Yaoundé, 4 May 2017 - Over 40 government officials, including 16 women, representing 10 institutions attended a day-long training on national urban policy development processes in the capital of the Republic of Cameroon, Yaoundé.

In the preparation of the training, Mr. Jean Claude Mbwentchou, Minister of Housing and Urban Development  emphasized that the policy should aim at ‘changing the mindset’ of citizens to become more accountable to actively contribute to better urbanization.

Opening the training session, Mr. Ahmadou Sardaouna, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, underscored the critical need of ensuring that all government institutions are all ‘on the same page’ as the government embarked on the formulation of the national urban policy. He emphasize that a national policy is essential to guide sustainable development and quality urbanization in Cameroon.

Through lectures, quiz, case studies and group work, participants enhanced their skills in the policy development process and cycle. During the session, participants were asked to reflect on the role and benefits of national urban policies, the process to achieve ‘good’ policy outcomes, the key partners to be involved, the risks and their understanding of urban issues.

During the report back sessions and questions and answer session, it was clear that participants were engaged, committed to contribute and very much aware of the need for NUP in the context of Cameroon’s long term development agenda, the Vision 2035.

Concrete actions

Participants concluded the session by identifying eight critical factors of success for developing a national urban policy for Cameroon. Some of the actions include: linking national urban policy to territorial planning; supporting evidence based policy making; linking the NUP to the Cameroon vision 2035; continuous capacity development of actors including seniors officials; working with various ‘champions’ and change agents to promote transformational leadership; account for culture and diversity; aiming at better management of land; and adopting smart urban development approaches.

This training was part of the implementation of the National Urban Policy project in Cameroon. In December 2015, the Government of Cameroon signed an agreement of contribution to UN-Habitat and the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr Joan Clos, officially launched the project in Yaoundé in February 2016. In December the same year, the first inter-ministerial committee meeting took place in Yaoundé to finalise the terms of reference of the steering committee and the technical secretariat in charge of the monitoring and the support for the effective development of the policy.