Beni, the Democratic Republic of Congo – 5 November 2021--The municipal authorities of the secondary city of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will soon benefit from an integrated urban development strategy to facilitate the guidance of future municipal interventions and investments.

Rapid urbanization is a challenge especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where urban growth rates are higher than the capacities of urban planning authorities to cope with them through adequate management strategies. Sub-Saharan Africa is urbanizing late but fast, and the DRC is no exception to this trend.

As part of the efforts to tackle this challenge, UN-Habitat, in partnership with the Integrated Research Institute of the Bilingual Christian University of Congo (IRI-UCBC), jointly launched the project "Facilitating sustainable urban development in the secondary cities of eastern DRC through the formulation of provincial urban policies and an urban development strategy for the pilot city of Beni” in early September.

The project contributes to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through the development of local urban policies. With Beni's urban development strategy as an identified development priority, the project aims to improve the formulation and implementation of urban policies at the local level through tools for strengthening urban-rural links. The urban development strategy of the city of Beni is meant to be finalized by the end of the year 2021.

The event, organised under the patronage of Beni’s mayor and with the financial support of Booyoung Group and Andalusian International Cooperation Agency (AACID), was marked by a series of capacity building workshops for municipal institutions and other relevant stakeholders.

The objective of the capacity building sessions was to share knowledge and good practices from around the world focused on three main themes: principles of sustainable urban planning, practical urban planning (tools and methods), and the basics of Geographic Information System (GIS) as an urban planning tool. The sessions were facilitated by a pool of experts from ASF-Belgium (Architects Without Borders), IRI-UCBC and UN-Habitat consultants.

The launching event was attended by nearly 50 participants from urban public services of the city of Beni, the Congolese National Police, national and international NGOs, the National Stabilization and Reconstruction Program (STAREC), women's associations as well as members of the civil society.