Baghdad, October 2018 – The Local Area Development Programme (LADP) identifies key obstacles to local-level planning and service delivery in Iraq. Funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UN-Habitat in partnership with UNDP, the Ministries of Planning (MOP) of the Federal and Kurdistan Region governments respectively, and the Governorates, LADP-EU supports development of local planning frameworks linking investment expenditures to larger strategic investments at both the local and national level as articulated in the National Development Plan 2018-2022 and reflected in the commitment of the Government of Iraq to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Through its bottom-up participatory approach the LADP-EU program has improved understanding among key stakeholders of how effective sectoral spatial and land policies, frameworks and implementation tools impact local development and urbanisation.

UN-Habitat engaged local authorities in selected governorates in a spatial analysis of governorate and district-level indicators and indices and in drafting a National Urban Strategic Framework as well as nine Governorate Urban Strategies. Diversified economic growth strategies proposed for different clusters of governorates are based on analysis of specific economic trends that catalyse development, based on the most urgent needs of each cluster and the potential impact of new spatial strategies in cities with development potential. Composite maps based on available statistical data highlighting quality of life, levels of deprivation, and socio-economic development potential indices offer a new set of spatial guidelines for policy makers to apply in allocating capital investments. The Governorate Urban Strategies reflect the need to create opportunities for sustainable income generation, empower and build human capital, and establish an effective social safety net in line with the three pillars of Iraq’s Vision 2030.

This complex spatial and analytical work of was led by Dr Mona Serageldin, vice-president of the Institute for International Urban Development from 2005-2018. It was among the last of many projects in sustainable urbanization she accomplished before her demise in May 2018. During global celebrations to mark World Habitat Day held on 1 October 2018 in Nairobi Dr Mona Serageldin (1938 – 2018) was awarded the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour post-humously in recognition of her outstanding contributions to promoting practical research-based approaches to a broad spectrum of development challenges in a wide range of settings.

Under LADP-EU, the UN-Habitat team also developed a strategic urban recovery and development plan for Ramadi and a plan for the conservation and development of the historic quarters of Basra. The application of a more sustainable urban expansion planning model has been piloted in Maysan and a new post-graduate programme in Planning Sustainable Cities was designed for Kufa University. In addition, governorate transportation plans and industrial spatial development plans have been developed for different clusters, while state land inventories have been set up in Maysan and Najaf and municipal finance and budget execution piloted in four municipalities.

The consultations and planning work conducted at the local level demonstrate the need for close coordination between governorate and national plans and are related to economic and environmental overlays with common characteristics, challenges and inter-connectedness. The Governorates Urban Strategies report was included as an Annex to the Iraqi National Development Plan 2018-2022 launched in May 2018.