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Manila, 2 October 2013 – Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay and key speakers at the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum today urged more private-sector involvement in housing low-income families in the region. They were speaking at the opening of the fourth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum organized by Habitat for Humanity International.
The Forum is the leading platform for advocating affordable housing solutions and decent shelter for low-income families. It brings under one roof, public, private and people sector stakeholders engaged in seeking solutions to poverty housing issues.
Vice President Binay, who is also chairman of the Philippine Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, delivered an opening keynote address to some 700 international and local delegates attending the event. In it, he also shared the outcome of a closed-door roundtable on poverty housing held at the Vice-Presidential Palace yesterday which was attended by some 75 regional policy makers, business and NGO leaders from eight countries. The key issues discussed at the roundtable were sustainable housing policies and programs, building disaster resilience, financial inclusion and housing finance, and private sector and civil society’s roles in addressing poverty housing.
Also speaking today at the Forum’s opening was Rick Hathaway, Vice President for Asia-Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International. “This one intervention – living in a decent home – has the knock-on effect of improved health and general well-being for families; it provides stability and security, with children doing better at school. And something that cannot be overestimated – living in a decent home instills a sense of dignity and pride, the strength to take on life’s challenges and embrace opportunities. Families in decent homes form thriving communities.
“Unfortunately, the solution isn’t a simple one of just building more homes. The solutions are complex and cannot be tackled by one single group of actors in isolation. Solutions need to be applied at micro and macro level, solutions need to involve community groups, the private sector and government – and involve all these stakeholders working together. Importantly, solutions need to be sustainable and adaptable.”
The three-day Forum is held at Dusit Thani Manila. The biennial event was last held in Manila in 2009.
Other high-profile speakers at the Forum include Alicia Bala, Deputy Secretary, ASEAN; Senator Loren Legarda, member of Philippine Senate; Henry Cisneros, former US Housing Secretary and Founder/Chairman, CityView; Nestor Espenilla, Deputy Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Vikram Gandhi, Founder/CEO, VSG Capital Advisors; Kevin Lim, CEO, First Finance; Fernando Zobel de Ayala, President and Chief Operating Officer, Ayala Corporation; Marja Hoek Smit, Director, International Housing Finance Program, Wharton School; Jaime Aristotle Alip, Founder and Managing Director, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Mutually Reinforcing Institutions; Sohail Hasnie, Principal Energy Specialist, SE Asia Department, Asian Development Bank; Liu Thai Ker, former CEO, Housing Development Board Singapore and Advisory Board Chairman, Center for Liveable Cities; Hassan Ahmad, CEO, Mercy Relief; Al Panico, Head of Operations (Asia-Pacific), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Yoshinobu Fukusawa, Asia-Pacific Regional Director, UN-Habitat; Richard Northcote, Head of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability, Bayer MaterialScience; and Efren Peñaflorida, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year.
The Forum, themed ‘Housing as a foundation for breaking the poverty cycle’, features five discussion tracks, focusing on affordable housing finance, disaster resilience and climate change, shared value and corporate social responsibility leadership, housing policy and advocacy, and sustainable housing solutions.
The event also includes several workshops to raise capacity of those working in the non-profit sector focused on housing and related issues: a one-day Habitat and Wharton School course on housing finance; a workshop on the Eco-Town Framework by the Philippine Climate Change Commission; and energy efficiency technologies and sustainable energy demonstration/discussion sessions by the Asian Development Bank.
The Forum is supported by sponsors and partners including Aditya Birla Group, Asian Development Bank, Ayala Corporation, Ayala Land, Bayer MaterialScience, PT Caturkarsa Megatunggal, Cemex Philippines, Citi, Energy Development Corporation, Philippine Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Move.org, and Philippine Climate Change Commission. The media partners of the event are ABS-CBN News Channel, AsianNGO, Channel NewsAsia, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Rappler Inc.