UN-Habitat Supports “JANASEVANA” National Housing Symposium 2011

UN-Habitat, The United Nations Human Settlements Programme supported the Ministry of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities in organizing “JANASEVANA”, The National Housing Symposium. The event was held during 22‐23 March 2011 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) in Colombo.


The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) is committed to creating a conducive environment for the promotion of
affordable quality housing for all and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular the Goal 7 ‐ Target 11. The Government’s Development Policy Framework ‘Mahinda Chinthana Vision for a New Sri Lanka, A Ten Year Horizon Development Framework 2006 – 2016’ envisages the Government’s role in the housing sector shifting from the role of a developer and financier to that of a regulator and a facilitator.

“JANASEVANA” National Housing Symposium

The symposium provided a platform for all stakeholders in the housing sector, such as policy makers, academics, practitioners, developers, investors and members of micro finance institutions and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), to share their experiences and views on affordable, adequate housing in the emerging Sri Lankan economy. The forum created an opportunity to address different dimensions in the housing sector, to identify key challenges and explore opportunities in the realization of national objectives.

The symposium focused on four main thematic areas:

  • Housing needs: Social housing and quality of life
  • Current development strategies: policies and sustainability
  • A Home within reach: Affordability and quality of housing
  • Technology for affordable housing and disaster resistance

The two day symposium was inaugurated with an opening session and a keynote address followed by four technical sessions focusing on the priority housing sectors identified above. Two technical sessions were conducted each day, with each session featuring three to four eminent panellists with expertise in the sector. Each session commenced with a brief overview of the thematic area by the Chairperson, followed by 10‐15 minute presentations by each panellist. An interactive discussion was conducted at the end of each session to obtain the views and answer queries of the participants. On Day Two, following the two technical sessions, the Secretary Ministry of Construction,Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities provided the concluding remarks and guidance on the way forward for the housing sector in Sri Lanka following the National Housing Symposium.

The conference proceedings have been documented, and can be downloaded here.