Urban Disasters and Reconstruction: Civil or Civil
Barcelona 15 September 2004: Attended by leaders from
national and local governments, NGO’s and international aid agencies,
today´s World Urban Forum networking session focuses on the role
of national and local authorities in peace building and institutional
development. When human settlements fall into crises, through conflict,
or because of disasters, institutions across the board suffer. International
interests often impact those of the state, national actors impose national
concerns on urban and rural actors, metro actors impose their priorities
on municipal and so on down to individual victims who usually bear the
heaviest of burdens of these crises.
The honourable Iraqi Minister for Municipalities and Public Works, Ms.
Nasreen M Sideek Berwari highlighted the need to ensure effective decentralisation
of the local authorities who represent the primary interface between the
people and government of Iraq. In her opening remarks, Ms. Berwari stated:
“Decentralization is about our future. But decentralization is not
just about a shifting of power and resources from the center to the governorate
and municipal levels, as an end in itself. It is not just about reversing
the excessively centralized process in place prior to April 9th 2003.
Decentralization is a means to provide better services to the people,
where the people themselves are more directly involved in determining
what matters most to themselves. Decentralization is about the public
Mr. Brock Carleton, Director of the Canadian based International Center
for Municipal Development who facilitated the session, stated in his closing
remarks that it was evident from the inputs throughout the networking
session that “We need to have the courage to think about the future.”;
referring to the challenge to build capacity, to build local ownership
in an inclusive manner, to facilitate the real devolution of governance
to local authorities to deliver and coordinate, to establish clear and
accountable local government, and to develop integrated legal frameworks
enabling all of the above in order to responsibly and sustainably address
peace building following conflicts.
Mr. Carleton´s comments, will be integrated into reports from previous
networking events in the final plenary on the Dialogue on Urban Disasters
and Reconstruction scheduled for Thursday, 16 September 2004.
For further information, please contact: Sharad Shankardass,
Spokesperson & Head, Press & Media Relations Unit or Ms. Zahra
A. Hassan, Tel: (254 20) 623153, 623151, Fax: (254 20) 624060, E-mail:
Mr. Daniel Lewis, Chief Post Conflict and Safety Section, Tel: (254