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Monitoring housing rights: Developing a set of indicators to monitor the full and progressive realisation of the human right to adequate housing

Author, Copyright Holder: 
UN/ Habitat

This report is divided into six chapters, each of which analyses a different aspect of the creation and implementation of a set of housing rights indicators. Chapter I provides a brief overview of the right to adequate housing under international law as well as a discussion regarding the need for developing a set of housing rights indicators.

Chapter II examines some of the elements or ‘concepts’, which can potentially be included in this approach, including a discussion of various potential indicators that may be used to measure each of these elements. Among the housing rights elements and sub-elements included in this chapter include: housing adequacy, including issues of habitability, accessibility, affordability, etc.; status of access to housing resources by vulnerable groups, etc.; scale and scope of homelessness; scale and scope of forced evictions and displacement; formal existence of national legislation protecting housing rights as well as practical implementation of national legislation, namely, the extent to which national legislation is applied, the presence of institutions related to housing rights, and the extent to which legislation can be called upon by disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in society, especially with regard to due process remedies; acceptance of international standards as evidenced by the ratification of international legal instruments; quality and adequacy of housing stock; and other issues relevant to housing rights such as security of tenure and status of informal settlements.

Building on the discussion presented in chapter II, chapter III outlines how to move from individual indicators to the construction of a systematic set of indicators. This chapter presents a detailed discussion on the pros and cons of particular indicators, and identifies 17 key indicators, which would be both methodologically practical and conceptually valid. Chapter III also clusters relevant indicators into conceptual categories so as to avoid statistical confounds and duplication, and includes a discussion of how it may be possible to eventually apply different weights to different indicators.

Chapter IV explores some of the more practical methodological aspects of the set of human rights indicators, namely the means by which data on the various indicators can be collected. The chapter examines how data should be aggregated and disaggregated, keeping in mind that the quality of the indicators must be preserved and kept consistent among the various states and regions of the world. It also explores the possibility for integrating housing rights indicators into existing instruments, such as the Population and Housing Census, in order to facilitate data collection, and explores some of the pros and cons of using alternative data sources.

Chapter V examines the usefulness of the set of housing rights indicators with respect to monitoring implementation of, and compliance with, international legal instruments, in particular the ICESCR. The chapter discusses how the information provided by the set of indicators can be used by States Parties to the ICESCR in meeting their reporting obligations, as well as by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights itself in its examination of country reports.

Finally, chapter VI, based upon the considerations analysed in the previous sections, proposes the structure, elements and operation of a set of housing rights indicators to measure the progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing. The chapter also provides several diagrams, which are meant to help visually illustrate the proposed construction of the set of indicators.

The Annexes which supplement this report include a listing of suggested operational definitions to be used by the set of housing rights indicators (Annex I); General Comment No. 4 of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the right to adequate housing (Annex II); and General Comments No. 7, of the same Committee, on forced evictions (Annex III).

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