Kuwait 23 May 2016—UN-Habitat recently launched the “GCC Strategic Housing Profile,” in partnership with Kuwait Foundation of Advancement Sciences (KFAS) and Arab Town Organization (ATO) at UN’s Head Office, Mishref.
The GCC regional workshop held for three days was marked by various decision makers from around the GCC countries, who hold positions at either private sectors real estate developers and senior governmental officials from the public authority for housing and welfare, senior officials from Municipality urban planning and housing ministries, Land related departments in Governorates.
Director General of Strategic Planning of the GCC secretariat, “The housing workshop was launched in an effective time in the GCC region, especially as countries are shifting from conventional housing delivery, inviting interested potential to learn and be updated about the new housing policies and urban development strategies.”
He further added, the workshop will highlight the importance of government involvement in housing policy development in the region putting more emphasis on how both private and governmental sector involvement leads towards a more enabling environment due to the expected growth demand in which a new housing approach is required.

For more than 40 years, UN-Habitat has been working in human settlement programs for housing and cities through out the world by supporting sustainability in developing urban areas with a main focus on building brighter futures for developing cities and towns guiding them on the right policies for shelter and housing.  UN-Habitat’s international experts will discuss new ideas of public and private sectors partnerships and the developing options and opportunities to engage the private sectors in housing problems effectively.

“The Gulf Countries Housing Policies workshop is happening at a time when the world has agreed to put sustainable cities and communities at the core of the new development goals and dedicate goal 11 of the 17 agreed goals for enhancing cities and creating housing communities for people,” said Mr.. Tarek El Sheikh Regional Representative for Gulf States, UN-Habitat. El-Sheikh continued, we meet today to strategise together with Gulf countries towards working together and exchanging lessons from Gulf experience in responding to housing demands and setting a framework for future cooperation with the UN Habitat to align strategies with the Global Housing Strategies for the year 2025.
The three day workshop had practical orientation with plenary presentations and interactive sessions that will cover a broad of scopes of design policies, housing policies, policy intervention, housing loans, credit management giving attendees an understanding of the GCC housing sector/market in general with particular emphasis to Kuwait.  El-Sheikh pointed out that the GCC region is considered globally as one of the fastest growing in terms of population in the world and within the last five years, the GCC countries population growth rate exceeded 4% per year.  He stressed, climate change has played a large role in shifting the nature of the Gulf’s state arid and warm environment calling and requiring all GCC governments to re-strategize their housing strategies within an overall urban policy in order to meet the rising demand.
Mr. El-Sheikh ended by saying participants of the workshop will understand ways to design sustainable housing programmes in Kuwait and elsewhere in the region that suits and are tailored to the new urban development agenda demands. Emphasis is put on, how the institutional framework of the housing sector in Kuwait relates to international trends and practice and importantly the differentiation between demand and supply analysis with an in-depth absorption between affordability and ability to pay.
Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Science (KFAS)’ mandate focuses on supporting knowledge based economy and dissemination of science and technology in the country, as well as nurturing an environment for innovation and creativity UN-Habitat and KFAS strategic objectives are aligned in that sense.
KFAS believes sponsoring this workshop will help grow attendees understanding of what is needed for a future generation’s well-being and how they can elevate their living standards to enjoy the quality of life in their geographical area. It is worth mentioning last year Habitat launched the City Prosperity Index (CPI) and the Composite Street Connectivity (CSCI) at the Urban Observatory workshop held in Kuwait. The CPI and CSCI are important indices that measure inequalities in cities by providing experts a way to monitor and track measurable indicators to deliver well defined indicators that can be used to track progress across cities particularly to report on Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.