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Armenia to build on progress in housing sector but faces persisting challenges including access to affordable and decent housing and mitigation of disaster risks

Published: 12 September 2017

Armenia has made considerable progress in implementing sustainable housing and land management policies, but significant challenges remain in terms of access to decent housing and mitigation of disaster risks.

These are some of the findings of the Second UNECE Country Profile on Housing and Land Management of Armenia, launched at a national workshop in Yerevan on 11 September 2017.

The Country Profile identifies significant progress made since 2004 when the First Country Profile was prepared.

The Government has taken actions to improve its legal and regulatory framework for energy efficiency for buildings as a contribution to meeting its international obligations on climate change. Under its energy saving strategy, the Government has targeted an aggregate energy saving in residential buildings of 23% by 2020 compared to 2010 levels.

The Government of Armenia has also established an effective land administration system. All real estate is registered in the cadastre, property rights have been secured, and a real estate transfer system today is based on the effective registration of property rights. Armenia provides efficient services of property and land rights registration for its citizens.

Whilst progress has been achieved through a wide range of initiatives, the UNECE Country Profile also identifies persisting challenges and areas for improvement. It provides policy recommendations for the government to further improve its legal and institutional framework and implement specific actions in the areas of housing, urban development and land administration.

Armenia has high risks related to geophysical hazards (such as earthquakes, landslides and mudflows, hail storms, etc.). The Government has adopted a number of laws and regulation on seismic hazard reduction and emergency management. Design and construction regulations have been revised to reflect actual seismic hazards and to ensure more accurate identification of the seismic load on buildings. At the same time, damages from the 1988 Spitak earthquake are yet to be fully liquidated, with some of the 517,000 people left homeless after the earthquake not receiving access to adequate housing.

Access to adequate and decent housing remains the main challenge in the housing policy of Armenia. Sixty thousand families, or about 8 per cent of households, require improvement of their living conditions and 8,000 families live in dormitories and rooms adapted as dwellings. More than 50% of multi-apartment buildings should be renovated to improve earthquake resistance and energy-efficiency.

The Government has adopted the National Strategy on Developing Social Housing Stock, but it lacks regulations on a number of issues on social housing provision and the affordable rental sector. There is a need to develop a comprehensive strategy for the housing sector, paying special attention to instruments to promote greater efficiency in the housing market.

The findings and recommendations of the Smart Sustainable City Profile of Goris, conducted as part of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities programme led by UNECE in cooperation with ITU, were also discussed at the workshop.

Based on the recommendations of the Country and City Profiles, the Government of Armenia, together with the support of UNECE, UN-Habitat and the UNDP office in Armenia, elaborated a draft National Action Plan on Sustainable Housing and Urban Development. A consultation was carried out on the draft National Action Plan during the workshop with the participation of representatives of different ministries and stakeholders.

Mr. Narek Sargsyan, Chairman of Armenia's State Urban Development Committee, considered that "the National Action Plan with proposed activities based on a comprehensive analysis prepared by international and national actors will support the government in its efforts towards improving the quality of life of people of Armenia".

The Country Profile and the Smart Sustainable City Profile of Goris are the beginning of a new chapter on cooperation for the implementation of a National Action Plan on Sustainable Housing and Urban Development,” said Ms Ivonne Higuero, Director of the UNECE Forests, Land and Housing Division, on the launch of the two assessments. 

The national workshop was jointly organized by the State Urban Development Committee of the Government of Armenia, UNECE, UN-Habitat, and the UNDP Office in Armenia, and financially supported through the United Nations Development Account project “Strengthening national capacities for sustainable housing, urban development and land management”. The preparation of the Country Profile on Housing and Land Management was financially supported by the Russian Federation with in-kind contributions from OECD, and Her Majesty’s Land Registry of England and Wales.

The Second UNECE Country Profile on Housing and Land Management of Armenia is available at https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/hlm/documents/Publications/cp.armenia.2017.pdf

For more information, please contact:

Cecilia Batac

Programme Coordinator "Country Profiles on Housing and Land Management"

UNECE housing and Land Management Unit

Email: Cecilia.Batac@unece.org

Telephone: +41 (0)22 917 21 38

Note to editors

UNECE Country Profiles on Housing and Land Management are “snapshots” of the housing, urban development, and land administration and management issues within a country. They are major undertakings where in-depth research and discussion between partners form a large part of the work. They are conducted upon request of UNECE member States, coordinated by the secretariat and drafted by independent international experts. The Country Profiles contain recommendations for improving policies and practices in housing, urban development, and land administration and management. The UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management monitors and supports the implementation of Country Profile recommendations.

For more information on the Country Profiles, please visit: http://www.unece.org/housing/countryprofiles.html

The project “Strengthening national capacities for sustainable housing and urban development in countries with economies in transition,” financed by the ninth tranche of the UN Development Account, provides support to UNECE countries with economies in transition. The project has supported the four pilot countries of Armenia, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia and Tajikistan in the formulation and implementation of relevant policies and the development of National Action Plans for Sustainable Housing and Urban Development. For further information, please visit: http://www.unece.org/housing/unda.html)

 


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