Partners at Asia Pacific Housing Forum (APHF) pledged to make 100 districts free of open-defection by 2019. The two-day 5th APHF meeting recently concluded in New Delhi with a joint statement by all partners to form a coalition and work together to help eliminate the challenges of housing and sanitation among the economically weaker sections in rural and urban India.
The Forum was hosted by Habitat for Humanity and key participants included UN Habitat, UN Global Compact Network, Sulabh International, Ashoka, Good Governance India Foundation, Cities Alliance, HUDCO, Aditya Birla Group and Brick Eagle among many others.
Among the pledges made were to make 100 districts free of open defecation by 2019, engage all stakeholders to reduce housing deficit among economically weaker sections by 25 lakh units by 2022, increase the current number of partners in the ‘sensitise to sanitise’ campaign to 50 from the current 17 by March 2016 complementing the ‘Indian Sanitation Coalition’.
Speaking on the joint communiqué, Rajan Samuel, Managing Director of Habitat for Humanity said, “The challenges are enormous and can be addressed only if all stakeholders work together. The government’s agenda on housing and sanitation needs to be supported by all non-profit organisations and private sector. We have made a good beginning and look forward to work closely with all stakeholders in converting Prime Minister’s dream into reality.”
At the two-day forum, these stakeholders extensively discussed the issues like critical role of access to land for shelter and security of tenure; the diversification of micro-lending and the need to make markets work for the poor; building affordable, safe, disaster-resilient housing and policies that promote such housing and necessary skill development; harnessing technology for housing and new sustainable building technology; and the need for gender equality in eliminating poverty housing.
The Forum was attended by more than 500 delegates, individuals and organisations, speakers & moderators, dignitaries, home partners, community leaders and volunteers. All these stakeholders had gathered to discuss and to come up with the working solutions to the issues of affordable housing and sanitation in India.