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close this bookGSS in Action: Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (HABITAT, 1992, 105 p.)
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View the documentForeword
View the documentStrategic planning for better shelter
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View the documentHow to develop a national shelter strategy
View the documentAction at the national level
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Action at the national level

Countries all over the world are acting now, studying, formulating and implementing new shelter strategies. Most of them have UNCHS (Habitat) support, through technical cooperation projects. The following overview shows national activities being carried out at the start of 1991.

Afghanistan has commenced the formulation of a national shelter strategy. The Government is also under taking a project (AGG/86/033) with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance to improve the output of in digenous building materials, improve affordable waterproofing of traditional roofs, and disseminate building techniques through pilot low-cost housing projects. A comprehensive plan for solid-waste management in Kabul has also been prepared with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance (AGG/86/024).

Algeria has an ambitious programme to construct 200,000 housing units in the 1990s. UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance in Algeria is focused on assessment of raw materials and resources for its building industry, and research and training activities for the development of local building materials and construction labour. (ALG/80/013 and ALG/88/018).

Angola organized a national workshop on shelter and services with UNCHS (Habitat) collaboration. A variety of legislative and administrative reforms are being initiated to encourage the involvement of the private sector and the Government has set up a multi-sectoral Housing Committee for the formulation of a national shelter strategy. A re quest for technical cooperation in national shelter strategy formulation is pending.

Anguilla has enacted legislation on land development and has upgraded the existing Building Ordinance and Regulations in an effort to encourage orderly development of housing.

Argentina has established a National Committee for Habitat made up of governmental and private organizations, with the objective of implementing the guidelines contained in the Global Strategy, within the concept of sustainable development, with special emphasis on the integration of the shelter sector with economic development, improvement of living conditions, and efficient planning and management of settlements.

Australia has established a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Housing Access which will provide a focus for directing particular attention to ways of dealing with homelessness and inadequate housing, en courage cooperation among NGOs working in the housing sector and formulate non-government sector views on policy issues relating to the objectives of the strategy.

Bahrain has adopted a comprehensive National Land-use Plan for the year 2001 which has been prepared with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (BAH/87/002). The Plan will channel development into areas which are most suitable and also reduce negative environmental impacts. It will enable the formulation of policies to achieve a balance between pressures for development and the need to protect finite resources.

Bangladesh has developed mechanisms for the issue of housing loans without collateral to enable the poor to first increase the material base and then improve the essential parts of a relatively permanent house through the Grameen Bank Housing Programme. It has also effectively involved community groups. NGOs and private-sector firms through a UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted development project (BGD/86/044) in Chittagong and is implementing a municipal services and environmental improvement programme in Dhaka and Chittagong with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance.

Refer to: "A bank that trusts the poor"

Barbados has prepared a National Housing Plan which broadly outlines the strategies to achieve the overall goal of improved shelter conditions. The Plan calls for expanding the private sector's role in the provision of housing and decreasing the Government's role in housing production, increased resources for maintenance and upgrading of existing housing stock; and a shift from expensive subsidized housing towards developing sites and services and low-cost housing with maximum cost recovery

Benin is implementing a project with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance for the provision of communal infrastructure in rural areas (BEN/07/001). The project has established a decentralized technical assistance institution to: assess local needs with regard to infrastructure; design innovative solutions; select small-scale enterprises for public works; control of execution; surveying, mapping and identifying methods to achieve partial cost recovery and substainability of operations.

Bhutan has created a solid foundation for physical planning with the of an operational planning facility in the context of a UNCHS (Habitat) -assisted project (BHU/84/024) . A policy framework for the urban housing vector is currently under review while a rural housing improvement programme through artisan training and the construction of prototypes based on indigenous architecture is being advanced in each district. A special programme is also being implemented with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance (BHU/87/004) to develop a cadre of skilled civil servants with its capability to plan, execute and evaluate all braining programmes.

Bolivia has undertaken an assessment of past and current programmes, projects and activities in the human settlements sector through a recent UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted project (BOL/90/HSS). With UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance, a project was set up to build up the country's institutional and technical capacities in the housing sector (BOL/84/001). The project's proposal for strengthened planning and monitoring of sectoral capacity have been incorporated in the Executive Decree for Economic Reactivation, under which the National Housing Fund and the Social Housing Institute were created. It has also prepared the legal framework and methodologies and training activities for a new cadastral system and has produced the guidelines for the formulation of a national housing plan.

Refer to: 'Reforms pave the way for a new shelter policy" and "Improved land-registration systems in the Andean highlands

Botswana is implementing its national housing policy with gradual improvements to facilitate the involvement of nongovernmental actors. It has adopted the New Land Allocation Policy for Urban Areas to facilitate the availability of land to shorter developers. It has also investigated the existing practice in planning and design of plots, infrastructure standards and construction practices and has adopted a number of cost-saving design and construction standards.

Brazil is setting up a major revision of its National Housing Policy to set up a new national housing system capable of responding to the needs of all strata of society, with priority given to the needs of the poorest. The new national housing system will address the estimated housing deficit of 10 million units and will be fully integrated with national economic and social development plans. With a target of 4 million housing units for 19901995, about 30 per cent of the current deficit and accumulated demand in that period is expected to be met.

Brunei Darussalam has introduced various incentives in order to on courage people to build their own houses. Housing policies and strategies are currently being reviewed with special emphasis on promoting the involvement of the private sector and NGOs.

Bulgaria is undertaking a number of reforms for the introduction of a market economy in the housing sector. These include the sale of municipal rental housing, provision of loans for home purchase and lifting of restrictions on the price and exchange of individually-owned housing.

Burkina Faso In this country, the shelter policy has had two main lines of action: land reform to increase land supply and increase investments in housing, and construction of infrastructure by the public sector. Through a pilot project (BKF/87/010), UNCHS (Habitat) has supported the reinforcement of the institutional framework at the municipal level, assisted in the preparation of physical plans and provided training in improving urban management A now project has also boon launched with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance to improve urban management and the implementation of a shelter strategy based on the enabling approach of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (BKF/90/006).

Burundi is implementing a UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted project with emphasis on strengthening its institutional and technical capacity to orient the development of secondary cities (BDI/85/010). The country's national shelter strategy focuses on mobilizing finance for urban and rural shelter, supporting the private sector and strengthening the institutional framework for shelter, infrastructure and finance.

The Byelorussian SSR is encouraging cooperative housing societies to adopt free market practices. Individual licenses for land occupation are being granted, and new legislation is planned to introduce the concept of land price.

Cameroon has started to promote the creation of private land-development companies in order to increase the availability of house sites. A programme of decentralization is placing more responsibilities upon the municipalities for the development of sites-and-services programme. Standards for land development and infrastructure are being lowered in order to increase the number of sites available for occupation. Canada has undertaken several initiatives to broaden ac cess to affordable housing for all sectors of the population including the Accessibility and Choice Today (ACT) programme. The ACT programme permits municipalities, the building industry and the third sector to work in partnership to demonstrate how regulatory modifications can improve the affordability and choice of housing.

Cape Verde is undertaking a UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted project to improve access to basic infrastructure to three urban areas - with the bulk of construction activities for roads, drainage, water and electricity supply being undertaken through community participation.

Chile has increased the variety of housing solutions for low-income housing during 1990. The programme includes 19,000 basic houses, 15,000 houses for a special workers' housing scheme, 6000 rural houses and 3800 houses under settlement upgrading programmes. During 1991 an addition al 10,000 basic houses and 10,000 programme houses are planned.

Refer to: "Subsidies for those most in need"

China is increasing the scale of housing construction and is undertaking a variety of reforms to its housing policy, particularly in the legal and financial areas, in order to encourage private ownership of housing.

Colombia has formulated a Social Housing Programme to build 500,000 new houses in four years through reorganization of the shelter sector, decentralization, community participation, private-sector involvement and increased responsibilities for municipalities. With UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (COL/89/006), it has implemented monitoring and assessment methods for the National Housing Policy and has designed manual and computerized procedures for administration of financial issues within the sector. The Land Credit Institute, renamed INURBE, will stop providing houses and will manage the subsidies from different sources. House construction will be taken over by the private sector and CBOs, acting together with local authorities.

Refer to: "New roles for old actors" and "Housing for the poorest - a study in co-operation in Aguablanca, Cali"

Congo has commenced the preparation of a national shelter strategy with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance (PRC/89/FO1). The first planned activity is a shelter needs assessment using the shelter sector performance indicators developed by UNCHS (Habitat) (Habitat). Then five studies are foreseen - dealing with institutions, housing finance, infrastructure, land and the building industry, with the objective of analyzing bottlenecks and providing guidelines for realistic improvements.

Costa Rica is implementing an ambitious housing programme as part of a new housing strategy. The UNCHS (Habitat)/FINNIDA Support Programme (COS/88/004) assists the Government in the consolidation of this strategy. The main focus is on institutional coordination and development of appropriate technologies and standards for upgrading deteriorated housing and construction of low-cost, self-help housing.

Refer to: 'Bamboo for shelter to protect the environment"

Cd'Ivoire undertook a human settlements sector analysis during 1990 which will be the basis for further work on, inter alia, the preparation of a national shelter strategy.

Cuba has prepared a programme for housing up to the year 2000, which, inter alia, includes repair and maintenance of existing housing stock by neigh bourhood groups, the increase of housing construction by the State and cooperatives, and promotion of self-help in housing by the provision of land, credit and building materials.

Czechoslovakia has undertaken reforms to encourage private construction and ownership of houses - which has resulted in an improved quantity and quality of housing, better standards of infrastructure and maintenance.

Denmark has taken action to integrate construction policy with the newly adopted strategy on energy entitled "Energy 2000, Plan of Action for Sustainable Development. "This plan states that energy needed to heat new buildings should be reduced by 25 per cent by 1993 and later by 50 per cent. Recently, building materials have been improved and adapted to the requirements of sustainability. By the year 2000, Denmark expects to increase the housing stock to a level that corresponds to the number of households.

Djibouti has, with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance, prepared a comprehensive sectoral urban analysis and development programme for its short and medium terms. The completed studies include a report defining an efficient sectoral policy of urban development and housing; ena bling measures to be adopted by the Government; analysis of agencies envisaged to contribute in urban investment; analysis of the existing housing stock and the infrastructure; and an investment plan for 5 and 10 years.

Ecuador has recently initiated action towards formulating a national shelter strategy with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (ECU/89/003). The overall goal of the project is to create a self-sustaining system for the delivery of shelter and urban services to the poor. As a prelude to the formulation of a national shelter strategy, Ecuador has started to review the housing sector's operating norms as well as resource management within the relevant institutions.

Egypt is undertaking the following major actions to improve the housing situation: (a) provision of land suitable for construction outside arable zones by developing 12 new cities in the desert areas and building 10 residential agglomerations around Greater Cairo; (b) replacing dilapidated housing stock and building 1.5 million housing units under the five-year plan (1987-1992) with 60 per cent to be produced by the private sector and 40 per cent by the public sector; (c) provision of building materials and training of labour; (d) development of new low-cost housing models; (e) installation of wade-disposal and drainage systems to serve 70 per cent of the population by the year 2000; (f) amendment and modifications of housing legislation in harmony with market mechanisms

Equatorial Guinea As a first step to formulating a National Shelter Strategy, a sectoral study on human settlements was prepared with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (Habitat) in 1990. It showed that the country needed external technical assistance to improve the performance of the shelter sector, and more studies on housing finance and on rental housing.

Ethiopia In recognition of the crucial role played by building materials in the reduction of construction costs, UNCHS (Habitat) has recently started to extend technical assistance to Ethiopia in the development of low-cost building materials and technologies (ETH/87/004). The outputs of the project will include an inventory of imported building materials that can be locally produced, proposals for import-control mechanisms for building materials, standard designs for low-cost buildings and three types of demonstration houses.

Fiji has recently initiated action towards preparation of a national urbanization/housing policy with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (FIJ/89/001). Within the context of this project, a housing needs study has been completed and sectoral studies have been initiated in urban land markets, urban infrastructure, housing finance, municipal management and legislation.

Finland is implementing some fundamental reforms, including a complete overhaul of the financing system. The National Housing Fund, recently established, mobilizes resources from the commercial market, leaving budget funds to be used only for indirect subsidies. A system similar to a graduated mortgage payment has been adopted to increase affordability of loans in the first critical years. At the international level, Finland continues, in cooperation with UNCHS (Habitat), with support programme for preparing national shorter strategies (GLO/87/F02) and has provided support for the Global Strategy for Shelter subregional seminars (GLO/89/F15) and for the development of shelter indicators.

France is placing emphasis on, inter alia, the social equilibrium of cities through specific programmes in the fields of housing and urban development. Now legislative and regulatory measures are being developed in order to extract a contribution from the beneficiaries from land-value appreciation to be used towards urban development.

Gabon has drafted new shelter policies that call for the reduction of building and infrastructure costs, maximum cost recovery from beneficiaries, development of self-sustaining housing-finance systems and reorganization At the institutional framework.

The Gambia has prepared a national housing policy and is following up with a reorganization of the existing institutions in the shelter sector. It plans to set up a suitable housing finance system.

Germany has been continously improving its housing policies and programmes, increasing private-sector construction for ownership and rental, modernizing old stocks, executing urban renewal plans and liberalizing the general tenancy law. Measures taken to address the new housing needs, arising from the reunification and the influx of migrants from neighbouring countries, include: tax incentives for private investors in the form of increased depreciation rates; public subsidies, granted to investors in housing in return for limiting rent levels; and upgrading of existing housing.

Ghana is now reformulating its shelter policies. Emphasis will be on increased access to land, infrastructure and finance, reformulation of building standards, development of local building materials and strengthening of shelter institutions. In collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), K has started a project (GHA/87/023) to develop and evaluate policy options and to strengthen the operational capacity of housing-sector institutions. Ghana, along with other countries, is cooperating with UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank in the development and application of shelter-sector performance indicators (GLO/90/F08).

Grenada has commenced a programme of housing repairs and has formulated a series of recommendations for avoiding scattered settlements, reducing conflicts in land uses, developing sites close to existing settlements and reducing the space requirements of dwellings.

Guinea is strengthening the organizational, management and planning capacities of the economic sectors, including housing and urban develop" meet. This project (GUI/88/001) implemented in collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), includes an evaluation of the role of the shelter sector in overall economic development and the preparation of a national housing development strategy. A major programme to provide 1040 plots equipped with infrastructure and social facilities is being implemented with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance; the evaluation of this project is expected to assist the Government in the formulation of a national shelter strategy.

Guinea Bissau has undertaken a policy of encouraging the private sector through deregulation of the housing sector. The establishment of a housing bank is under consideration.

Hungary has been undertaking reforms gradually to transform the housing sector to a market economy. These include the sale of existing rental housing stock as well as newly-constructed housing. Hungary, along with other countries, is cooperating with UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank in the development and application of shelter sector performance indicators.

India's housing policy has been under review. Meanwhile a number of national-level initiatives have been undertaken. Special provisions to protect the tenurial security of women have been introduced. India's National Housing Bank, has opened a housing account for public-sector agencies and a land development and shelter programme for public agencies. A number of regional housing finance institutions have also been established. The Delhi Rent Control Act has been amended in order to promote investment in rental housing. The Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council has been set up at the national level in order to strengthen the technology transfer mechanism.

Refer to: "Homes for destitute widows in Madipur, New Delhi"

Indonesia The UNCHS (Habitat)/FINNIDA Support programme (INS/88/FO1) assists Indonesia in developing a shelter strategy for the Province of Central Java as a pilot exercise prior to the formulation of a national shelter strategy. A project (INS/89/014) on decentralized provision of essential urban infrastructure executed in collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), will develop sound infrastructure investment and management practices in at least 30 local governments, create guidance, monitoring and assistance capabilities in at least six provincial governments and train approximately 350 local and provincial government managers and staff. Indonesia is implementing $US135 million infrastructure project as part of the Integrated Urban Infrastructure Development Programme (IUIDP).

The Islamic Republic of lran is strengthening the research capabilities of the Building and Housing Research Centre in Tehran, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat). The project (IRA/89/020) is designed to support the Government's efforts to reconstruct war damaged areas and accelerate housing development, through institutional research in building materials and the introduction of new technologies from abroad.

Israel has established a special housing programme to provide shelter for immigrants, including both temporary and permanent housing. A revision of the Building and Planning Law was approved by the Knesset in 1990 to deregulate the housing sector and stimulate rapid construction. National policy measures are under review, including mortgage schemes, the promotion of rental options, increased access to building lands and the continuation of urban revitalization programmes.

Jamaica's National Shelter Strategy is being implemented in stages. Issues currently being addressed are the development of a facilitator role for the Government, upgrading squatter settlements, home improvement and the development of a Land Information System. In collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), Jamaica has also undertaken a review of rent-control legislation to encourage rental housing production by the private sector (JAM/90/FO2).

Japan is addressing the land price problem as a matter of high priority and has taken the following measures: (a) adoption of the Basic Policy on Land at the end of 1990, to prevent the continuing rise in land prices; (b) implementation of policies to decrease land prices; and, (c) reforms in land taxation. Besides, the country continues a very tight financing policy against land speculation.

Jordan has prepared a national shelter strategy and developed the institutional framework for implementing the strategy. With UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance, it has also undertaken a demonstration project (JOR/84/F01) on low-cost sanitation technologies in rural settlements.

Refer to: "A national strategy to solve the shelter problem "

Kenya a national housing strategy for Kenya was prepared by a Government of Kenya task force with the assistance of UNCHS (Habitat). The document presented policy options which are being considered by the Government. With UNCHS (Habitat) assistance, Kenya is also implementing a project (KEN/80/020) that is designed to establish a community-based credit scheme for low-income families.

Kiribati has prepared a preliminary shelter strategy and a proposal for a comprehensive, long-term housing policy is under consideration.

The Lao People's Democratic Republic has recently initiated the formulation of a national shelter its successful experience with the construction of low-cost demostration houses using local building materials such as soil blocks, rice-husk-ash-cement and fibre-cement roofing tiles.

Lesotho has prepared a national shelter strategy as well as a national human settlements policy to develop a balanced national settlements structure, to improve the management of natural resources and to provide a framework for distributing capital investments to promote balanced regional growth. Within the context of a UNCHS (Habitat) assisted project (LES/86/003), a new set of building codes and regulations have been prepared and training courses have been organized for the staff of the newly-established Maseru Municipal Council in the capital city.

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has prepared the Draft National Physical Perspective Plan (1990-2010), set up a comprehensive urban information management system and a programme of evaluation and coordination of regional and master planning with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (LIB/76/X72).

Madagascar's national shelter strategy, currently under formulation, sets up a financing system and real-estate agencies, drafts urban development codes, promotes small- and medium-sized building enterprises and redefines the responsibilities of the executing agencies.

Malawi's shelter strategy is focused on the Rural Housing Project under which small farmers receive loans in building materials to build step-by-step simple shelter units, popularly known as "houses that grow". (MLW/82/C03). A National Physical Development Plan and three district physical development plans have been prepared to provide a spatial framework for the coordination and implementation of sectoral programmes and development projects. The country is setting up a monitoring and evaluation system to cover the physical development plans.

Refer to: "A house that grows"

Malaysia is implementing a national housing policy based on strong financial institutions which support action by the state governments, local authorities and an active private sector, which allocates 30 per cent of all its housing development for low-cost housing. Developers achieve this through cross subsidization in projects and through benefits from a package of incentives. A Management In formation System for the Ministry of Lands and Regional Development has been set up with the support of UNCHS (Habitat), UNDP and the Government of Finland (MAL/87/007).

Maldives is approaching the problem of shelter provision through strategies such as integrated urban planning, growth centre planning and development, urban decentralization and model island development supported by UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (MDV/88/006). UNCHS (Habitat) is also assisting Maldives to develop a solid-waste management system that will replace current disposal practices that have had adverse environmental impacts (MDV/89/007).

Mali has decided to formulate a national shelter strategy which will improve coordination of public agencies, promote decentralization by transfering responsibilities to local authorities, increase land supply, encourage use of local building materials and support private-sector initiatives. UNCHS (Habitat) has assisted Mali to set up a research centre for the development of indigenous building materials (MLI/80/001). A Seminar on National Housing Policy was conducted in Bamako at the end of 1989 with UNCHS (Habitat) and UNDP support. As a follow-up, a project document (MLI/90/005) was prepared and approved by the Government and UNDP a year later.

Mauritania's national shelter policy has identified priority areas for implementation. These include urban planning and an increase in land supply for now settlements, scaling-up of housing-construction activity, supporting private-sector developers by streamlining purchasing and building permit procedures, promoting the use of local materials and mobilizing savings for shelter.

Mauritius has introduced a range of incentives to encourage construction and housing development companies to build for low- and middle-income households. These include a reduction of corporate tax, exemption of import duty on construction equipment and loan facilities from the Development Bank of Mauritius.. The National Housing Corporation has been privatized and will operate as a building society. The housing vector will obtain $US 23 million annually from the National Pension Fund during the period 1990-1993.

Mexico has increased the coverage of public shelter programmes for the poor through the creation of conditions for intensive cooperation between the public agencies, the private sector and the NGOs. The Government's capacity as a facilitator has been strengthened through improved coordination in the national housing system, modernization of the shelter finance system, updating of the production and distribution of building materials and increased land delivery. Other specific actions include the introduction of financial mechanisms for private-vector investment in rental housing, strengthening rural housing programmes, decentralization of administrative procedures and a national programme to support housing research.

Montserrat has carried out analyses of the housing demand and supply and identified specific bottlenecks in access to land and credit.

Morocco will formulate a national land policy based on the regional development plan, studied with the sup port of UNCHS (Habitat). its goals are to avoid further regional disparities and to encourage public participation in development (MOR/88/014). The country has developed new mechanisms to involve all actors: private-sector intervention has been liberalized through incentives and local governments are playing an in creasing role, while the public sector is responsible for the improvement of inadequate shelter and squatter settlements.

Mozambique has decided that housing should be given high priority in national development and is preparing a comprehensive national policy, with technical cooperation from UNCHS (Habitat) (MOZ/86/005) and the World Bank. Training for physical planners has been provided with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through project MOZ/86/026.

Myanmar has undertaken a human settlements sector analysis as the first step towards the formulation of a national human settlements policy and a national shelter strategy.

Namibia considers housing as one of the four priority areas of development. It has undertaken a preliminary study on shelter polices and strategies, and will prepare a national shelter strategy, with the sup port of UNCHS (Habitat).

Nepal has started to develop a national housing policy with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (NEP/88/054), establishing, as a first step, a public/private Land Management Development Company. Several new land-development companies have been created, thanks to policies supportive of private developers. The Housing Development Finance Company has been set up to mobilize capital for long-term housing loans.

The Netherlands has reviewed its long-term housing policy and prepared strategies that will be implemented during the 1990s. A wide-ranging review will be made in 1995. The housing stock is expected to increase from 5.4 million in 1986 to more than 6 million in the year 2000. New initiatives include granting greater autonomy to municipalities and housing associations; targeting housing subsidies; a focus on special groups; a better turnover of housing; liberalization and deregulation in rent policies; encouraging home-ownership and improving the town as a residential environment.

Nicaragua is formulating a national shelter strategy with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through projects NIC/87/F01 and NIC/89/019 - to support the ongoing decentralization process and to strengthen the regional and municipal authorities.

Niger is promoting the social-housing sector by increasing densities, giving incentives for housing investment, revising credit mechanisms to attract private savings, codifying tenant status, and encouraging public/private partnerships.

Nigeria has undertaken reviews in the housing sector with a view to selling rental housing to sitting tenants. It is also finalizing a new national housing policy based on greater participation and a strengthened institutional framework.

Norway published a White Paper setting out the framework for the housing policy to the year 2000. Among the goals of this policy are active use of subsidies or affordable housing loans for the poor, enhancing local-level initiatives in housing finance, meeting the needs of special groups and new legislation for protection of consumers in the housing market.

Oman has undertaken an assessment of the current shelter situation, including finance, subsidies, delivery systems and housing programmes, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through project OMA/87/025.

Refer to: "Towards a national shelter strategy"

Pakistan has made substantial progress in the formulation of a national housing policy. The provision of small short-term loans for home improvement or construction is the cornerstone of a number of successful shelter programmes for the poor. Studies of selling rental housing to sitting tenants are going on. A computerized urban database and a land use demand-and supply model have been set up to assist planners to focus allocations using varied policy assumptions. Detailed urban development plans have been prepared for secondary cities in Sindh Province, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (PAK/86/015).

Papua New Guinea is implementing a national integrated shelter development plan to develop customary land for housing in partnership with the traditional owners, to mobilize housing finance, to develop the building industry, and to improve human resources. A national body of NGOs has been formed to address a variety of problems in the shelter sector, including the rights of squatters.

The Philippines has formulated a regional shelter strategy with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through projectPHI/88/F01/ which is now being implemented. Based on this, a national shelter strategy is being developed further reviewing and analysing the constraints in the housing-delivery system in three regions. The newly-introduced Community Mortgage Program enables poor families to meet requirements for housing loans by providing credits to the community which mortages the land as collateral. The Philippines is cooperating with UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank in the development and application of the shelter-sector performance indicators. Refer to "Land to the poor through loans for the community.

Poland is proceeding with the privatization of the rental housing sector, the establishment of liberal pricing in housing and limitation of subsidies, provision of credit for housing investment and more responsibilities for local authorities.

Portugal has taken a number of measures to improve housing delivery. These include greater support to the private and cooperative sectors which together produce 96 per cent of the total new housing; reforms to encourage the production of rental housing; and rehabilitation of old housing areas close to employment sources.

The Republic of Korea has adopted a programme of "permanent rental housing" to provide low-rent public rental housing to the bottom 10 per cent of the urban population.

Romania is proceeding with a range of transformations in the housing sector which include transferring resources and responsibilities to local authorities and the private sector, privatization of large sections of state-owned housing, simplifying the procedures for planning and building approvals and relaxation of the banking system in order to diversify credit availability.

Rwanda's new shelter strategies include: regional planning to achieve a more balanced urban structure; strengthening urban institutions based on local responsibility and cost recovery, increasing supply of land and basic infrastructure; and a system of savings for housing.

Sao Tome and Principe undertook an analysis of the housing sector; a national shelter strategy is to be prepared as a follow up action. Senegal has established a unit to promote cooperating housing and with the assistance of the Government of Germany, has embarked on a pilot project with five cooperatives.

Refer to: "Increasing urban housing and land supply in Senegal'

Seychelles has set a target of 500 now houses a year in its National Development Plan 19901994. It has placed emphasis on acquiring suitable land for the five-year programme. The private sector and NGOs will be encouraged to play an active role.

Sierra Leone has considerably improved the operation of the Housing Corporation, creating a Savings and Loans Bank with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (SIL/83/002), and has developed innovative lending techniques for low-income earners

Singapore has developed a computerized land-information database to support shelter policy formulation, with the technical assistance of UNCHS (Habitat) through project SIN/87/003.

Somalia has successfully established a materials production centre in which the training of women has been particularly successful for the upgrading of 200 rural housing units. This project is a model for a wider programme to be developed.

Refer to: "A new role for Somali women"

Sri Lanka has launched the One and Half Million Houses Programme, which demonstrates many aspects of the application of the enabling strategies. An extensive, country-wide programme of community groups and individuals building houses with basic assistance from public agencies, is under implementation. The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has developed new construction techniques to lower construction costs by promoting greater use of previously underublized building materials. The quality of traditional materials has also been improved.

Refer to: "A better life with improved infrastructure" and "Rural architecture is improved"

Swaziland has established a Human Settlements Authority to ensure the orderly development of future urban and rural settlements and establish a mechanism for ensuring the supply and maintenance of improved shelter and infrastructure.. It has also established a National Housing Authority.

Sweden has adopted a new housing system to increase access to housing by lower-income and other special groups. Other recent initiatives include the introduction of Regulations for New Construction, the implementation of the new Planning and Building Act and reorganization of state administration at the county level.

Thailand has successfully encouraged the formal private sector to undertake medium and low-cost housing. As a result, private housing developers are now producing some 70 per cent of all formal housing in Bangkok. The Government is also attempting to involve the private sector in the efficient provision of urban public services with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (THA/89/020). Thailand is establishing a national housing information system, to support the formulation and implementation of shelter and development plans.

Togo reviewed its shelter problems at a national workshop and has subsequently undertaken a sectoral study of human settlements. The formulation of a national shelter strategy is under consideration.

Trinidad and Tobago is promoting well-integrated and socially active settlements as one of its main requirements. The Government has established a Squatter Regularization Unit within the National Housing Authority and has commenced a programme to release State lands. Some 100 sites covering more than 3000 hectares will be developed, to yield 15,000 plots.

Tunisia has set up an Inter-Ministerial Commission to review the housing sector and to formulate a national shelter strategy, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (TUN/88/F03). It is also studying methods to reduce construction costs.

Turkey's National Housing Policy is based largely on the guidelines provided in the Global Strategy for Shelter, including: new schemes for land and shelter delivery, private-sector contribution for employee housing credits, training of technical personnel of the local communities and municipalities, and instruction for housing construction in disaster-prone areas.

Uganda is now formulating a viable national shelter strategy to enable the full participation of local authorities, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (UGA/88/F01). The Government has produced new building codes and regulations, following the recommendation of the Global Strategy for Shelter, and has set up a database on the shelter sector.

Refer to: "Masese women lead the way to shelter for the poor' and "Low-income settlements benefit as Uganda reconstructs"

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic is planning major transformations in the construction sector, with improvements to the quality of prefabricated construction panels, production of local building materials such as bricks and cellular concrete, and the construction of more low-rise, energy-efficient buildings.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic issued a Presidential Decree in May 1990 setting out the major strategies for public and private investment in housing, the new qualitative parameters and the approach to legislation. During the period 1991-2000 it is planned to increase the existing housing stock by 50 per cent and the target is to provide an adequate house or flat for every family at an average rate of 18 square metres per person. A number of reforms required to transform the housing sector to a market economy have been initiated.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has made substantial progress in facilitating the of transfer of ownership of public housing to sitting tenants and has taken new financial and institutional initiatives to address the problem of the homeless. Partnership arrangements have been Ireland facilitated between local authorities and private investors, and private finance has increasingly participated in the subsidized rental sector, through new revised private/public funding mechanisms. The responsibility for providing new subsidized rental homes is gradually shifting from local authorities to independent housing associations.

The United Republic of Tanzania is placing emphasis on its sites-and-services and settlements-upgrading programmes. In cooperation with the Waste Foundation of the Nether lands, Tanzania has developed a manual plot-emptying technology (MAPET), in the un planned areas of Dar-es-Salaam. Private plot emptiers have been trained to operate the technology which consists of a handpump through which the sludge is pumped into a drum for disposal.

The United States of America has a twofold focus: a careful examination of policies for sheltering its low-income populations and their programmes for implementation; and increased efforts to work with the governments, private sectors and NGOs of developing countries to help improve their ability to serve the shelter needs of the poor. Recent policy initiatives lie at the heart of the Global Strategy for Shelter. They rely on the private sector to produce housing, with the government playing a facilitative role. The United States' experience has shown repeatedly that centralized, paternalistic and top-down programmes rarely work well. This is no less true in developing countries, where the United States supports limiting the role of government to the provision of loan and infrastructure, leaving housing finance and construction to the private sector.

Uruguay has strengthened the Sectoral Housing and Construction Commission -with support from UNCHS (Habitat) through project URU/88/F01 - towards the sustainable and balanced development of the housing and construction sector.

Vanuatu has reviewed its housing policies with emphasis on land markets, shakier finance and building regulations prior to major investments sector.

Venezuela enacted new legislation on housing policy, the objectives of which are to define the roles of the public and non-governmental actors in the shelter sector, coordinate and plan the production of shelter through national plans and policies, develop integrated shelter programmes and mobilize low-cost resources for shelter. The goal is to meet the shelter needs of 3 million families in 15 years.

Viet Nam is addressing specific issues in order to remove critical bottlenecks in shelter and services and is undertaking research and trial production of indigenous building materials. A new methodology for planning rural settlements is being developed with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (VIE/861020).

Yemen has undertaken a survey of local materials, set up the necessary building materials laboratory facilities and provided training to 40 engineers and technicians in quality control for wide use of local building materials, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (YEM/88/009).

Refer to: "Better building materials to meet the shelter challenge" and "Post-earthquake reconstruction .

Zaire is implementing an infrastructure-and-services upgrading project, affecting three areas with a total population of 900,000, with the work being decided by the communities themselves and implemented by NGOs or small entrepreneurs under the supervision of the Government of Kinshasa and the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (ZAI/88/001 ).

Zambia has established the Zambia Housing Development Fund with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (ZAM/80/003) to address the specific problems associated with shelter delivery to low- and middle-income groups. The operations of the Zambia National Building Society have been improved and coordinated with those of ZHDF.

Zimbabwe is preparing shelter strategies in four typical provinces and several local authority areas prior to launching a national-level exercise with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (ZIM/89/FO2). Simultaneously, studies have been initiated on the promotion of low-cost building materials and provision of affordable infrastructure solutions for the poor. More than 75 officers have undergone training in shelter strategies in three workshops conducted in the provinces. Zimbabwe carried out a pilot project in the application of shelter-sector performance indicators and is extending this exercise to a wider area.

Refer to: "Housing becomes a priority in independent Zimbabwe"