New York, July 19 (BNA): Housing Minister, Bassim bin Yacoob Al-Hamar, has underlined the Housing Ministry’s great interest in implementing the 11th sustainbale development goal (SDGs) aiming to «make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable», in line with the government’s keenness to achieve such goals, 78% of which are actually included in its action plan.
Al-Hamar indicated that the beginning of the construction of Salman Town, Khalifa Town, East Hidd Town, East Sitra Town and the Al-Ramli housing suburb by the Housing Ministry reflects the government’s apprach and vision on improving the citizens’ quality of life through building new urban communities that provide decent housing, as well as the necessary educational, health and commercial services and facilities, in line with the provisions of SDG 11.
The minister was speaking while participating in a panel discussion held within 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 presentation of its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Themed «Together for Inclusive Cities and Safe Human Settlements», the panel discussion was organised by the UN-Habitat to follow up on member countries’ efforts to implement SDGs.
Al-Hamar highlighted the housing march in the kingdom, and the government’s plans and programmes to improve the citizens’ living standards, stressing that under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain has allocated utmost care to the housing issue, out of its desire to ensure welfare for the citizens.
The minister added that the government’s commitment to building 25,000 housing units in its curent action plan and the consolidation of its partnership with the private sector in this regard have brought about a quantum leap in the housing issue in kingdom as a total of 15,000 units have been distributed over the past four years, noting that the government’s next action plan will provide more housing units, as part of the government’s streneous efforts to implement HM King Hamad’s order to build 40,000 housing units.
Al-Hamar said that the first VNR presented by the kingdom included the steps it had taken in order to provide safe housing for all, noting that the report highlighted Bahrain’s provision of housing services to low-income citizes, as well as to divorced and single women within housing policies aiming to ensure fair distribution of such services among the citizens.
He pointed out that the avergae installment paid by the citizens for housing services do not exceed 25% of their real value, and the rest of the units’ value is part of the government’s support for the citizens.
The minister said that the attained housing achievements over the past few years had motivated the Housing Ministry to conduct more studies and revise the housing policies in force in the kingdom, noting that the Ministry had signed a cooperation document with the UN Development Programme to revise Bahrain’s housing policy and develop an effective, efficient and sustainable housing and land sector in line with new economic realities.
He pointed out that the joint UNDP-Housing Ministry team had already concluded a draft policy on ways to develop such policies.
Al-Hamar affirmed that the Housing Ministry would implement more projects and lauch more parnership initiatives with the private sector in the coming period to provide more housing units and services to the citizens.