Advocating for the new legislations and classification of the Informal Settlements/IDP Areas
UN-Habitat held a workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning, within the National Programme of Rehabilitation & Regularization of Informal Settlements /IDP Area in Iraq, aimed to introduce and promote the new legislative texts to address the illegal urban sprawl, preventing future urban irregularities and introduce the investment of remote sensing technology and utilizing satellite imagery in this regard.
These efforts come at a time when the number of displaced persons throughout Iraq exceeded 3.5 million living mostly in informal settlements, whereas many of them will return to their original liberated areas but under different circumstances associated with weakness or even non-existence of structures and local municipal mechanisms. This will lead to increased urban irregularities and exacerbate the challenges associated with displacement, return and the consequent humanitarian, economic, social and environmental implications.
Dr. Mahdi al-Allaq, Chief of Staff of Prime Minister’s Office/ Chairman of the Steering Committee of the National Programme, stressed in his opening remarks on the necessity to seek solutions through the national programme, which is based on institutional, legal, technical and financial pillars that lead to drastic treatment of informal settlements in Iraq, according to the road map that was endorsed by the Council of Ministers last summer. He also underscored the necessity to address the problems of these areas through the application of fair and effective scientific solutions that fit the circumstances of each area after conducting the required surveys and assessments.
Mr. Stephen Hubler, the Senior Coordinator of Refugees & IDP Affairs Office in the US Embassy in Iraq, emphasized the keenness of the United States to provide humanitarian aid for displaced people in Iraq, which forms the foundation for achieving political reconciliation. He pointed out that this program is concerned with maintaining property rights and promoting the rule of law. He added that the best solutions for the displaced people are associated with their voluntary and safe return to their original areas or to their voluntary integration within the host communities when circumstances permit.