The Ministry of Public Works of Lebanon and UN-Habitat last week held a conference on “Reforming Urban and Regional Planning System in Lebanon” in Beirut.
The objective of the conference was to share and discuss the findings of the mapping and assessment exercise conducted by UN-Habitat in partnership with the the Directorate General of Urbanism (DGU) concerning the current urban planning situation in Lebanon and the challenges faced by this sector in light of the demographic, environmental, and urbanization changes which have erased the scale of the administrative boundaries of cities and municipalities due to the vast urbanization and the eventual merging of different geographic regions.
It was held under the patronage of the Minister of Public Works, Mr. Ghazi Al-Aridi, who was represented by the Director General of Urban Planning Mr. Elias Al-Tawil.
In his speech Mr. Doudou Mbye from UN-Habitat focused on the important role that the program played in providing technical governmental support on an international level in terms of addressing urbanization in light of the current urban changes. He highlighted that the opportunity will rise to discuss this topic further in the World Urban Forum, which will be held by UN-Habitat in March 2014 in Medellin, Colombia and at the HABITAT III Conference to be held in Istanbul, Turkey in 2016.
The Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR), was represented by Ms. Wafa Charafeddine who focused on the Council’s commitment to developing the urban planning tools and system in Lebanon, which started by developing the National Physical Master Plan for the Lebanese Territories (NPMPLT). Ms. Charafeddine also stated that the CDR works in coordination with all governmental institutions and concerned ministries to ensure better results.
Mr. Al-Tawil representing the Minister of Public Works, highlighted the importance of the collaboration between the ministry from one end, and international actors such as UN-Habitat from another. He also addressed urban planning and assured the Ministries readiness to work on and develop this sector through the Directorate General of Urbanism by learning from other experiences and available expertise.
Mr. Tarek Osseiran, UN-Habitat Project Officer in Lebanon presented the programs experience in issues related to urban planning and the reasons behind conducting the mapping and assessment initiative tackled in the conference.