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JIS News

Government officials throughout the region will share best practices and seek solutions to providing adequate housing, at the 18th General Assembly of Ministers and High Level Authorities on Housing and Urbanisation in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI) in Montego Bay St. James next week.
The meeting, scheduled for July 15 to 17 at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa, will be chaired by Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang. Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, is expected to address the opening ceremony.
Over the three days, the delegates who will deliberate on the themes: ‘Financing Social Housing in view of the World Economic Crisis’ and ‘Housing in Risky Situations’, will also discuss human settlement policies.
Senior Director for Housing at the Ministry, Doreen Prendergast, addressing a JIS Think Tank yesterday (June 8), explained that the annual meeting is primarily a policy forum. “Countries of the region come together to highlight best practices and try to solve some of the problems that may be faced by some of the different countries. They offer training and technical support. We have had instances where they have even gone on to do implementation of projects on the ground,” she informed.
The United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, have provided technical support for MINURVI over the years, informed Director, Policy Development and Research at the Ministry, Paula Parkes.
She noted that coming out of the discussions and networking, Jamaica was selected to be part of the Slum Upgrading Programme, which is being financed by UN-Habitat.
The programme aims to contribute to the reduction of regional human development disparities, including reducing the gender gap and improving environmental sustainability, with Phase One to consist of rapid profiling of urban conditions in Montego Bay, St. James; May Pen, Clarendon, and Old Harbour, St. Catherine.
Miss Parkes told JIS News that there is a focal point, the first phase of which will be implemented this year. “It is hoped that out of the information that will come out of the rapid profiling assessment of areas, we will identify projects that can be funded by donor agencies,” she added.
She informed that a successful slum upgrading project was implemented in Somalia in 2002, and was one of the benefits that came out of the interface with the UN-HABITAT at the conferences.
The conferences have been held annually since 1992 and were initiated out of the belief that benefits could be derived through the sharing of information and experiences between countries of the region, particularly in the development of human settlement policies.