|Assessment of Experience with the Project Approach to Shelter Delivery for the Poor (HABITAT, 1991, 52 p.)|
|V. Shelter projects and national policies|
Before the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (1987) came to an end, the General Assembly of the United Nations concluded that the Year should be followed by a longer term, implementation-oriented effort that could capitalize on the interest and momentum generated by the IYSH. The General Assembly thus decided to launch the GSS, with the objective of facilitating shelter for all by the year 2000. The GSS is intended to ensure adequate shelter conditions for all groups irrespective of income, gender, age, and physical capacity, in all types of settlements, ranging from rural hamlets to towns and metropolitan conurbations. The fundamental principle of the Strategy is the need for governments to adopt an enabling approach, in which people are given the opportunity and means to meet their own housing requirements according to their priorities and capacities.
In Sri Lanka, the MHP was the embodiment of an integrated approach in which both policy and project objectives were fully consistent with the enabling approach advocated by the GSS. Recent developments in housing policy in Zimbabwe are also considered to have been brought into line with this approach. In India and Pakistan, new national (or draft national) housing policies lay great stress on the need to adopt an enabling, facilitating, or support approach as advocated in the GSS.
These are all positive signs of progress, achieved in a remarkably short time. As such, they deserve to be welcomed and supported by all those engaged in the shelter sector. Yet, it is one thing to approve a policy statement but quite another to translate it into a range of practical measures that can be implemented quickly and efficiently at the scale intended. Even Sri Lanka has found it difficult to sustain the approach adopted in the MHP. Clearly there are many approaches and experiences that deserve consideration in order that projects can contribute to the establishment of more efficient and equitable land and housing markets. The challenge is now being accepted by politicians to formulate appropriate policies. It will then be the task of professionals working in the sector to formulate the most appropriate range of practical measures to ensure that such policies are fully implemented.