The real estate and financial crisis: Causes, effects and impacts on development

New York, 16 December 2008
3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Conference Room 8 at UN headquarters

The financial crisis is having repercussions on economies throughout the world and is likely to be the most severe global crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. As it is becoming a global challenge, the United Nations through a number of different initiatives is trying to understand its root causes, as well as the effects and impacts of the crisis on development. In addition to providing advice on addressing the current crisis, there is a need to discuss institutional changes and ways to operate that will help world markets to avoid similar shocks in the future and make the real estate sector more stable and sustainable.

The financial crisis was generated by turmoil in the real estate market and triggered initially by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States, hence this sector needs special attention. Every developed country’s economy is underpinned by their real estate and property market, thus addressing this specific issue would assist the recovery towards more sustainable economic systems.

A seminar organized by the Secretariat and the Real Estate Market Advisory Group (REM) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, with the support of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) will give an opportunity to Governments, representatives of United Nations agencies and Regional Commissions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to discuss:
  • The existing and possible roles for the United Nations to provide a forum for addressing additional financial and real estate issues and advising countries on the matter, including existing good practices;
  • The need for targeted responses that governments could develop to limit the damage of the current financial crisis and re establish a healthy real estate market, including the development of post-crisis policy guidelines for both the real estate and financial sectors that will promote stability and sustainability;
  • The characteristics that a new real estate market and credit system should have, including collaborative standard setting for increased informational transparency, limitations on the use of complex financial tools, better capital risk allocation models, and policies and actions to sustain investors’ confidence and increase citizens’ trust;
The seminar will in addition discuss the need for more comprehensive policies and action in the housing and land management sector to be developed at the regional and global levels. Policies and action should be directed towards a healthier real estate market, but also look at the possible complementarities between increasing the financial stability of the real estate sector with attempts to also make this market more environmentally sustainable and more socially responsive to the need to provide adequate housing for all.

The Programme and the Concept Note for the seminar are attached.

The current REM Chairman is Giampiero Bambagioni (Vice-chairman Tecnoborsa).

For more information please contact:

Ms. Paola Deda
Secretary to the Committee on Housing and Land Management UNECE Environment, Housing and Land Management Division

Palais des Nations
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 2553
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0107


Opening remarks by Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (88 kb)

Press Release (182 kb)

UNECE Weekly - Economic Commission for Europe (374 kb)