UN-Habitat and United World Infrastructure Partner to Develop Affordable Housing Projects

UN-Habitat and UWI partnership demonstrates a global shift towards greater private sector involvement in development projects with social, environmental, and economic gains.

Abu Dhabi UAE, February 10, 2020 – In keeping with the Sustainable Development Goal 11 to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums, UN-Habitat and United World Infrastructure (UWI) have signed an MoU to develop affordable housing projects.


“Investors are often drawn to high-end or luxury developments because of the perceived higher margins and lower associated risks.  This has caused large housing shortages around the world, and especially in those cities experiencing rapidly growing populations. But, we see strong investment opportunities in affordable housing in these markets,” Dr. Imran Markar, Principal at UWI, shared.  “We will be working with UN-Habitat to help identify these opportunities to create our signature yield-driven models for housing which is affordable and seamlessly integrated into larger thriving communities,” he added.

UN-Habitat will help select appropriate sites, ideally owned by a government, with a guarantee for government off-take for the affordable housing and facilitate these partnerships with governments that have fully developed proposals aligned with a long-term development agenda.  UWI will manage the multi-stakeholder partnerships to design, finance, and develop projects that meet or exceed the criteria for Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) goals.

This partnership reflects an emerging UN-Habitat trend to build partnerships which achieve sustainable development.  Sustainable Development Goal 17 sets expectations for governments and businesses to create innovative public-private partnerships which will advance these Sustainable and Safe Communities.

UWI will participate next week as a judge and mentor to city leaders in  showcase at the 10th World Urban Forum at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center.  The Cities Investment Platform provides support to urban leaders from around the world in attracting investment to key development projects, including affordable housing.

UN-Habitat emerged from a need identified in the 1970’s to address rapid urbanization.  Since then, the initiatives and institution has continued to evolve with the urgency for a global approach to urban development across communities with diverse populations, land and climate, and systems. By 2050, the urban population will have surged by 60%. In just the next 15 years, cities will be accommodating 1.2 million people.  There are currently more than 330 million people around the world who need more affordable housing options.

The World Urban Forum is free and will be taking place at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center from February 8 – 13. Over 23,000 delegations from around the world are expected to attend. The Cities Investment Platform will take place on Monday, February 10, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

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