Kabul, Afghanistan, 25 August 2014 – UN-Habitat held a two-day workshop in Kabul focused on urban planning as part of the Community-Based Municipal Support Programme (CBMSP). The workshop was attended by over 100 participants from the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), Kabul Municipality and the four Provincial Municipalities where the programme is being implemented: Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif.

The workshop was opened by Mr. Abdul Baqi Popal, the Director of the General Directorate of Municipal Affairs, part of the IDLG. Mr. Popal said: "Urban planning is an essential part of good governance. The rapid urban growth in Afghanistan of over four per cent per annum means we need to make space in our cities. For this we require good urban planning for city extensions, for transportation and the provision of water and electricity, and for the provision of affordable land for housing."

Mr. Peter Dalglish, Country Representative for UN-Habitat in Afghanistan, added that “Cities represent the future for Afghanistan and for the world. We must ensure that our cities are designed and built to meet the needs of people from all walks of life, with open spaces for recreation and with the necessary infrastructure for basic services.”

Participants at the workshop learned about the history of urban planning as well as contemporary approaches to address urban development. Particular emphasis was placed on strategic urban planning at the municipal and district levels as a means to promote inclusive urban development that reflects the current reality, and that can be implemented in a post-conflict, low-income country such as Afghanistan.

At the workshop closing participants reaffirmed the importance of strategic urban planning in Afghanistan. They highlighted their need for increased support from UN-Habitat and the international community to improve capacities in strategic planning at both the national and municipal levels.

CBMSP is a two-year municipal governance programme funded by the Government of Japan. CBMSP aims to institutionalize UN-Habitat's People's Process by linking municipal institutions with communities and helping them to gradually manage the city themselves, without relying on external support.