Nouakchott, 3 April 2019-- High-Level Meeting was recently hosted by the Ministry of Habitat, Urbanism and Territorial Management in Nouakchott marked an important step in the policy making process related to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Mauritania.

With an extensive territory, predominantly desertic and facing the challenges of climate change impacts, Mauritania has a population of nearly 4 million inhabitants out of which a quarter lives in the sprawling capital city.

In this context the government considers guiding the process of fast urbanization as key to ensure access to housing and basic services for the population to achieve sustainable development and prosperity for all. 

The event, which included a political segment and technical presentations from UN-Habitat and local experts, saw the participation of three national ministers, precisely the Ministry of Habitat, Urbanism and Territorial Management, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Decentralization.  The United Nations system in Mauritania was represented by the UN Resident Coordinator.

Overall attendance included key experts, local authorities and stakeholders with a strong participation of women especially from civil society, who actively engaged during the debate.

The technical section of the programme, followed by interactive discussions, featured presentations on the New Urban Agenda and other global development frameworks, on the urban resilience and climate actions as well as on national and local urban development frameworks, legislations and challenges.

During the debate, representatives from disabled people brought the perspective of accessibility in cities as a key element for inclusive cities for all. 

“Our country shares the same preoccupation with many other countries in the world on the urgency to effectively implement the New Urban Agenda to strengthen the urban governance based on responsible planning at all scales supported by adequate legal instruments and sustainable financial mechanisms”, said the Minister in his opening remarks.

The event was covered by the National Television and other national and local media, and it was closed with a recap of conclusions and recommendations by the rapporteur.

The report of the discussions will inform, among others, the Memorandum of Understanding between UN-Habitat and the Ministry aimed at partnering on the formulation of a National Urban Policy and a Strategic Action Plan for Mauritania cities and human settlements.

The roadmap to the policy will include the set-up of a National Urban Forum with participation of key stakeholders to share the urban diagnostic under preparation and provide the strategic orientations.

The government will then plan for a meaningful country participation to the next World Urban Forum in February 2020 in Abu Dhabi to benefit from international exchanges that would strengthen the finalization of the urban policy and its future implementation.