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Housing and Urban Development Ministers Focus on Climate Change and Natural Disasters

19 September 2011: The 20th General Assembly of Ministers of Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI) focused on the challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters to housing, cities and urban development in the region.

The 20th General Assembly of MINURVI took place from 14-16 September 2011, in Asuncion, Paraguay. During technical discussions on the first day, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) presented a study on city-level fiscal measures that can positively or negatively impact climate change.

During Ministerial discussions on the second day, Cuba presented on the challenges posed by climate change and hurricanes, while Chile presented on climate change and earthquakes. Ministers and top housing and urban policy officials also discussed the housing deficit faced by many Latin American and Caribbean countries, and identified the need to strengthen "social housing" programmes for low-income families.

In addition, UN-HABITAT's Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean reported on the 2010 World Urban Forum, the outcome of the 2011 UN-HABITAT Governing Council, and progress toward completion of the organization's upcoming report, "The State of Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean."

On the last day, the Minsters and top officials approved a programme of activities for 2012 and signed a "Declaration of Asuncion." MINURVI-20 adopted three proposals offered by UN-HABITAT, namely to: create a Permanent Technical Secretariat to assist MINURVI in its work and help member countries improve and harmonize their policies and programmes; press the urban agenda at the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20); and promote, in the run-up to Rio+20, a city-level approach to developing and implementing new technologies and ideas on sustainable cities and urban development.

MINURVI was created in 1992 with the assistance of ECLAC to promote information exchange and cooperation among top Latin America and the Caribbean officials responsible for housing and urban policy. [UN-HABITAT Press Release]