Sunday, 29 September 2019 21:53

UN-Habitat completed and handed over to the local authorities two pilot informal settlements upgrading projects in Mosul and Ramadi.

The upgrading works were conducted under the National Program for the Rehabilitation and Regularization of Informal Settlements/IDPs Areas, funded by the United States Department of State.

The collaboration between the United States’ Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and UN-Habitat started in 2015 with the objective to support the Government of Iraq address the challenges related to the 1,1 million IDPs estimated at that time, many of whom were living in precarious conditions in the informal settlements rapidly sprawling throughout the country. Under the guidance of the Steering Committee led by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, UN-Habitat developed jointly with the Poverty Reduction Executive Secretariat in MoP a National Strategy for Long-term Durable Solutions for IDPs and a Road Map for the enumeration, upgrading and regularization of informal settlements.
In 2016, MoP conducted a new national survey and recorded more than 3,3 million informal dwellers living within municipal boundaries. Faced with this unprecedented challenge, it is evident that the local authorities should strengthen their control over the usurpation of land earmarked for public services and agriculture, but they also need to develop durable solutions to address and effectively respond to the needs of low-income citizens, IDPs and returnees, for affordable housing and secure tenure in compliance with basic human rights.
Hence, in parallel to the on-going efforts to ensure the passing of the new Law on Informal Settlements drafted with the support of PRM, in late 2018 UN-Habitat initiated the piloting of upgrading projects in selected informal settlements in Mosul, Ramadi and Basra in consultation with the local authorities and the purposely setup Community Development Councils. The project adopted a participatory community planning approach to deliver development interventions that were specific to each context and that aimed to contribute the long term socio-economic recovery of these areas.
In the informal settlement of Hay Tanak in west Mosul, the programme implemented a new storm water drainage system, connected 362 houses to a new potable water network, organised a two month Garbage Cleaning Campaign, levelled and improved the sub-base of the streets and planted two rows of tall palms at the entrance of the settlement.
In the informal settlement of 7-Kilo in west Ramadi, the programme connected 432 houses to a new potable water network (including 178 houses in 5-Kilo), organised a two-month Garbage Cleaning Campaign and realised a new public Park by reclaiming a vacant and derelict area at the centre of this settlement in coordination with the municipality who has proceeded to incorporated the settlement in its planned urban extensions. This was made possible through a close coordination with the local authorities and target IDP and returnee communities.
Over the course of three months, the programme has provided nearly 1,000 man/days of work to unemployment men and Youth residing in the target areas, offering livelihood opportunities on a rotational basis though cash-for-work and short-term employment with the NGOs and contractors involved in the works. Overall, with this project, some 6,000 vulnerable people residing in informal settlements of Mosul, Ramadi and Basra have better access to basic services and a better security of tenure, in line with the National Informal Settlements Strategy.
During the handover event in Hay Tanak, Mosul, Sheikh Basheer Khuder, head of the Community Development Council, described the pitiful conditions in which the people of this area were living before – without potable water and inaccessible streets. He said that “for many years we felt forgotten, but now things have changed, and we finally feel human”.
Abdullah Mofak, resident of Hay Tanak, described how in the past their neighbourhood was a dump yard “We couldn’t go out of our homes because of the smell, the pipes were broken and leaking. We now have our own trash bins, the roads and neighbourhood are clean and the water network is fixed. Our children can now play outside. We truly don’t know how to thank UN-Habitat for the changes they have made to our lives.”

The handover event held in 7-Kilo, Ramadi, was attended by H.E. Dr Ali Farhan, Governor of Anbar, who praised the works and urged the Iraqi government to find solutions for the informal settlements, stating that “the formalisation of the 7 Kilo area and the possibility for people to own their properties represents a huge step forward”. Mr. Ibraheem Al-Awsaj, Mayor of Ramadi, and Eng. Jasim Mohammed Alwan, Assistant Head of Ramadi Municipality, were equally supportive of UN-Habitat’s efforts to address the issue and look forward to the scaling up of the programme. After the speeches, public officials cut the inaugural ribbon of the new park and conducted a ceremonial planning of a tree – symbolically contributing to the pledge of the Government and local authorities to a greener Iraq, in the week of the Climate Action Summit held this week in New York.

For further information, please contact:
Alan Miran
Communications Associate, UN-Habitat Iraq
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mobile: + 964 750 342 7036

Additional Info

  • Agency: UN-HABITAT

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