“City for All” programme Quarterly Newsletter VOLUME 1: April 2017


Government of Afghanistan issues occupancy certificates to strengthen tenure security in Kabul city

President Ghani hands an occupancy certificate to a female beneficiary during the launch of CFA programme at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.

Millions of people in Afghan cities, including in Kabul, are faced with extremely low level of tenure security, living in fear of eviction and with limited access to basic services such as water, sewerage, and electricity. To address this challenge the Government of Afghanistan with technical support from UN-Habitat has adopted an incremental approach to strengthening tenure security which involves gradually upgrading the land and property rights of urban households through the issuance of occupancy certificates and improving the quality of community infrastructure and provision of basic services. The improvement of tenure security is a cornerstone for social and economic development of Afghan cities.

During a historic ceremony at the Presidential Palace on the 1st of October, H.E President Ashraf Ghani handed over the first 10 occupancy certificates to women and men of District 1 in Kabul municipality. He emphasized the commitment of the Government to protect the property of Kabul citizens, especially those living in informal settlements. “This programme will ensure that the property of Kabul residents is secure, and this will improve security in Kabul and in the nation” he said.

The ceremony was organized by the Afghanistan’s Independent Land Authority (ARAZI) and supported by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH), Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), and Kabul Municipality (KM). In his speech, Hon. Jawad Peikar, CEO of ARAZI said “This government will implement what was promised to Afghans many years ago. The issuance of occupancy certificates is a first step towards obtaining a deed for the 70% (urban) and 80% (rural) of citizens who do not have legal documents for the land that they occupy.”

The certification process is part of a programme that aims to recognize and regularize the various forms of tenure that exist outside the formal register among urban poor communities including in informal settlements in Kabul city. This will not only provides the incentive for residents to invest in the improvement of their living conditions, but also helps to bring such settlements into the formal system of land management making it easier for the municipality to improve infrastructure and provide basic services to those communities. The goal is to improve land tenure security for approximately 330,000 urban households and 100,000 non-residential property owners in Kabul over the next four years. The programme is funded by USAID.

Read this and other news at UN-Habitat Website

UN-Habitat Signs Agreement for Technical Cooperation with Afghanistan Independent Land Authority (ARAZI)

Signing of Agreement of Technical Cooperation between ARAZI and UN-Habitat

On 19 February 2017, UN-Habitat signed an Agreement for Technical Cooperation with Afghanistan Independent Land Authority (ARAZI). The Agreement sets out mutual commitments by ARAZI and UN-Habitat to support land tenure regularization in Afghan cities, a stated priority of the Government of National Unity, through implementation of the City for All programme (CFA). The aim of the Agreement is to strengthen institutional cooperation between ARAZI and UN-Habitat in Afghanistan with a view to enhancing ARAZI’s institutional and human capacity in land management.

The CFA programme incorporates the USAID-funded Kabul-Strengthening Municipal Nahias Programme (KSMNP) and the Municipal Governance Support Programme (MGSP) funded by the EU and is being implemented between 2015 and 2020. Under this programme, UN-Habitat will provide technical support and assistance to ARAZI for property surveys, registration and issuance of occupancy certificates to households in informal areas in the capital city Kabul and 7 provincial municipalities.

The Agreement was signed between Hon. Jawad Peikar, CEO of ARAZI and Mr. Srinivasa Popuri, Senior Human Settlements Officer at UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Asia & Pacific.

Read this and other news at UN-Habitat Website

Strategic Action Planning Workshops Holds in Kabul District 5 and 13 and in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif

As Afghan cities and towns grow rapidly and irreversibly, they are faced with resource and capacity constraints to manage the process of urbanization. Strategic planning (rather than traditional master-planning) is an essential tool for managing urban growth and expanding access to services in already crowded and largely-informal cities. Through a participatory process the direction of development in a city or urban area is determined, change is managed and quality of life improved.

As part of the “City for All’ programme, Strategic Action Planning workshops were held in Kabul District 5 and 13 and on city level in Mazar-e-Sharif, during the first half of the month of March. In each of the workshops 100-150 participants including youth, kids, women, disabled, farmers, vendors and businessmen discussed their future visions. In addition, representatives from the Municipalities, Nahia (district) Heads, Afghan Land Authority (ARAZI), Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) and City for All project team participated.

The overall purpose of the workshops and process is to develop a base for future planning and development through the prioritization and visions of the communities. During the workshops the local stakeholders agreed on priority interventions for their district based on the key challenges identified.

District 5 is one of the most populated districts in Kabul facing challenges of lack of basic services, public spaces and public facilities. “We have been facing damaged roads, unpaved streets, unhealthy drinkable water and a weak sanitation system and we live with the fear that the government or landlords may someday occupy our unplanned houses” said by Mr. Fazal Hadi Farid head of Nahia 5. He added “we don’t have enough clinics to meet people’s needs and the municipality cleaning and sanitation teams don’t have enough capacity and staff to access all parts of district 5. He thanked UN-Habitat for its sustainable development support and partnership with Kabul Municipality and ARAZI in the implementation of “City for All” programme.

The District 13 Strategic Nahia Action Plan (SNAP) process is led and implemented by Municipality staff as part of the capacity building strategy, with technical advice from CFA project team. The first priority of the community was to create job opportunities for women and youth. Besides that, most participants emphasized the importance of primary education for all and proposed new primary schools to be built within the district.

The Strategic Municipal Action Plan (SMAP) workshop in Mazar-e-Sharif focused on the vision for the development of the whole city. “Planning should not only result in good infrastructure and better functioning city, but it should also create businesses and job opportunities, especially for the youth” a representative from the youth group in Mazar- e- Sharif said. Waste Management was pointed out as the main challenge and need for improvement in the city.

The “City for All” programme is one of the flagship projects under the Urban National Priority Programme (U-NPP) of Afghanistan. The overall objective of the programme is to improve stability and stimulate local economic development in 8 target cities through enhancing municipal governance and strengthening the social contract between citizens and the state. The programme consists of three fundamental components: (i) effective land management and clear land rights and responsibilities; (ii) strategic urban planning to guide investments and establish a common vision for an inclusive and prosperous urban future; and (iii) improved municipal governance and citizen engagement and representation. As part of the programme the Municipalities in 8 provinces develops Strategic Municipal Action Plans (SMAPs) for each Municipality and Strategic Nahia Action Plans (SNAPs) for each Nahia in Kabul city with the technical support of UN-Habitat and financial support of European Union and USAID. Implementing partners are MUDH, Independent Directorate of Local Governance/Deputy Ministry of Municipalities and ARAZI. Up to date 5 SNAP workshops have been held in Kabul and 42 SNAP workshops and 2 SMAP workshop have been held in Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Bamyan, Nilli and Farah.

Read this and other news at UN-Habitat Website

People comes together to prioritize their needs during the “SNAP” Workshop
Women participation in the Strategic Nahia Action Planning (SNAP), Kabul.

Different Scenarios Discussed in “Lessons and Learned Workshop”

The “City for All” Programme reflects the Afghan Government commitment that the government will launch a national program to survey and register all properties within its municipal boundaries across 9 Afghan cities (Kabul, Kand ahar, Mazar, Herat, Jalalabad, Farah, Bamyan, Kundoz and Nili). This will improve land management as well as significantly expand the potential tax base aligned with the land survey there will be street addressing, house numbering/street lighting which are essential for improved urban management and increasing citizens’ socio-economic inclusion.

To improve the capacities and skills of surveyors, social organizers, engineers, GIS and Database teams, CFA project team conducted lessons and learned workshop aimed to exchange different lessons learned and cases through scenarieos happened during the survey in the ground. The workshop was attended by government partners including City for All program staff 200 male and 150 female from Kabul and other provinces on 24 November, Ariana Hotel, Kabul.

The workshop was opened by Eng.Habib Rahimi National Programme Manager of CFA and briefly explained the objectives and benifites of the programme to the participants.

There was a live session on the questionnaires where the Director of Policy and Planning from Afghan Land Authority (ARAZI) was answering the questions and concerns faced during the survey, the session was very useful for overall staff, as they were able to get the answers on the spot.

Apart from the live session, there were different activities among the teams, such as knowing their jobs (discussing the ToR responsibilities), dialogue on questions, various cases and scenarios they have faced during the survey.

On the registration of properties, ARAZI will decide to whom they should provide an Ocuppancy Certificate.Kabul and provincial municipalities will issue a safayi notebook and generate invoices to the registered properties in order to increase the revenue.

The “ City for All” Programme is assisted by the European Union and USAID, with the technical assistance provided by UN- Habitat with the support of Afghan Government Partners, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Independent Directorate of Local Governance/Deputy Ministry of Municipalities, ARAZI, Kabul Municipality and provincial municipalities, Gozar Assemblies and Community Development Councils.

Read this and other news at UN-Habitat Website

National Steering Committee Meeting Holds by UN- Habitat

UN- Habitat held the first National Steering Committee Meeting on Thursday 16 March 2017 at Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH), Kabul, Afghanistan.

The meeting was attended by H.E Mr. Naderi- the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, H.E Mr. Popal- the Deputy Minister of Municipalities, Deputy Mayor of Kabul Municipality, Director of ARAZI, Head of Cooperation (EU), and CFA project team discussed “ City for All” programme progresses and urban future plans.

“The Government of Afghanistan gives high priority to the urban sector as it is one of the main driver for stimulating economic growth and the urban population is now more than 30 per cent today, said by Mr. Naderi, the Minister of MUDH at Steering Committee Meeting.”

During the discussion, H.E Popal the Deputy Minister of Municipalities stated about the legal base of occupancy certificates and asked about the approval of the law pertaining to Occupancy Certificate. He requested EU to consider the inclusion of Occupancy Certificates also in provinces.

“By distributing Occupancy Certificate, we want to add more value to the land across the cities of the country, increase government revenue and ensure self-sustainability of the Afghan government in terms of spending and financing infrastructure projects. He further added that UN-Habitat should participate in High Council of Urban Development chaired by H.E president of Afghanistan, Minister Naderi said during the meeting.”

The City for All programme is one of the flagship projects under the Urban National Priority Programme (U-NPP), including Pillar 1- strengthening urban revenue and institutions and Pillar 3- harnessing the urban economy.

Mr. Habib Rahimi, the National Programme Manager of “City for All” summarized the advancement of the activities with the following figures:

152,000 properties registered;

• 700+ staff employed;

• 336 Gozar boundaries regularized and mapped;

• 203 Gozars established in Kabul and visioning workshops held;

• Around 34,000 properties validated by communities and 87,000 properties validated by the Municipalities;

• 4 SNAP s for Kabul drafted and 42 SNAPs developed in provinces, including 46 SNAP workshops and SMAP workshop in Mazar and Nili;

• Polices, guidelines, protocols and Standard Operating Procedures developed

Finally, it has been decided that SNAP and SMAP will be presented to “High Council on Urban Development” and the occupancy certificates distribution should be added in the provinces while the law has been approved by the Afghan Government.

European Union and USAID are the full members of the National Steering Committee who support this programme.


A Memorable Moment in my Life When I Get a job

I am Larisa Khojazada, I am originally from Mazar-i- Sharif City. I graduated from Civil Engineering from Balkh University on 2012 and since the day I graduated from University I’ve tried many times to get a job on my professional field, but I couldn't.

As other Afghan youths, I totally lose hope and tried to leave Afghanistan becoming a refugee in another country.

One day I was searching for vacancies in job sites and found that UN- Habitat was announcing a position of surveyor for City for All programme. A job surveying and registering all properties within its municipal boundaries. As usual, I prepared my Curriculum and applied for such position. I was reluctant of the outcome as I already applied for many other positions with no success but this time it was different. Not long afterward I received a call from UN- Habitat, they were inviting me to attend a written test and I can tell you that it was a really wonderful moment in my life. At first, I was uneasy because I didn’t know anybody there, but after passing the test and the interview I was selected and signed the contract.

I witness that the recruitment process was transparent and provided equal opportunities for women and men. In total, about 60 men and women were called for the interview (including 25 female and 35 male) out of which, 30 were selected. Now we are all working collectively for surveying and registering properties in Mazar-i-Sharif city.

Now my life is changed. I feel as one of the happiest woman in the world because I am with UN-Habitat and I work in my professional field. I am very happy that I serve my country while I support my family and increase my capacity and learn new things about urban development by daily interaction with engineers and other professionals from the technical team.

Community Leaders Eagerly Supports "City for All" Programme

Community mobilization and awareness raising is the first step in the “City for All” programme aimed at enhancing community awareness through Masjid and media, as well as small and big meetings in eight Afghan cities.

As part of the community mobilization and awareness raising ceremony held at District 6th, Kabul with the supporting of Kabul Municipality and the CFA technical team on the month of January. The ceremony was attended by community development council members, men, women, girls and boys, youths, and Municipal officials.

During the programme, some participants raised questions and criticized the Government for not providing public services to the people and agreed to avoid supporting and do not allow CFA team to conduct a technical survey of the properties. it looked that there is mistrust among people and Municipality which needs to be improved through this programme. In order to build a trust and improve people’s cooperation, a joint meeting was conducted with Gozar Assembly Heads and described the process and benefits of the programme to the people, and also we prepared a field visit of Gozar heads from Nahia 16th to look how the people are supportive and eager for this programme.

As result of field visit and discussion, they agreed and showed their assistance in the technical survey implementation. Mr Haji Chaman Wakil, one of the Gozar head in Kabul said,” I have not trusted the CFA programme at the beginning, either it was explained during the meeting held with CFA technical team and explained the programme and purpose of the survey. Still, I wasn’t convinced by CFA staff, but during the field visit from Nahia 16th, encouraged me to allow the CFA team to conduct a survey in our Nahia. I deeply appreciate CFA team’s hard work and their dedication helping communities.”

The Gozar Heads had a meeting with people to support this programme which will be really important for the Nahia development and standardization. Luckily, now we have full support and assistance to survey and register Nahia properties to ease our work, and now the survey goes normal.

People’s Satisfaction Helps Building Trust

My name is Mohammad Ismail, I am Social Organizer in Kabul under the City for All programme and my job consists of visiting the district for awareness-raising before conducting the survey.

In one of such visits, there was a man named Mohammad Anwar who lives in Block 5th, district one, he was the first person I’ve met and the first one I explained the survey process too. He was surprised at the beginning, and surprised me when he refused the survey by saying “I will not allow this survey to be conducted because you are deteriorating our block.”

I met him three times in those field visits and gave him the survey description. Unfortunately, I didn’t succeed and wasn’t able to convince him. Later on, I met the chief of the Afghan Land Authority (ARAZI) who advised me to gather 100 people from the Nahia one to concisely but comprehensively explain the purpose of the survey. To explain why the survey was important, its values and expected outcomes.

Anwar, along with other people, was invited to the meeting. I explained that the program had been initiated by the Afghan Government and how their houses were going to be officially registered through a survey, for which they would all receive a printed property occupancy certificate and no house, would be destroyed. Anwar and other people heard our message during the meeting, however, it wasn’t really satisfied with it and wouldn’t convince of our intentions. In spite of this, the survey was eventually conducted.

Days later, during a historic ceremony held at the Presidential Palace on 1st of October, H.E President Ashraf Ghani handed over the first 10 occupancy certificates of District 1 in Kabul Municipality. Anwar was one of those lucky ones who received the occupancy certificate directly from the hands of the President.

To our surprise, his idea of the whole process quickly changed. He started to support surveyors and raising people’s awareness to allow the surveyors and help them to the process, which helped to smoothly run the process in order to let others receive their property certificate by the Government.

Mr Anwar was one of those lucky ones who received the Occupancy Certificate directly from the hands of the President.

Read this and other news at UN-Habitat Website

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