Background and objectives:
Over 70% of the Iraqi population lives in urban areas. The urban sector is central to the living conditions of the vast majority of Iraqis. However, existing systems of urban planning and management are unable to cope with the massive problems that confront all urban areas. City physical master plans are badly outdated and do not provide the information required for decisions on rehabilitation priorities, infrastructure investments or future development. In addition, municipal staff has received little or no training in over 2 decades and there is no clear division of responsibility between municipalities and governorates. In addition, local governments rely almost exclusively on limited central government funding. The result is that demands for local services are not being met, existing infrastructure is not being rehabilitated, new infrastructure is not being built and urban living conditions are steadily worsening.
This project responded to the immediate needs identified by the United Nations/World Bank Joint Iraq Needs Assessment (October 2003) and was one of the 6 priority programmes identified and prepared jointly by UN-HABITAT and the High-level Panel for the Reconstruction of Iraq. These six priority programmes are summarized under the Urban and Housing Rehabilitation Programme (UHRP), which was adopted by the Ministries of Construction and Housing, Municipalities and Public Works, and Planning and International Cooperation.
Its objectives were:
- Capacity building initially for Basrah and Erbil municipalities;
- Reform proposals for the municipalities’ organisation and management.
The main activities include:
Production of a State of Iraq Cities Report;
Comprehensive reform proposals for Basrah and Erbil municipalities;
Over 100 weeks of training.
Iraq’s urban and land management and municipal finance laws, policies and programmes reviewed, and action plans for their reform prepared;
Urban profiles for 18 Iraqi cities completed and a State of Iraqi Cities Report covering six cities prepared;
Baseline assessments and organizational improvement strategies for the municipalities of Basra and Erbil completed;
Basic urban planning and management implemented, including GIS training for over 70 selected officials from Basra and Erbil as well as the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works.