UN-Habitat, ESCWA and Islamic Development Bank Conduct Workshop on Informal Settlements Challenges in Arab States 

  • Through presenting and validating key findings from the first draft of the Regional Rapid Research on Informal Settlement, the workshop will feed into the formulation of a participatory informal settlement upgrading/urban regeneration programme to support the Arab States deliver effectively informal settlements upgrading projects, and build inter regional cooperation.

Cairo, 26 November 2019 - UN-Habitat, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) are conducting a two-day regional consultation workshop on “The Informal Settlements Challenges and Prospects in the Arab States”.

UN-Habitat, ESCWA and Islamic Development Bank Conduct Workshop on Informal Settlements Challenges in Arab States 

The workshop aims at discussing the emerging challenges and potentials of informal settlements across the various Arab countries. Through presenting and validating key findings from the first draft of the Regional Rapid Research on Informal Settlement, the workshop will feed into the formulation of a participatory informal settlement upgrading/urban regeneration programme to support the Arab States deliver effectively informal settlements upgrading projects, and build inter regional cooperation.

In the Arab region, the proportion of sub-standard housing varies from country to country. In some countries, informal settlements and slum dwellings form isolated, marginalized pockets, while in others from 67 to 94 per cent of urban residents live under one or more housing deprivations. In some Gulf countries, for instance, housing conditions of low-income migrant workers are often very poor compared to the rest of the urban population.

Affordable and decent housing remains a major challenge throughout the region, including in the Gulf States. In countries that have experienced continued conflict, high rates of poverty and pervasive political instability such as Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Comoros, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq - these demographic trends have translated into pervasive slums, which comprise 50 to 95 per cent of total urbanization

During the opening session, Mr. Sami Farouki, Global Practice Manager, Social Infrastructure Division at Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) emphasized “sustainable cities are engines for economic development that is able to support people live in dignity and prosperity “.

Ms. Gisela Nauk, Chief of Inclusive Social Development Section, UNESCWA stated in her opening remarks that “Informal settlements are not just places where people live, they represent the socio-economic situation of the whole country, upgrading these areas needs to help people integrate into the society”.

Dr. Erfan Ali, Director of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States stressed the importance of “Developing a regional approach for addressing the challenges of informal settlements in Arab States that builds upon lessons learned and common challenges, while recognizing diversity among Arab states, in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive urban development”

The workshop was attended by experts, urban practitioners, researchers, national and local authorities, as well as representatives from the ministry of Housing and ministry of Social Solidarity in Egypt.

Participants presented a selection of case studies and best practices from Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia, Palestine and Egypt on the different approaches to slum upgrading projects and harnessing the economic potential of slums. Participants were then divided into three detailed working groups on Innovative financing for housing and upgrading; Migration, post conflict and social considerations; and Innovative Housing and construction approaches.

In the closing session, priority areas of action were collectively identified and an assessment of how these interventions can be funded through innovative blended mechanisms where development banks can play a vital role.

UN-Habitat, IsDB, and ESCWA announced the launch of a Regional Network on Informal Settlements, which will be used for sharing best practices, providing resources and guidance, and facilitating interaction on joint informal settlement upgrading/urban regeneration initiatives among relevant stakeholders.

 

 

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN ESCWA
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
UN-Habitat
United Nations Human Settlements Programme