Achieving sustainable urban development through resilience and economic development in Iraq210 March, Erbil - UN-Habitat recently organised a high-level capacity building workshop with over 60 participates from Iraqi governorates and the Ministry of Planning representatives under the Local Area Development Programme (LADP) jointly implemented by UNDP and UN-Habitat, funded by the European Union. The workshop was held in Erbil, Iraq to discuss the National Strategic Urban Development Framework within the context of the New Urban Agenda.

The workshop set out to define a strategic approach to addressing urban resilience and economic development at the governorate level, as well as outlining the process for developing the National Strategic Spatial Development Framework for National and Governorate levels. The Framework will be entitled: “Achieving Sustainable urban development through resilience and economic development in Iraq”, and is expected to contribute to a balanced urban development throughout the country.

At the opening of the workshop, Erfan Ail, Head of UN-Habitat Iraq Programme, outlined the importance of a participatory approach in developing the National Spatial Development Framework for Iraq that embraces the New Urban Agenda’ within the context of Habitat III on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development.

Mohammed Sayed, Director General of the Ministry of Planning Iraq also re-echoed the need for governorates to develop their respective urban strategies in an inclusive and participatory manner.

Achieving sustainable urban development through resilience and economic development in Iraq1Thinking strategically, acting locally   

Through a series of presentations and interactive discussions in line with the New Urban Agenda, UN-Habitat introduced contemporary approaches and methodologies that encourage planned and balanced development of urban areas through planned city expansion, the notion of ‘thinking strategic but acting locally’, as well as the key role that governorates play in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by embracing sustainable urbanization.

UN-Habitat also emphasized the need for governorates to strengthening their respective institutional arrangements and execute governorate budget so as to ensure effective delivery of services and infrastructure to the citizens of Iraq.

One of the sessions focused on an online Data Management Platform created by UN-Habitat to introduce a new level of participatory planning among decision-makers and technical staff. The Platform is easily accessible by the Ministry and all governorates’ staff.

An official from Basra governorate showcased how data can be uploaded onto the platform, and how data can be shared between the national and governorate levels as well as between governorates. The platform also enable for systematic assessment data from both National and governorate levels resulting in developing a credible National Spatial Development Framework for Iraq.

The three years Local Area Development Programme (2015-2018) aims to improve capacity for urban planning and implementation across governorates in Iraq, resulting in higher budget execution and efficient service delivery. The programme also seeks to encourage efficient communication and coordination between central and governorate levels as well as pave the way for the adoption of participatory approaches in local planning and development.