Nairobi 3 April 2018—UN-Habitat recently held a one-day capacity building training for Participatory Urban Planning for executives from Kenya’s Turkana County.

The workshop highlighted the global urbanization context from different countries and specifically for Kenya, covering the following points - its challenges and opportunities, relation to Sustainable Development Goal 11, the New Urban Agenda, relevance to Kenya Vision 2030, the importance of Urban-Rural Linkages, Urban Economy and partnerships, Urban Legislation and Governance. Kenya’s urbanization history presented had traced the existence of urban areas to the precolonial era.

The training was tailored for the ministries concerned with Urban Planning, Transport and infrastructure, Urban Basic Services, Environmental management, Urban Economy and Finance and Social Planning. During the workshop, county officials identified unplanned urban growth, urban sprawl challenges and opportunities as important issues that county ministries should collectively address. In addition, UN-Habitat stressed the importance of formulating implementable plans that ensure urban development is well reconciled with environmental, social and cultural considerations.

The Member of Parliament for Turkana West, Daniel Nanok, was present for the training and acted as the representative of the national government. In his address, Nanok mentioned that planners and policy makers “need to make planning policies and spatial plans understandable to law makers from the very beginning, to enable their roles in the ratification of plans and meaningful support to stakeholder engagement in planning processes”. Nanok also expressed his unwavering support for the work that UN-Habitat is doing in Turkana, stating that now is indeed an opportune to plan for urbanization for the towns in the county, while also taking into consideration the numerous cultural complexities at current levels of development.

Finally, a representative from the National Government’s Urban Development Department led a session on the World Bank funded Kenyan Urban Support Programme (KUSP). In his presentation, he highlighted the size of the grant and the various windows of opportunities presented to the national and county government. He also demystified the conditions that the county is expected to meet as prequalification for the grant, as well as the exemptions that could be overlooked in the first disbursement as counties make proper preparations to meet the conditions.