Habitat for Humanity announced today that the eighth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum with the theme, “Building forward better for inclusive housing”, will be held in Bangkok from December 7 to 9. This will be the third time that the affordable housing forum will be held in Thailand. The strategic location of the country, presence of a strong and vibrant international development community in Bangkok, and Habitat for Humanity’s 23-year history of building homes in Thailand, were the key considerations for the choice of venue for the biennial event.
“The focus for this year’s Asia-Pacific Housing Forum centers on how affordable and sustainable housing solutions can bring an inclusive future for vulnerable and low-income families through greener, safer, and more resilient approaches,” said Luis Noda, area vice president of Habitat for Humanity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Globally, the health and economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis and made clear how crucial having safe, secure, and adequate housing is to one’s health, wellbeing, and even survival.
Around the world, approximately 1.6 billion people live without adequate shelter. In the Asia-Pacific region, an estimated one-third of urban dwellers live in slums or slum-like conditions. In Thailand, for instance, the slum and squatter population has continued to increase, with a majority of them in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. The nation’s urban population is approximately 35.29 million in 2019 (Statista.com). From 2018 to 2019, the poverty rate dropped to 6.2%, according to the World Bank. However, in 2020, the poverty rate increased to 8.8% due to the effects brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the main speakers of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum include Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat, and Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International.
Co-organized by Habitat for Humanity and the EU-funded SWITCH-Asia programme, with the support of other partners, the Forum brings together industry leaders, innovators, policy experts, and various stakeholders to inspire a new vision for more inclusive, healthy, and resilient cities and communities. It serves as a multi-sectoral platform to build collaboration among like-minded organization to create impact at scale for low-cost, affordable technologies across the Asia-Pacific region.
The importance of housing as a driver of economic growth and sustainability in human settlements will be one of the central discussions during the Forum. It also aims to strengthen the regional community’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and align climate change initiatives with national priorities.
The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, which has been attended by more than 7,200 participants since its inaugural conference in 2007, is supported by The Hilti Foundation, Whirlpool, Agence Francaise de Developpement, and Somfy Foundation. Other partners include UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance, and Total Quality PR.
The Forum will adopt a hybrid format, with limited in-person participation in accordance with government-mandated health and safety guidelines. However, with the fluid situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers are continuously monitoring the situation with a pivot strategy in place for an enhanced fully virtual experience. Register at aphousingforum.org and find out more about the forum program, tracks and side events.