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UNECE survey shows that energy efficiency, housing affordability and disaster preparedness are key challenges in housing and land management in the region

According to a survey just released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the most important challenges faced by countries in Europe and Central Asia in the areas of housing and urban planning are:

- Inefficient use of energy in the housing sector and deteriorated housing stock 
- Persisting problems of housing affordability, especially for young people due to the financial and economic crisis

According to Eurostat, in 2010, an estimated 10 % of the EU-27 population lived in households that spent 40 % or more of their disposable income on housing*)

- Increased damages to housing and human settlements from climate change and other natural and human made disasters.

Only in the United States, during 2012, natural disasters killed 180 people and affected another 90,000, causing economic damage of approx. USD 75 billion**)

Over 237,000 people were displaced in Europe during the last five years, with 74,000 only in 2012***

This survey report, “Challenges and priorities in Housing and Land Management in the UNECE Region,” also shows that member States have been working to develop policies and implement UNECE guidelines in housing and land management.  Thirty countries provided examples that show how they have addressed housing challenges.

Examples fall under the following areas and typologies: 


*) http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Housing_statistics#Housing_affordability

**) The International Disaster Database: http://www.emdat.be/result-country-profile?disgroup=natural&country=usa&period=2012$2012

***) www.internal-displacement.org

In addition, they are committed to undertaking further action in order to provide more socially equitable, economically sound and environmentally sustainable housing and urban environments in their countries.

The report provides information on: the main actors engaged in housing, urban planning, land administration and management; the main policy instruments to address housing issues, including housing affordability; the progress made by member States; and examples that show how countries have implemented ECE policy recommendations, guidelines and other tools.

The report, discussed at the 74th session of the Committee on Housing and Land Management on 7 October 2013,  is available at http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/hlm/documents/2013/ece.hbp.2013.02.e.pdf

For more information on the survey, please visit: www.unece.org/index.php?id=32577

Note to editors

About the 74th session of the Committee on Housing and Land Management
The 74th session of the Committee on Housing and Land Management, which opened on 7 October, brought together over 200 participants from 54 countries, including 52 UNECE member States. The Committee session will review its past activities and plan future activities on housing, land administration and urban development. The day will include thematic discussions on energy efficiency in housing and on ageing and accessibility in cities.

On 8 October 2013, at a Ministerial Meeting on Housing and Land Management, ministers from throughout the UNECE region will consider a strategy to promote the green and inclusive growth of human settlements and the long-term sustainability of housing and land management in the UNECE region. This includes specific targets for improving the resilience of buildings to natural and human-generated disasters and for the territorial planning of hazard-prone areas.

On 9 October, the session will follow up on the outcomes of the Ministerial meeting and will consider the future directions of the Committee's work.

About the survey
The survey was conducted by the secretariat during October and November 2012 upon the request of the Committee on Housing and Land Management (ECE/HBP/170).


The main objectives of the survey were, first, to obtain the views of the Member States and other stakeholders on the challenges which they are facing in housing, urban planning and land management; and, second, to assess the progress made by Member States with regard to developing policies, legislation and programmes in the above mentioned fields.

The outcome of the survey has been used by the Committee to formulate the objectives and targets of its “Draft strategy and targets for sustainable housing and land management in the UNECE region for the period 2014 – 2020” (ECE/HBP/2012/3) and priority directions for the work of the Committee.

About the Committee on Housing and Land Management
The UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management, established in 1947 to provide support to governments in the post-war reconstruction of the housing stock in Europe, is one of UNECE’s oldest Committees.  It is the only intergovernmental body where policies for housing, urban management and land administration are discussed at an intergovernmental level in the region. The Committee’s work is supported by the Working Party on Land Administration, which specifically deals with issues related to land management and real estate markets and by the Real Estate Market Advisory Group, representing the private sector.

For aditional information, please contact:
Ms. Doris Andoni
Housing and Land Management Unit
Email: housing.landmanagement @unece.org
Telephone : +41 (0)22 917 2448