºC in summer and between 3 and 4ºC in winter, for the last third of the 21st century, is already an evidence and the effects of climate change are felt in the form of periods of drought ; global values of precipitation below the historical average (this has been the case in the last 4 hydrological years, except for the year 2018); insufficient water storage in the reservoirs (at the end of the hydrological year 2016/17 it reached 33.9% of the total capacity, below the average values of the last 10 years, which was 50.1%); flood damage that exceeds 800 million euros per year and increase in forest area affected by fires.
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UN-Habitat in Spain facilitates collaboration and fosters stakeholder engagement at various levels of government for the implementation, follow up and review of the New Urban Agenda and the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UN-Habitat has supported National Government in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development of Spanish Urban Policies; Regional Governments in the localization of the 2030 Agenda and development of Regional Urban Policies; and Local Governments in the localization of the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
The UN-Habitat office in Spain works both through International Cooperation and the departments of Sustainable Urban Development at all levels.
The office of UN-Habitat in Spain promotes strategic and multi-stakeholder partnerships, platforms and networks to facilitate up-scaling of good practices and influencing policies and actions at national, regional and local levels. It also provides support through effective communication, awareness, and networking with stakeholders, such as other UN agencies, Academy, Professionals, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Private Sector, to promote the Sustainable Urban Development and the New Urban Agenda.