National Dialogue on Housing the Poor in Mongolia

2 Jun 2005 to 3 Jun 2005
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The UNESCAP Poverty Reduction Section is assisting the Government of Mongolia in convening a National Dialogue on Housing the Poor in Urban Economies, from 2-3 June 2005 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The Dialogue is part of the Section’s activities under the Housing the Urban Poor project.

Ulaanbaatar is growing rapidly. Most of this new growth is in the outskirts of the city, where rural-urban migrants and natural growth from the inner city are squatting in ger settlements. Close to 60% of the whole city population now live in these unserviced settlements. Poverty is on the rise in Ulaanbaatar, and is concentrated in the ger areas. According to a recent UNDP Survey, 33 % of the urban population lives in poverty. One of the key policy recommendations of this report was to prioritize urban housing and sanitation conditions. Urgent attention also needs to be drawn to the increasing air pollution, partly caused by the use of cola and wood stoves.

In response to these trends, the Dialogue is accorded a high political profile, and will be opened by the Prime Minster of Mongolia. The event is expected to draw over 100 representatives from government, civil society and academia, as well as bilateral and international organizations working in Mongolia and interested in the issue of low-income housing.

The objective of the Dialogue is to identify and discuss priority areas for intervention and capacity-building. In addition to a series of Mongolian and international presentations, three short videos and an exhibition has been prepared to illustrate the key housing challenges that need to be tackled. The Dialogue will also create opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing in responding to the needs of the urban poor and encourage responses to meet the housing challenges.

In addition to the Dialogue, the UNESCAP project will undertake a series of capacity-building activities in Mongolia. These include implementation of a pilot project to demonstrate and learn from community-based approaches to housing in the ger areas. Other capacity-building activities include study visits to low-income housing projects and programmes in Asia and the Pacific and advisory services from those projects to organizations and projects in Mongolia. The project will also organize face-to-face and on-line training workshops on issues related to low-income housing. These training programmes will be held in Mongolia and abroad