Latin American and Caribbean Ministers of Housing and Urbanization and other top government representatives from the region last week attended the 18th General Assembly of Ministers and High Level Authorities on Housing and Urbanization (MINURVI) at Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica.
While making the opening statement at the official opening ceremony, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Bruce Golding, said that the provision of shelter must be seen by Government as a long-term endeavor.
"The dream of everybody is to live in a decent house. But how do you provide housing for people who cannot afford housing? I believe that we have to see the provision of housing or shelter, not as an act but as a process," he said. "Incremental housing is the way that we will have to tackle the problem of housing for the poor".
In a keynote address, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN- HABITAT called for a balance of ecology, economy and equity.
She told the meeting that the current global financial turmoil has made evident the need for close linkages between the housing sector and the macro economy, adding that the message being sent was that decent housing and universal access to basic urban services were critical to the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
“The Habitat Agenda, perceived as a predominantly national or local agenda, known as the “brown agenda” can no longer be dissociated from the global environmental agenda, popularly known as the “green agenda”. Cities are, de facto, the frontline actors in meeting the challenges of climate change. Cities have to be part of the solution,” she said.
The conference that was held at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, heard presentations under the themes, "Financing social housing in view of the world economic crisis" and "Housing in risky situations", derived from the experiences in Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and Honduras.
The Ministers of Housing and Urbanisation in the region agreed that many benefits could be derived from the sharing of information and experiences, particularly in the development of human settlement policies. For details, click here.