Baghdad,6 November 2017 – UN-Habitat, under the patronage of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, hosted a seminar in Baghdad to discuss Planning Prospects for the Reconstruction and Recovery of Mosul. The event gathered a wide range of partners, including the national and local government counterparts, United Nations agencies, donors, NGOs, academic institutions and media.

The presentations addressed the challenges and the magnitude of the reconstruction tasks lying ahead, while taking note of experiences of the past. The city of Mosul has been without a master plan for 17, which has led to uncontrolled urban development at the edges of the city, and many underserviced areas. Now Mosul that is liberated from ISIL, the reconstruction process creates an opportunity to address these challenges taking, taking a medium-term view.

During the event, local government representatives emphasised the need to involve the local population in the process. Mr. Bashar Kiki, Head of Ninewa Governorate Council, stated that the lack of good planning in Mosul is causing a ‘chaos’, and now is the time to put an end to it by ensuring coordination among all relevant actors. Mr. Kiki also discussed about the link between urban development and human development, underlining the importance of incorporating the view of the local population. “The people of Mosul are very resourceful,” he remarked, “we have to see how they already cope with the crises, and support them in their efforts where possible… It is important to build trust between local people and local government through transparency and accountability”.

The event also reaffirmed the commitment of the international community to provide assistance to the reconstruction task lying ahead. Ms. Lise Grande, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, assured that the United Nations is committed to help Mosul through the Stabilization Programme of UNDP and the contributions of other UN agencies, and she referred to the Recovery and Resilience Programme (RRP) to be presented at the upcoming conference in Kuwait and UN-Habitat’s new data portal to support planning and implementation of the RRP.

Mr. Muzahim Al-Khyatt, President of Ninewa University and Coordinator of the Reconstruction for Mosul, welcomed the event, and presented the overview of challenges faced by Mosul and sub-urban areas, and emphasised the importance of strategic planning and collaborating with the private sector. During his presentation, he emphasised that not reconstruction of physical infrastructure is not the only challenge, but that a strengthened commitment to agriculture as a main driver of the local economy should also be considered.

Drawing on previous planning experiences in conflict-affected areas, Mr. Rogier van den Berg, Project Leader of UN-Habitat’s Urban Planning and Design Lab, clarified that strategic planning has the potential to accelerate decision making, and coordinate parallel processes, such as the long process of the restoration of the Old City, and defining key projects that need to be realised on the short term.
UNESCO was involved in the discussion to set provisions for the conservation and development planning for the old city of Mosul within the overall strategic planning for Reconstruction.
The discussion was followed by field assessment visit to the destroyed neighbourhood and a decision is made with the concerned authorities to proceed in further technical and participatory planning events in Mosul by UN-Habitat and relevant partners to produce the Strategic Plan for Reconstruction and Recovery of Mosul.