ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank will assist seven countries of Central and West Asia, including Pakistan, to enhance the role of the private sector in the delivery of inclusive, accessible, adequate, affordable and climate-resilient housing ecosystems that also champion the needs of disadvantaged population groups.

Approving the regional technical assistance of $500,000, the ADB says its team will explore private sector-based solutions and interventions besides identifying potential pilot projects for implementation.

The ADB says a high-level housing diagnostic study has been developed besides formulating a strategy for gender and climate-responsive and climate-resilient housing, with development of a plan to engage private sector.

It says leveraging the private sector strengths can help bridge the gap in housing provision, particularly in inclusive, sustainable and climate-responsive construction practices. It is essential to create an enabling environment that encourages private sector participation, including policy reforms, market incentives, and public-private partnerships.

Such an engagement will not only help narrow the housing gap but also contribute to the long-term goal of building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable urban environments in the Central and West Asian region.

The ADB assistance is aligned with other operational priorities to reduce inequalities, foster gender equality, promote climate and disaster resilience, strengthen institutional capacity, and advance regional cooperation.

In Central and West Asia, government bodies often find it very challenging to deliver affordable and social housing solutions. This limitation stems from low government capacity because of lack of institutional, financial, and technical capabilities, further complicated by aging infrastructure and outdated urban planning standards and policies.

Historical reliance on public sector solutions has proven insufficient to meet the growing demand, particularly among middle- and lower-income households.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2024

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