Ramallah, 5 August 2015-- UN-Habitat and its partners on Tuesday launched a new city-region planning initiative for three Governorates in the State of Palestine. The Plans will be prepared with the support of UN-Habitat and a consortium of local academic and private planning firms including An-Najah National University, The Universal Group for Engineering, Consulting, and House of Palestinian Expertise for Consultancies and Studies.
A ceremony to mark the occasion was held in Ramallah and attended by the minister for Local Government Mr. Hussein Al-A’raj, his deputy Mr. Mohammad Aljabarin, together with a representative from the Governors’ Council at the Palestine President Office, Governors of Tubas and Bethlehem, Mr. Rbih Al-Khandqgi and Mr. Jabrin Al-Bakri respectively.
Others were the Deputy Governor of Qalqiliyia, and the Head of UK Department for International Development (DFID) office in East Jerusalem, Mr. Robin Milton. In his speech, Mr. Al-Araj said: ‘We will provide all the support needed to succeed this innovative initiative and collaboration with UN-Habitat and local implementing partners‘.
The three city-region plans will combine both strategic development issues and spatial considerations so as to foster improved development in Qalqiliyia, Tubas, and Bethlehem City-regions. Importantly, the Plans represent a critical component in the realization of an overall spatial framework for the State of Palestine and provide the critical link between completed local outline plans and the ongoing spatial planning work at the national level.
The Plans will also bring a unique view of promoting development in Area C of the West Bank (that is under Israeli control) by identifying functional, economic demographic, environmental and other linkages between villages in Area C and with the nearby main Palestinian cities and towns in Area A and B (that is under the planning control of the Palestinian Authority).
Mr. Joe Hooper, UN-Habitat Head of Office in Palestine said: ‘I am pleased that UN-Habitat will be supporting the Ministry of Local Government in this work. These Plans represent a significant step forward in developing a key layer of a national planning framework for the State of Palestine and as well building the collaborative mechanisms and capacities for intra-governmental collaboration’.
This new planning initiative is made possible with the generous financial assistance of the UK/DFID through the project ‘Support to Palestinians at Risk of Displacement in Israeli Controlled Area C of the West Bank’.