Kismayo, Somalia, 22 December 2021 – Building on similar successful steps, UN-Habitat has held training workshops to provide guidance and capacity building on settlement planning so stakeholders can implement locally-led solutions and provide beneficiaries with training on efficient and sustainable use of land.

The training workshops held by UN-Habitat was part of the project “Sustainable, Safe and Durable Integration of Refugee Returnees and Host Communities in Urban Areas in Kismayo, Somalia”, funded by The Embassy of Japan.

The knowledge sharing and improved capacity will help the Somali Government in its plans to resettle up to 1,200 households of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Luglow, in the Kismayo district.

Twenty-five participants from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Public Works & Housing, Ministry of Environment, Jubaland IDP and Returnees Commission and vulnerable groups including youth and women attended the October 2020 workshop.

UN-Habitat trainings on sustainable development planning to serve as benchmark for locally-led sustainable settlement solutions

“The planning workshops delivered by UN-Habitat have created hope for the host community, IDPs, and returnees who will relocate to Luglow. Through the trainings, the community have gained increased awareness and knowledge of the importance of having proper settlement plans and how it can positively contribute to the economic growth in Luglow and its surrounding villages,” said the Luglow village leader, Mohamed Omar Abdi.

“The urban planning that is underway ensures that linkages are intertwined and takes into consideration spaces for recreation, vocational training and other skills-enhancing activities,” said the Coordinator of the Jubaland Durable Solutions Secretariat at the Ministry of Interior, Federalism and Reconciliation, Farah Abdinoor Ahmed.

The positive impact of the trainings is reflected in the current draft plan of the site which not only includes immediate solutions to displacement, but also solutions to long-term urban development and economic integration of internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities living in the vicinity of the Luglow site and in Kismayo town.

The spatial plan specifically includes both economic and environmental objectives to help build a strong, responsive, and competitive economy by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right time and place.

It would also protect and enhance the natural and historic environment by making effective use of land and minimise waste and pollution – thus mitigating and adapting to climate change. Through this project, the stakeholders have cultivated the tools and capacity to engage in urban settlement planning which reflects the priorities and needs of the community. 

“The continued commitment and development of the Luglow site by the stakeholders who participated in the first phase of capacity building training demonstrates how effective community-led approaches are to sustainable approaches to urban development,” said UN-Habitat programme manager Falastin Omar.  The project will support a second phase of training workshops that deepens the capacity of stakeholders on the practical use of urban planning tools in developing their communities.

Some examples which reflect the sustainable planning of the site includes the reservation of 1,300 hectares of land for agricultural purposes to provide livelihood opportunities for the relocated households, emphasis on building social infrastructure inclusive of, but not limited to, education facilities, health centres, and markets, the incorporation of a road safety plan to ensure road safety goals, and the rehabilitation of canals to benefit farmers from irrigation.

The phase two of the Luglow Urban Planning Workshop training is the second such capacity building workshop. In 2020, UN-Habitat delivered the first phase of the workshops on sustainable development planning in Kismayo as part of a project, also funded by the Embassy of Japan, that addressed durable integration of refugee returnees and host communities in urban areas in Kismayo.