Amman, November 16, 2018 - Under the leadership of Mr. Walid Masri, Minister of Municipal Affairs (MoMA) of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, UN-Habitat  and MOMA convened the launching workshop to initiate a national consultation on the development of a National Urban Policy (NUP) for Jordan.

The workshop gathered national and local authorities, UN and international development agencies, urban experts and practitioners, planning professionals, academia, specialized NGOs and other stakeholders. The overall objective of the workshop was to raise awareness among stakeholders in Jordan on the added-value of NUP as an overarching coordinating framework that supports the spatial organization and operation of cities.

Moreover, NUPs play a crucial role in promoting the positive role of urbanization in national socio-economic development through maximizing the benefits of urbanization, reducing inequalities, and rallying various urban actors.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Al Masri, said “We at MoMA believe that this contribution of United Nations and especially  UN-Habitat is timely and much needed, taking into consideration the population increase we are witnessing in Jordan due to forced migrations that are triggered by political and security instabilities in our region, and the resulting pressures on housing and services, and resources in general”.

On her part,  Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad, UN-Habitat Regional Director for Arab States said, “The importance of this workshop is to provide a space for consultation on the priorities of urban policies in the Kingdom and its role in facing the many urban challenges facing our country.”

Following the opening of the workshop, an overview of the NUP framework and its contribution to sustainable urbanization at the global level was presented to the attendees in addition to a preliminary analysis of Jordan’s urban challenges and opportunities that NUP should address and capitalize on. Workshop participants were divided into five thematic working groups to discuss and agree on the key priority areas that will guide the NUP-making process. The recommendations that came out from each of the working groups will pave the way for an evidence-based NUP making process in Jordan as well as contribute to the definition of the policy goals and direction.

Jordan has been experiencing a steady increase in its urban population exacerbated by the successive waves of forced migrants from surrounding countries, living mostly outside camps. According to the World Bank, 62,000 to 74,000 housing units are required annually to meet the housing demand. Along with population growth, the impacts of climate change, limited natural resources, water deficiencies, environmental degradation and pollution are straining Jordan’s limited resources.

Moreover, economic growth has not been able to generate sufficient and decent job opportunities for all, and the national budget deficit and foreign debts have reached unprecedented levels. To cope with these challenges, and achieve sustainable urban development, Jordan needs an enabling framework to provide coordination among different sectors and ministries, address urban challenges, and maximize the opportunities offered by urbanization, while mitigating potential adverse externalities. Developing a National Urban Policy (NUP) for Jordan will provide the country with such a coordination framework to define a common vision for its urban future, promote institutional collaboration and policy coherence among all stakeholders responsible of urban affairs, and catalyze more sustainable practices.

In the framework of the Regional Programme “Sustainable, Inclusive and Evidence-based National Urban Policies in selected Arab countries” implemented by UN-Habitat in five Arab countries, UN-Habitat Jordan Office is joining forces with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to devise a NUP for Jordan as an enabling framework that enforces resilience, sustainability, accessibility, and prosperity for all city dwellers. The NUP-making process builds on and complements the existing policies and development strategies of Jordan. It will stimulate wide stakeholder consultation to ensure an open, and collaborative policy development process.