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Bahrain’s successful housing experience highlighted
07 : 39 PM - 18/07/2018

New York, July 18 (BNA): In the presence of Cabinet Affairs Minister, Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Mutawa, the Housing Ministry held a panel discussion at the headquarters of the International Peace Institute (IPI) here.

Themed “Decent, Secure and Affordable Housing, Cornerstone of Sustainable Development”, the event is part of Bahrain’s participation in the Ministerial Meeting of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), held under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, on the sidelines of the kingdom’s presentationn of its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister Al-Mutawa said that the Government of Bahrain has been keen on providing decent housing for the citiens according to a sustainable urban development vision that keeps pace with population growth, gives priority to low-income citizens to ensure social stability of Bahraini families and aims to put in place the requirements of decent living for Bahrainis.

The minister stressed that sustainability is among the essential elements on which the government’s vision on housing is based, noting that Bahrain has been keen to ensure that housing projects and towns are implemented according to the highest quality standards and advanced infrastructure to meet the requirements of sustainable development and fulfill the present and future needs.

The panel discussion featured effective participation of ministers in charge of housing and urban development in Malaysia, Paraguay, Angola and Bulgaria, which are countries reputed for successful experiences in providing social housing.

It also witnessed massive participation of ministers and delegations of countries participating in the HLPF.

The event was a platform for discussing and exchanging expertise on governments’ present and future efforts to provide social housing to citizens at affordable prices and with integrated services, as well as developing poor neighbourhoods and increase UN member states’ awareness of the housing challenges.

Housing Minister, Bassim bin Yacoob Al-Hamar, delivered a lecture on Bahrain’s successful experience in providing affordable social housing for low-income citizens since mid-20th century.

He stressed that Bahraini leaders had given top priority to the citizens’ welfare, particularly through providing social housing for them to achieve quality life, which, he said, has entitled the kingdom to be a pioneer in this regard.

The minister pointed out that the government’s construction of housing towns aims to provide thousands of housing units for the citizens, out of its strong belief in their right to enjoy decent living, adding that the government has also provided diversified and flexible housing options for the citizens to enable them to choose the housing service that would appeal to them.

He affirmed that SDGs 2030, particularly goal 11 aiming to «make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable» are in line with the government’s approach to build integrated housing towns in terms of facilities, as well as health, educational, sports and environmental services.

As a result, the government’s successful policies have earned the kingdom widespread international praise and acclaim, including mainly the 2006 Special Citation of the Habitat Scroll of Honour conferred upon His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa by the UN-Habitat.

Al-Hamar indicated that after the success of Bahrain’s experience in providing housing towns that provide suitable housing for the citizens, the government is currently building, through the Housing Ministry, five new towns, namely the Salman Town, the Khalifa Town, the East Hidd Town, East Sitra Town and the Al-Ramli housing suburb.

He pointed out that His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s order to build 40,000 housing units is the roadmap for the kingdom’s current housing policy, noting that the government’s commitment to constructing 25,000 housing units within its current action plan emanates for the royal order.

While tackling the Bahrain-UN cooperation in the field of housing, Al-Hamar said that the Housing Minister started cooperating with the UN-Habitat as early as 2002 to evaluate its experience, which, he said, resulted in a number of recommendations that have contributed to developing Bahrain’s housing policies and services.

Among the recommendations, he also said, was the activation of partnership with the private sector to enable it to provide social housing services to the citizens.

He asserted that the government, out of its keenness to implement the recommendations, had put in place suitable conditions for the success of the partnership with the private sector through adopting stimulating laws, and endorsing the Housing Ministry’s joint initiatives with real estate development companies and banks.

Al-Hamar affirmed that the Housing Ministry had provide 7,000 housing units as a result of its cooperation with the private sector.

The activation of the partnership with the private sector has also led the Housing Ministry to launch the social housing scheme, «Mazaya», which aims to assist those on social housing waiting lists to get financed by a financial institution as well as to obtain a governmental financial support to purchase a housing unit, he added.

Concluding his lecture, Al-Hamar affirmed that Bahrain had actually achieved the SDG 11 regarding cities and human settlements at the local level, and is now dealing with social housing as a sustainable goal according to international standards.


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