From the Kyoto Protocol to Durban Summit, through meetings in Cancun and Copenhagen, the Member States of the United Nations have attempted to overcome the challenge of combining economic development and environmental protection. However, the social and economic gaps that exist between developed and developing countries highlight the need for new arrangements adapted to the reality of each country.

The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 showed us a new direction to take to make the city a viable and livable model of sustainable human habitat. Agreements resulting from this conference have established a number of mechanisms such as Agenda 21, a management tool for urban planning. Progress since then has been significant, however, twenty years later, there is a lot still to be done. The world, increasingly urbanized and increasingly complex, faces three visible facets of a crisis: economic, social and environmental, which are growing signs of a clear change of era and a necessary transition to a new urban culture.

The next Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro (Rio +20) next June highlights the need for a transition to a "green economy". This opens an unprecedented opportunity to take into account the relevant territorial scale and develop economic activities that improve regional cohesion by integrating measures for recovery and / or preservation of the environment in development planning.
The consideration of environmental issues in territorial management requires the application of the concept of sustainable development as a guideline for the implementation of policies and tools that focus on reducing the negative impacts of the human activity on the planet and its ecosystems.

habitat piuraHabitat and housing policies

Experiences of public-private partnerships and privatization of policies for low cost housing managed to meet the demand of a segment of the population (in the case of Latin America, the emerging middle classes), however, they were not the most appropriate instruments to provide housing for the most disadvantaged people.
The high proportion of economic activity that takes place in the informal sector, and the high proportion of informal housing, restrict the scope of the redistribution policies in housing.

Why the housing crisis in developing countries persists despite the active participation of international cooperation, government, private sector, housing corporations, developers and even  families themselves?

Knowing that the informal housing markets work the same way as the formal housing market, what kind of adjustments in the design of current housing policies are needed?

In the 70-80's, the Latin American governments have played a central role in supporting co-production of dwellings, today, the question is: how can we have an ongoing support from the State that could be at the same time, flexible, in order to avoid the diminution of quality of the projects over time as it happened during past experiences?

To what extend local housing policies can be considered as sustainable policies?

This discussion will be followed by an International Roundtable which will be held in Piura, Peru, in April 2012

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