Sabzevar, Iran, 24 October 2014: The Urban Development and Revitalization Organization (UDRO), Sabzevar Municipality and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to collaborate on slum upgrading in Sabzevar in northern Iran.  

At a ceremony held at the Sabzevar City Hall, the agreement was signed in the presence of the City Council, the Governor of Sabzevar, and other senior city officials.  The MOU provides a framework of cooperation within which Sabzevar Municipality, UDRO and UN-Habitat shall cooperate in empowering informal settlements in Sabzevar and improving environmental, demographic, social, economic, physical and managerial conditions of targeted neighbourhoods.

Sabzevar, a city of some 250,000 inhabitants in the Khorasan province, has been increasingly facing the challenge of informal settlements expansion on the fringes of the city due to internal migration and the proximity of surrounding villages to the city limits.  The city authorities wish to address and upgrade the living conditions of the population living in the informal settlements through a joint collaboration with UN-Habitat. 

It is hoped that this project will enhance the legal status of the dwellers in these areas, the empowerment of informal settlements dwellers – in particular women – and community participation in problem solving of informal settlements, inclusion of informal settlements in the urban development strategy, and integrated forward-planning urban approaches, founded on resilience principles.

The signing ceremony was followed up with a meeting of the city authorities under the chairmanship of the Governor, where the results of an independent needs assessment survey of the informal settlements were presented and discussed.

The UN-Habitat representative also visited Eid-Gah and NirooGah Neighborhoods as main informal settlement areas of Sabzevar.