Sunday, 08 November 2020 16:38

The Government of Iraq and UN-Habitat continue to work together to address challenges in informal settlements

On 4 November 2020, the Steering Committee on the National Programme for Informal Settlements, chaired by H.E. Dr. Khalid Battal Al-Najim, met to discuss the challenges in informal settlements.

Currently in Iraq, approximately 3.5 million people reside in more than 4,000 informal settlements across the country. Informal settlements are densely populated with inadequate houses, poor water and sanitation facilities and little or no waste management. Recommended measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission such as handwashing, distancing and self-quarantine are often extremely difficult in informal settlements.

One the main challenges concerning informal settlements is the lack of updated and comprehensive information. In 2017, for the first time in Iraq UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Planning defined the boundaries of informal settlements in 15 governorates of Iraq based on analysis of the satellite imageries using geographical information system. This allowed the relevant government authorities to get basic information on informal settlements, such as their number, location, size and population.

As the next step, H.E. Minister of Planning announced that the ministry with technical support from UN-Habitat will plan for a comprehensive survey on informal settlements, which will allow the government to have an updated and detailed understandings of the current conditions, critical challenges faced, and possible solutions in each informal settlement. Collaboration with private sector will also be sought to improve housing and living conditions in informal settlements.

Mr. Wael Al Ashhab, Head of UN-Habitat Iraq, confirmed continued support from UN-Habitat to the Government and people of Iraq, both at policy level and on the ground, to respond to problems in informal settlements. After the Steering Committee meeting, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Ministry of Planning and UN-Habitat to confirm their partnership and commitment to work together on informal settlements.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UN-HABITAT

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