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Vietnamese Study Tour in Korea on Low-Income Housing

With average increase of population of about 1 million people per year, Viet Nam remains one of the most densely populated countries in the region and in the world. Rapid urbanization under the influence of the market economy led to a wide-scale and intense redistribution of the population and labor force throughout the country. Population density in the capital of Hanoi reached nearly 1900 people per km in 2009 and that of Ho Chi Minh City is 3,400 people¹. While the housing shortage per household is around 0,06 %², this statistics could be changed with the calculation of housing area per head, the redistribution of population and the quality of housing stock. In some cities, the housing price is far from affordable to many low and middle income people. Decent social housing for workers, migrants, students and some disadvantaged groups is also in serious shortage.

¹ As per Viet Nam Population and Housing Census 2009 (General Statistics Office)
² Ministry of Construction Statistics, 2010

When Viet Nam grows and moves up on the ladder of Middle Income Countries (MIC), it is crucial to ensure social protection for people that includes the promotion of housing right, to sustain the country’s socio-economic stability. UN-HABITAT, together with other UN Agencies, has been supporting the Government of Viet Nam to achieve its development agenda for the benefit of Vietnamese people. Within this framework, Ministry of Construction has requested UN-HABITAT’s technical support in the improvement of the national housing policy and the development of a strategy for low income housing that is critical for inclusive, equitable and sustainable housing development and management.

A study tour to learn good practices in operation and management of pro-poor housing development in Korea was organized from 16 to 22 of January 2011 by UN-HABITAT and International Urban Training Centre (IUTC), Korea as part of the project on low-income housing policies. Participants include officers of Ministry of Construction (MOC), government management agency for housing in Viet Nam, Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), other departments related to land, housing and community development, representatives from local municipalities and the Association Cities of Viet Nam (ACVN). The study tour aims to strengthen the capacity of Vietnamese housing policy makers in policy, institutional, regulatory/legal and financial frameworks for low-income housing provision and in improvement of accessibility in a participatory manner.

“The study tour is a good chance for Vietnamese housing policy makers to learn experiences of pro-poor housing development, formulation of housing policy and financing initiatives in Korea, one of Asian countries which have developed this sector well. We have tried to make it as practical as possible with a mix of training workshop, site visits and meeting with related institutions on the field and to explore some practical model like housing saving fund modality in Korea. I believe this will bring some insights for the policy maker participants, and thereby support them in finalization the national housing development strategy to 2020, vision of 2030”, Mr Tran Xuan Bach- UN-HABITAT Vietnam Project Manager said.

The primary objective of the study tour was to exchange information, knowledge and experience between housing policy makers and practitioners of Viet Nam and Korea, particularly on pro-poor housing development approaches, policy formulation, framework delivery and housing financing initiatives developed and used in various housing projects and investments in Korea. It is expected that follow-through actions that are practical and applicable solutions would be adopted and implemented to suit the Vietnam’s contexts, particularly with the ongoing design and implementation of the Viet Nam national housing strategy, with the objective of ensuring affordable and accessible housing for the poor.

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