skewed-growth-returnees-and-poverty-top-agenda-as-afghanistan-holds-national-urban-conference_1Kabul, 16 November 2016- Rapid and unbalanced growth of urban population, the more people come to the cities from rural areas, issues of returnees, the construction of illegal buildings, severe poverty, lack of housing, violation of laws, environmental degradation were some of the top concerns at the Third National Urban Conference held in Kabul this week. The conference that was opened by President Mohammad Asharf Ghani- was attended by a number of high-ranking government officials including Minister of Urban Development and Housing Mr. Sayed Saadat Nadiri, Independent Directorate of Local Governance, Afghanistan Land Authority (ARAZI), Deputy Ministry of Municipalities, Mayors Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) Community Policing Directorate Ambassadors, Representatives of International Organization including UN- Habitat, and more than 150 Community Development Council (CDC) members in the Presidential Palace.

In the beginning of the conference Mr. Nadiri the Minister of Urban Development and Housing highlighted the issues facing Afghanistan cities. Mr. Naderi stated, as commitments made in the Second National Urban Conference, government had made several progresses such as: established the National Urban Development Council, prepared the Atlas of the cities-regions in major and strategic city-regions, started Occupancy Certificates program, drafted Municipality Law and, Urban Lands Law with full coordination with the urban sector institutions, establish new plan for CRIDA, launched the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Program (CCAP).

Ms. Sayeeda Alokozay, who delivered a presentation on behalf of CDCs, and General M. Ayini, Director of Community Policing/Police-e-Mardumi at MoIand spoke about the importance of urban safety, which was one of the themes of the urban conference. They illustrated safety issues in cities such as conflict, crime, traffic, health, family problems, and harassment toward women and environmental pollution, and stressed the need for stronger relations between people and the police.

After the presentations, President Ghani said “Afghanistan specific style of architecture must create closed again”. He added that the main problem in our urban sector is the lack of specific policies, each work should considered in three stages analysis, policy development and policy implementation and resources being spent without these stages; means resources spent displaced. President wished the conference participants to have a debate on cities from a historical and cultural point of view which represent our national and Islamic culture.

Following the opening ceremony, exhibition and workshops took place in the old parliament building, Darul Aman, Kabul. The themes included: urban safety, good governance, housing, infrastructure, economy, disaster risk reduction, design and mapping. Urban sector agencies, representatives of construction companies, private sector investors, UN-Habitat and many other organizations showcased their visibility products in exhibition booths.