Addis Ababa, 4 April 2019-- More than 80 mayors, city managers and university professors from all over Ethiopia recently gathered at the UNECA Conference Center participated in the First Executive City Labs organized by UN-Habitat.

The Executive City Labs kick started the capacity building component of the UN-Habitat Country Programme (2016-2020) by bringing together a community of city leaders and key stakeholders at regional and federal levels from different provinces and cities in Ethiopia, amongst them several mayors and city managers with executive and decision-making responsibilities at city level.

The UN-Habitat Country Programme, funded by the Government of Sweden, supports Ethiopia’s efforts to manage rapid urbanization, in alignment with the United Nations Development Action Framework, as well as the development priorities of the Ethiopian government outlined in the GTP II notably its urban component.

The Inaugural Executive City Labs drew on the Fundamental of Urbanization Training Toolkit which was developed by UN-Habitat Capacity Building Unit at the Headquarters in Nairobi in 2018, based on the recent report “The Fundamentals of Urbanization: Evidence Base for Policy Making”, 2016.

The events were organized in two Labs and were structured in four compact modules: Module I “The State of Urbanization”, Module II “the Fundamentals of planned Urbanization”, Module III “The management of urban growth through planned city extensions”, and Module IV “Housing at the Center of Urban Policies”.

The Executive City Labs provided the group with a quick guide, concepts and skills on key urban management issues. Through interactive sessions and specifically designed peer to peer exchanges, the program also gave participants an opportunity to voice their specific needs and expectations in terms of learning and capacity building support, with regards to their functions as managers of cities and urban development in Ethiopia.  The programme had a dual objective to capture needs and gaps as part of an interactive Training Needs Assessment.

By involving staff of academic institutions in these training events, UN-Habitat Country Programme aims at developing and strengthening endogenous capacities to deliver training and capacity building to public servants at the city level, with the long-term goal to create and strengthen “Centers of Excellence” in the regions.