UN-HABITAT and the European Commission signed a 5 million Euro grant agreement, on 22 December 2004, for the implementation of the Somalia Urban Development Programme.
Returnee/IDP Settlement, Hargeisa
The Programme is designed to target all major cities and towns in the various Somali regions through the implementation of tangible projects and capacity building activities in the Urban Development Sector. The implementation of the programme is planned over a period of three years, starting 1 April 2005, with a possible extension for a further three years.
The total cost of the first phase of the Programme is approximately 6.15 million Euros. The European Commission has undertaken to finance 5 million Euro (over 80 per cent) of this budget, with the remaining part of 1.5 million US Dollars being funded by UNDP, which also acts as the principal Associate Partner to UN-HABITAT for the programme implementation.
Other international partners in the Programme include ILO, UNICEF, the Italian NGO Consortium UNA, and NOVIB-Oxfam. Furthermore, the programme is designed to benefit from the comparative advantages of all the partners including the political leadership and logistic support network of UNDP in the field and the operational expertise of UN-HABITAT and the other partners.
The proposed initiative recognizes the growing importance of the urban sector, both demographically and economically, in the Somali context and aims at promoting an increasingly democratic, inclusive and accountable system of governance as well as more efficient and socially effective local management practices.
“In a fast changing political scenario, the Programme, while assisting both Central and Regional administrations in establishing the main legal and institutional instruments of governance, will target primarily building the management capacities of local authorities and communities,” a statement from UN-HABITAT said.
It added: “Governance and institutional capacity building will be demonstrated through a range of activities designed to guide settlement growth through physical planning aimed at reducing the serious deficits in serviced land, sanitation and basic infrastructure to alleviate poverty to promote viable municipal financial and fiscal management systems; and, to promote community involvement, the role of civil society, accountability, transparency and equitable urban growth integrating returnees, internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups.”
The Somalia Urban Development Programme builds on the achievements and lessons learnt from the ongoing Good Local Governance and Leadership Training Programme also funded by the EC, and the Support to Priority Areas to the Urban Sector programme funded by UNDP. The Programme will extend and expand the ongoing UN-HABITAT activities in Somali towns and cities and will coordinate its involvement in the urban sector.
The new programme will be implemented under the overall coordination of UN-HABITAT’s Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States under the Regional and Technical Cooperation Department.