Amman – A new joint EU- UN Habitat project aims to better target and coordinate humanitarian, recovery and development investments, and strengthen the resilience of stakeholders and affected populations in select cities to cope with the impacts of the conflict. 

At the Consultation meeting organized by UN-Habitat in Amman, Yemeni high-level Participants from national, governorate and city levels discussed and agreed upon the selection of cities in Yemen that will develop city and neighbourhood profiling. The European Union – that funds this important project – encouraged a balanced coverage in the selection of cities.

UN-Habitat organized on Monday 28 January, a consultation meeting in Amman at Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization Head Quarters, to launch the project on “Rapid City and Neighbourhood Profiling Towards a Development Oriented Urban Recovery Process in Yemen”, funded by the European Union. The meeting discussed the objectives, methodology, coordination mechanism and the expected results of the project. The participants also discussed and agreed upon the selection of the following 5 cities in addition to Sana’a and Aden; Ta’iz, al-Hudaydah, Sa’ada, Al-Hawtah and Zinjibar.

The overall objective of the project is to ”better target and coordinate humanitarian, recovery and development investments, and strengthen the resilience of stakeholders and affected populations in select cities to cope with the impacts of the conflict “.

The project is expected to achieve the following results:

These efforts are complemented by another EU-funded UNESCO project to help Yemeni youth reconstruct damaged buildings using local traditional techniques. The preservation of the cultural heritage and diversity of Yemen and the provision of job opportunities to Yemeni urban youth are priorities for the European Union in Yemen.

The Vice Minister of Public Works Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Thabit conveyed the greeting of HE Prime Minister to the participants and expressed the appreciation of the Government and people of Yemen for the European Commission funding and UN-Habitat for implementing the project. He emphasized on the importance of continuous and close coordination with the Government of Yemen at the national and local levels. 

The Head of the EU Delegation to Yemen Ambassador Antonia Calvo Puerta said: “We expect all participants to this workshop and beneficiaries of this project to work elbow-to-elbow, despite any political differences, to bring back the beauty and splendor of Yemen. If you follow this spirit of dialogue, of talking to each other – which is deeply embedded in Yemeni culture – your cities, towns, neighborhoods and its people will have hope in the future of the country. Everybody should be allowed to participate freely and bring their contribution for a peaceful and bright new future for Yemen, and the EU is thankful to all those who contribute to making this happen.”

UN-Habitat Deputy Regional Director Dr. Erfan Ali said; “Our meeting today is a key event to activate and steer “the City Profiling” project that represents the start of UN-Habitat Programme in Yemen and the base for proper planning for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Yemen cities in accordance with the concept of “Building Back Better”. Dr. Ali also thanked all the participants and Yemeni national and local authorities for their part in assuring the meeting success. He also valued the role of the EU for funding and supporting the project.”

The impact of the conflict in Yemen is mainly urban. Even though key cities have faced different levels of destruction, secondary and tertiary cities have become ports for “reverse” population movement transforming them into hosting areas for IDPs. This influx is putting additional strain on existing services and infrastructures that are already scarce or depleted. In the context of a protracted crisis in Yemen, key challenges should be addressed pertaining to peace and stability. Once the conflict is terminated, the country will have to undergo a nationwide reconstruction operation, which should take into consideration avoiding past mistakes in order to build cities and towns that are safer, more inclusive, resilient and sustainable. Hence, it is vital to apprehend urban challenges today and derive immediate, medium and long-term responses towards recovery for Yemen.