State of Afghan Cities 1Herat, 5 February 2015: A participatory City Workshop was held on 4 February 2015 in the Municipality of Herat. It was attended by over 80 local stakeholders, including government officials, including Mayor Ghulam Ghaws Nikbin, Municipal staff, line departments, municipal district heads, and local communities.

In his speech, Mayor Ghaws highlighted the importance of improved data and monitoring the urbanisation process in Herat city. He added that it is very difficult to manage urban growth, service delivery, and to improve municipal revenues without knowing even the most basic information on the current urban population.

Need for infrastructure and basic servicesThe need for infrastructure and basic services remain large in all cities of Afghanistan, especially secondary cities like Herat which receive a huge influx of people migrating to the city from the province and neighboring provinces due to the relative security and improved services and livelihoods cities can provide, especially for women and youth.

The workshop was part of the State of Afghan Cities Programme (SoAC), which is a one-year programme implemented by the Government of Afghanistan with technical support of UN-Habitat. A key programme outcome will be a State of Afghan Cities 2014/15 Report which will present a well-informed and action-oriented analysis of the state of urbanization all 33 Provincial Municipalities of Afghanistan plus the capital, Kabul.

City consultation workshops key tool in the development of reportThe city consultation workshops are a key tool in the development of the report. The motivation to hold city-level consultations reflects the fact that extensive local knowledge exists at the city-level on the situation, challenges, and opportunities.

Mr. Adeli Mohammad Anwar, Representative from the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG) remarked that "this workshop will give us very good information for improving urban decision making, particularly for the large-scale urban solidarity programme which is planned to start soon."

State of Afghan Cities - CopyMr. Mathew French, Acting UN-Habitat Country Representative for Afghanistan, hailed the support of the mayor, the Herat Municipality, IDLG, the Government of Australia and the participants of the workshop. He noted "these city workshops are being implemented across the country in an effort to engage a wide range of urban actors in assessing the conditions of Afghan cities and improving knowledge of urbanization. The aim is to guide the inevitable growth of cities and harness it as a driver of national development, peace and prosperity ".

SoAC is currently being implemented by the Government of Afghanistan, with technical support from UN-Habitat in the 34 Provincial Capitals of Afghanistan using an innovative methodology to extract up-to-date information from high-resolution satellite images. This will produce a report that is rich in primary data that can be used for improved planning, policies and programming. The State of Afghan Cities Report 2014/15 will be published mid-2015.

icon1Find out more on the State of Afghan Cities Programme here

 icon1 Download the programme brochure of the State of Afghan Cities Programme here.