Written by Gyorgy Sumeghy, Advocacy Manager, Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Habitat III is a United Nations conference on housing and sustainable urban development that took place in Ecuador on 17-21 October 2016. At the end of the conference a comprehensive document called New Urban Agenda was adopted by UN member states. Habitat III has become an historic gathering of 30,000 global delegates (governments, NGOs, academia, urbanists, corporate, housing activists) who discussed the future of cities in light of rapid urbanization. Housing was a key topic of numerous discussions, with multi-stakeholder partnerships appearing as a crucial factor to ensure implementation of the New Urban Agenda. György Sümeghy, Habitat for Humanity EMEA Advocacy Manager, has also spoken on this matter at the conference.
As a part of a huge HFHI delegation to the Habitat III Conference I participated in a panel discussion Triple Win: People, Public, and Private Partnerships for More Livable Cities and Communities. In this session, practitioners and participants in successful People Public Private Partnerships (PPPPs) diagnosed and presented practical advice on how this approach works by bringing public and private resources into alignment with community priorities through active collaboration among stakeholders. In this framework I was invited to present our project Residential Energy Efficiency for Low Income Households (REELIH) in Eastern Europe.
The presentation was based on HFHI’s and USAIS’s experience in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Armenia. All these countries have an underdeveloped market for residential energy efficiency and a complex tenure structure which often becomes a barrier to effective community decision making and proper building maintenance. There is also lack of awareness among home-owners about the relevance of energy efficiency investments. Therefore, what is really needed in order to improve the situation is, first of all, the empowerment of the local community of home-owners so that they can pro-actively engage in energy efficiency projects. Second, facilitation among home-owners, local government, financing institutions, national government, and construction companies is required to make the “eco-system of stakeholders” work.