Turkana – 12 April 2017. In 2016 UN-Habitat, supported by the Japanese government, began working on developing a Local Advisory Spatial Plan for the new KALOBEYEI Settlement. This was in close collaboration with UNHCR, Ministry of Land, Shelter and Urban Development and through participatory processes including workshops, focus groups and participatory meetings with the host and refugee commuters.

UN-Habitat experts met with key officers from UNHCR and the Turkana County Ministry of Lands, late last month to host the presentation and validation discussion for the Kalobeyei Settlement proposal. The Meeting was opened by Mark Ewoi Ewesit, the Chief Planner from The Ministry of Lands, Shelter and Urban Development. His Excellency has highlighted the great collaboration between the two UN agencies and the County Government body of the executive as well as the approach used by UN-Habitat which is highly participatory.

The Honorary Members of the Planning Committee from Turkana County Assembly were welcomed at the meeting particularly to discuss and give comments on the Draft Spatial Plan for the Kalobeyei Settlement. In addition to the Members of the County Assembly, the Planning Committee was also represented by key staff including the clerk and advisors in finance and trade.

During the discussion session, some of the major queries included questions regarding the specific support for integration of refugees and host communities, such as how the host communities are going to be facilitated to take advantage of opportunities to live and work inside the settlement. The plan recommends equal access to facilities, services and economic opportunities, and creates a platform for investment as well as innovative of approaches to giving host and refugee member’s access and work towards equal benefits. Furthermore, the discussion approached the issue of changing of livelihood patterns - including the lifestyle of Turkana people, from pastoralist communities to a settled society. The transition to permanent settlement has been ongoing in the past years and has been influenced by the provision of services such as water availability, education and health facilities. UN-Habitat is supporting the development of human settlement by promoting sustainable urban design alongside adequate urban services, shelter and access to facilities under human rights based approach to development, where sustainability of interventions is at the core of the work.

An important concern of the Members of The County Assembly reflect particular concerns of the host communities, such as integration of persons with disabilities, strategies for addressing land degradation and specific plans for mitigating the conflict due to competition over the already scarce resources. Experts from UN-Habitat and UNHCR and the key officers from the county government are working towards highlighting the proposed strategies for integration of all members of the refugee and host communities with concerns for peacebuilding and sound management of local resources.

The Kalobeyei Draft Local Advisory Spatial Plan is a working document aiming to provide an urban development framework through a spatial plan that is supporting integration of refugees and host communities. The contribution of the Honorary Members of the Planning Committee of the County Assembly is crucial for ensuring the participation and relevant suggestions of the elected members as key stakeholders representing the host community. With the input received, the spatial plan is one step closer to finalization, following the official submission to the County Government.