The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) inspired 22 municipalities to target and mobilize Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) for territorial planning and urban development. The workshops which took place in the municipalities of Praia, Ribeira Grande de Santiago, Tarrafal de Santiago, Assomada, São Miguel, São Lourenço dos Órgãos, São Domingos, São Salvador do Mundo and Santa Cruz, were also an opportunity to actively popularize positive aspects that accompany the people's living spaces. The recognition that citizens have a right to well-ordered habitats and that they also have a duty and responsibility to contribute to the planning process helped to inform the content development of the workshop.
A view of Praia, Cape Verde © UN-Habitat/Kerstin
The workshops, which ran from 16-25 July 2012, on a first phase, drew participants from community groups, civil society, private sector, academicians, government and the United Nations. Citizen's empowerment and engagement is one of the main activities helping Cape Verde address urbanization challenges. Information gathering and training are also contributing to the process.
Ms. Janice Da Silva, the UN Habitat Coordinator in Cape Verde commended the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning for taking lead in engaging citizens through development processes. "Municipalities in Cape Verde have been created opportunities for wealth generation, improvement of social development, employment, innovation and creativity. We must use the positive attributes to tackle poverty, social exclusion, marginalization, environmental degradation, among other challenges,' she said.
A participative approach at the local level is largely encouraged when addressing challenges that accompany urbanization. Capacity building at the institutional and personal level is some of the methods being advanced, and Cape Verde is already applying the approach.
Technical support by UN Habitat in past processes helped to inform the workshop. For instance, through the participatory slum upgrading process all the 22 municipalities of Cape Verde held city wide urban profiling processes which helped the cities conduct action oriented assessment of needs and response mechanisms.
The Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territory Planning (MAHOT) organized the workshops with support from UN Habitat.