Erbil, 12 May 2016 – To mark the closure of a comprehensive informal settlement upgrading intervention in Erbil, a community development centre and a neighbourhood park were opened this week opened in Kurani Ainkawa. The Improving Housing Delivery System in Erbil - Upgrading of Kurani Ainkawa Informal Settlement project is funded by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and implemented by UN-Habitat in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UN-Habitat’s Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Kurdistan Minister of Planning Dr. Ali Sindi and the Governor of Erbil Mr. Nawzad Hadi attended the ceremony.

In her speech, Dr. Kacyira, underscored the importance of such urban interventions working together closely with the government counterparts as well as members of communities to achieve better future for those who reside in slums. Dr. Sindi, noted: “The project successfully addressed informal tenure status in Kurani Ainkawa, facilitating the formalization of tenure through negotiations with land owners and illegal residents.

It further demonstrates one of the best examples of successful partnership of the United Nations, Kurdistan Regional Government, private sector, and the community for improving people’s lives in the Kurdistan Region.” Governor Hadi, expressed his appreciation to the United Nations “for providing support to upgrade informal settlements in Kurani Ainkawa, resulting in a substantial improvement of the housing structure in the area as well as wide range of infrastructure and public services installed to enhance the living conditions in the neighbourhood.”

UNDP has been supporting Kurani Ainkawa community for socio-economic development within the neighbourhood, mobilizing the local community to effectively participate in housing improvement processes and enhance livelihood of the settlers. “Such community mobilization efforts led to the establishment of local specialized nongovernmental organization to sustain the achievements accomplished to date,” stated the local community representative, Ms. Gazang Saeed.

In line with the National Programme for Regularization and Rehabilitation of Informal Settlements and IDP Areas executed, this pilot project is implemented by UN-Habitat to provide vulnerable people in these areas with increased access to affordable housing with security of tenure and basic services. It is also supported by the global campaign Up for Slum Dwellers – Transforming a Billion Lives – launched by UN-Habitat this April to improve and transform the lives of one billion slum dwellers around the world, and UNDP Iraq’s Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP).

Kurani Ainkawa