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Shelter is a basic human need. Thus, providing adequate housing is a fundamental development objective but it is also highly complex. Successful housing activities can rarely be isolated from the development of associated infrastructure—e.g., water, sanitation, transport—and social services.

The Housing Sector Environmental Guideline focus on housing reconstruction after natural disasters that must be carried out in highly difficult circumstances and there are expectations to be operational very quickly. The Guideline does not address technical standards for construction of housing units, water supply and treatment, etc. Instead, its purpose is (1) to convey the full range of environmental and environmental health issues associated with housing construction, and (2) to provide a guided framework for considering these issues in the siting, design and implementation of housing projects, particularly in post-disaster reconstruction and in risk-prone areas.

Note: It is highly recommended that readers review additional Sector Environmental Guidelines in this series as much of their content has implications for housing activities: Water and SanitationSolid WasteRural Roads, and Construction.