Arab financial institutions should put in place credit lines with preferential terms to contribute to the preventive fight against uncontrolled constructions, participants in the 6th Arab Housing Conference recommended.
The conference participants called for the need to deal with the issue of uncontrolled constructions in a more comprehensive manner that takes into consideration the various economic and social aspects.
They also recommended creating observatories within the governmental institutions that will be in charge of monitoring and analyzing this phenomenon, according to the “Tunis Declaration”, published on the closing of the conference held on December 22-23, 2020.
The Arab Ministers of Housing and Reconstruction recommended in this document composed of 13 recommendations “to create an interactive Arab platform for the exchange of information, expertise and experience in the field of strategic prospective studies to reduce the phenomenon of uncontrolled construction and ensure the effectiveness of interventions.
They stressed the need to strengthen partnerships between public and private sector actors, local authorities, civil society and universities in order to deepen studies and identify the factors and mechanisms of development of this phenomenon.
It is also necessary to develop legislation on real estate speculation and taxation in order to regularize the issue of selling land outside official plans.
The conference held under the theme “Uncontrolled Housing and the Policies and Strategies for the Development of Slums and Limiting their Expansion,” emphasized the need to revise urban planning in order to take into account the social, economic and cultural specificities of all the inhabitants, especially low-income people, to identify solutions to uncontrolled constructions.
Supporting local residents in restoration actions
Ministers stressed the importance of strengthening the oversight role of the supervisory authorities at the level of municipalities and regional authorities while endowing them with the necessary powers (legal and financial) to ensure quick intervention.
They called for support for slum dwellers in the improvement and restoration of their dwellings in the framework of participatory workshops in order to move towards greater compliance with urban legislation.
The document emphasized the importance of granting financial, real estate or tax incentives to the private sector in order to boost the implementation of social housing programs and to revise slum upgrading policies.
This statement and the interventions of the participants will be submitted to the Arab League in order to generalize the publication of the data to the member countries.
This 6th conference was held by VTC, with the participation of more than 20 speakers from member countries of the League of Arab States, in addition to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
For Tunisia, a better management of undeveloped public lands, especially those located near the poles of major cities is urged by turning them into urban centers properly serviced and capable of reducing pressure on existing urban areas.
Similarly, the programs for safeguarding and rehabilitating the old Medinas should be optimized in collaboration with the competent authorities in order to improve sanitation networks, public lighting, cleanliness and safety.
The objective of these actions is to “retain their inhabitants who often find themselves forced to leave these ancient cities or even to take refuge in slums for lack of the necessary amenities”.