Rapid globalisation, demographic change, knowledge and technological shift, climate change and the need for a green economy, inclusiveness and poverty alleviation are among key challenges all nations face in achieving sustainable development. To address these challenges, strategic solutions cannot be based on addressing only one of these factors but must take into account, at the local area level, the interplay of these elements. However, policy responses are still fragmented and there is no articulation of a sustainable answer to ensure and increase the quality of life in the light of these changes. To succeed in addressing these challenges, effective policy interventions based on a multi-disciplinary approach and participation of all actors including government, social partners, community organisations, etc is essential. There is a need for new ways of thinking, sharing knowledge and experiences and learning from successes and failures.

Realizing this need, developing countries have opted for consultation mechanisms and South-South cooperation in their respective regions. In the area of housing and urban development, several regional forums have been established since the beginning of 21st century, namely: the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development, the Regional Meeting of Ministers and High-level Authorities of the Housing and Urban Development Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab States Ministerial Forum on Housing and Urban Development and the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development.

The establishment of APMCHUD was officially endorsed in its First Conference organised in New Delhi, India, on 15th–16th December 2006. According to the Declaration of this Conference (APMCHUD, 2006), the participating ministers:

“7. Decide to establish the Asia-Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) as the consultative mechanism on the promotion of sustainable development of Housing and Urban Development in the Asia-Pacific Region.”

Accordingly, APMCHUD is composed of biennial ministerial conferences, a bureau and a secretariat. The then interim secretariat established by India currently functions as the Permanent Secretariat for the APMCHUD. The United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat) has constantly assisted the Secretariat in performing its mandate.