The Sunday Leader

UN-Habitat Forum Looks At Owner-Driven Housing

Senior Government officials, donors, implementing partners, policy makers, development practitioners, academics, community members and representatives of UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations participated in the international conference ‘Restoring Communities through Homeowner-Driven Reconstruction: from post-Emergency to Development’ held in Colombo last week.

Organised by UN-Habitat, the forum discussed good practices and lessons learned from different parts of the world on post emergency and post-crisis reconstruction and restoration of communities. The conference was funded by the European Union (EU), the Government of Australia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Speaking at the inauguration, Jean Gustave Fourez, Charge d’affaires of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, highlighted the achievements of assistance to housing reconstruction as a symbol of successful international cooperation with Sri Lanka.

Robyn Mudie, the High Commissioner of Australia stated that the owner-driven housing model showed how conflict-affected communities working in partnership with government and international agencies could achieve durable solutions. A number of technical sessions were conducted at the conference, with contributions from experts and practitioners from several countries including Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan,

Thailand, United Kingdom and Afghanistan. Focus was placed on the current wave of reconstruction efforts in Sri Lanka following the end of the conflict in 2009, while discussions were geared towards identifying practical approaches in addressing the prevailing housing needs. Speaking at the conference, M.S. Wickramarachchi of the Presidential Task force on Resettlement, Development and Security of the Northern Province highlighted the Sari Lanka Government’s resettlement programme to assist families return to their villages of origin in the North and East following the end of the conflict.

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