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- UN-Habitat Executive Director: World Cities Day Message
The world’s urban population is growing rapidly and Libya is no exception. Urbanization rates in Libya have risen steadily, from 49 percent in 1970 to 79 percent in 2016. Today about 85% of the total population live in urban areas in major cities including Tripoli the capital of Libya, Benghazi, Misrata and Bayda.
The country extends over 1,759,540 km2 where more than 90% of the total land area is desert or semi-desert. Combined with the projected increase in population, this will result in a number of major challenges in the country including the provision of adequate housing, food, clean drinking water, job opportunities, health care, education, and transportation.
Urban management and legislation is one of the key pillars of sustainable urban development. Over the past four decades, the issue of housing represented one of the most complex problems facing the Libyan state. Libya could not succeed in the formulation of a clear and specific housing policy that takes into consideration the social, economic and environmental dimensions to meet the requirements of citizens of different living conditions.
Although the Government has tried to address the problem of the adequate and affordable housing to the nations over the past 25 years, the progress is slow, and the problem of “informal settlements” is still growing.
There are more than 50 pieces of legislations, guidelines, rules, and regulations on land, building, environment and workers’ safety. All these laws, policies and regulations are different from state to state, local councils, and governmental agencies.
For this, appropriate policies and strategies should be put in place to manage the accelerated pace of urban growth.
In this context, UN Habitat Libya Programme will support the Urban Planning Agency in launching the National Housing Policy, establishment of the Housing Observatory, and implementing a capacity building Programme.