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UNECE and Azerbaijan Focus on Sustainable Housing

19 November 2010: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has released a Country Profile on the Housing Sector of Azerbaijan, and organized the International Forum on Natural Disasters and Building and Construction Safety from 16-17 November 2010, in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The country study contains recommendations on the development of effective legislation and mechanisms for targeting existing illegal housing and preventing further illegal construction. It notes that Azerbaijan has implemented programmes on improving energy efficiency in buildings and increasing the rational use of energy in the construction sector, and suggested that the government could use the recently adopted Action Plan for Energy-efficient Housing in the UNECE Region to facilitate the implementation of measures aimed at removing barriers to energy efficiency in the housing sector.

The international forum was organized by the UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management, in cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan, with a view to discussing case studies on disaster preparedness and reconstruction, as well as effective policy solutions for the UNECE region. Participants pointed to best-practice examples of: spatial planning strategies in disaster-prone areas; coordination of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and its integration in strategies and action plans at the national level; and the promotion of construction techniques for seismic-resistant houses based on traditional local building materials. Nine recommended actions were agreed to improve disaster preparedness in the housing sector: coordinating effectively DRR at the national level; strengthening national institutional capacity for disaster preparedness; involving local authorities and expertise in the development and implementation of disaster reduction action plans; improving land use planning in disaster-prone areas; conducting disaster risk assessments and developing maps of areas/buildings at risk; strengthening legal frameworks; retrofitting existing buildings as a priority; raising public awareness; and involving stakeholders. [UNECE Press Release on Azerbaijan Country Study][UNECE Press Release on the International Forum]