Nairobi, 6 November 2019: More than 40 participants took part in a National Urban Policy training held in Nairobi late last month.
The National Urban Policy Training session was part of the 3rd International Conference on National Urban Policy (ICNUP3) and was held at UN- Habitat Headquarters Nairobi. Those taking part were from Kenya, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon among other countries.
Objectives of the training were to understand: 1) the role of NUP towards sustainable urbanization 2) NUP Process and how this is conducted in practice 3) how to assess/review (monitor and evaluate NUP process and product) and finally 4) the thematic application of NUPs. The modules in the NUP Learning material were adapted to fit a none day training event.
Most of the participants were professionals working in the urban development from national and local governments, and drawn from various sectors including housing, environment, capacity development, policy work, planning, urban livelihoods, infrastructure among other, with majority involved in policy development work. The pre-engagement survey indicated up to 75% had technical capacity gaps in NUP development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The training session referenced the NUP learning material which is comprised of three modules namely: Introduction to NUP, the NUP process and Assessment, and Thematic Application of NUPs. The first module highlighted the role of NUP towards sustainable urbanization, introduced the NUP and the stakeholders involved within the NUP process, explained why NUP matters, and outlined the NUP phases, pillars and principles. Module two gave in-depth description of the steps and activities related to the National Urban Policy process. Participants led by Saudi Arabian colleagues shared and discussed experiences in the iterative NUP process.
Using sample policy objectives and action plans with smart indicators the principle of NUP “implementability” and the need to ensure action plan is agreed upon by most if not all the stakeholders, involved depending on different contexts, was discussed for inadequate rigorous participatory approach stalls implementation of most policies.
Participants were also taken through mainstreaming of thematic issues in NUPs. Mainstreaming was indicated as one of the ways in which NUPs could be strengthened to achieve global agendas. UN-Habitat has developed different NUP thematic guides of which some are already in use including: climate change, smart cities strategies, urban-rural linkages, public space, health, food systems and nutrition, transportation, migration among others. Using examples from Jordan among other countries, UN-Habitat experiences on mainstreaming climate change in NUPs were shared. She clearly outlined the 16 recommendations needed for climate change adaptation, mitigation and governance. Almost all countries in the room were keen on how to incorporate climate change in their policies. Using Korean experience and giving recommendations for every NUP pillar and phase, UN-Habitat shared on mainstreaming smart cities strategies NUPs. Both highlighted need to systematically mainstream the themes within the NUP phases and process.
The NUP training post-engagement exercises indicated could not only define NUPs, but also its phases, pillars and principles. Over 90 per cent indicated appreciation and value of NUPs in sustainable urbanization in their countries and need to ensure they fast track their implementation.