“Shelter for All” can only be achieved if efforts are made at all levels and stages. Despite the overall growth of the world economy, the number of people living in in-human conditions is growing due to rapid urbanization, unbalanced development and distribution. Investing in housing, particularly that of the poor, is central to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It also requires us to mobilize all resources including the resources of the poor and to treat the poor as assets rather than burden. In support of this strategy, UN-HABITAT puts emphasis on community-based and cooperative initiatives such as Women Land Access Trusts and Housing Cooperatives, which are central to creating, developing and sustaining capacities of the poor and grassroots communities to meet their needs for housing and poverty reduction and urban services.
The main activities of the Community-based and Cooperative Initiatives are:
- to sensitize, promote and facilitate the development of Women Land Access Trusts and form a global network of community-based housing initiatives and land trusts;
- to promote, design, and test new community-based initiatives which utilize the grassroots poor people and enhance their skills for improving human settlements and their livelihood opportunities;
- to conduct studies on community-based initiatives and land trusts;
- to explore community-based initiatives in pro-poor housing and urban development (including infrastructure);
- to develop strategies, guidelines and frameworks for community-based initiatives (particularly finance initiatives) in pro-poor housing and urban development;
- to assist communities and local authorities to develop capacity in community-based initiatives and cooperative housing and land trusts;
- to promote woman empowerment in development and finance.