Kalobeyei, 13 February 2014-- On a mission to the Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement Development Programme (KSEDP), UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira announced that the agency would bring together policy and research work from a global level to the field in a normative and a scientific way.

The mission to Kakuma and Kalobeyei in Turkana County was to offer support to KSEDP, a project undertaken in partnership with United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Turkana County Government. Also in the mission was UNHCR Country representative Raouf Mazou, as well as other high-level delegates from the two agencies and other thematic area implementing partners.

In the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic programme (KISEDP), located in Turkana County, UN-Habitat is supporting in the planning for sustainable integration of 60,000 refugees with the local population while demonstrating sustainable approaches in human settlement.

In her speech, Dr. Kacyira echoed the UN Secretary-General’s support for peace and emphasized on a people-centered peaceful agenda in this project.

“I want to urge the county government to take advantage of the UN-Habitat planning and design Lab to support in the planning of the extended area of Kalobeyei and Kakuma to match with the current development in the new site and secondly to fast track the approval of the UN-Habitat spatial plan to expedite the planning process and also to help in mobilizing resources for the implementation,” she said.

On his part Mr. Mazou, the UNHCR Country representative reiterated a statement made by the Turkana County Governor at the inception of the project that ‘the new refugee site should not be a replication of Kakuma refugee camp, but a settlement, which promotes integration’. He added that this should be done by having the right carrying capacity of people in the new settlement to avoid damaging the environmental services available.

The county representative reported that the governor highly supports the project and insisted on integrated delivery of services to equally benefit the Host and the refugee community in a sustainable way. Turkana people being traditionally pastoralists, the Governor also requested for more support in terms of water provision for their animals and domestic use especially during the current drought season, which is prevalent in most parts of the county.

The mission was planned to help the UN-Habitat and UNHCR senior management to appreciate the outcome of the UN-Habitat participatory planning process and also to visit a number of projects which were implemented in the host and refugee community to foster integration and sustainable human settlements. The issues addressed ranged from understanding the current situation to brainstorming about the future plans with key action points which are pertinent for the development of the new refugee settlement.

Later Dr. Kacyira visited the new site to see how the UN-Habitat plan was implemented and also other projects implemented alongside the planning process. She strongly lauded the trainees who participated in the construction of a road and a high capacity water pan in the host community and a second road in the new refugee site. These trainees would later start Youth and Women-led companies for water and road construction. More specifically, she urged the women to acquire more knowledge and skills to enable them participate not only in the local development but also in other parts of the country.