Peshawar: (Press Release) Local citizens have recommended the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to build resilient and inclusive cities for future socio-economic growth. The key recommendations were provided at community consultation workshops involving different stakeholder groups from various cities.
The Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA), funded by the Governments of Germany, with additional core funding support from the governments of Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and the Shanghai Municipal Government as well as the Asian Development Bank, is supporting the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in preparing 15-year City Development Plans (CDPs) for the cities of Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad. The CDIA is preparing the plans in close coordination with Urban Policy & Planning Unit (UPU), Planning and Development Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The recommendations reflect the vision, which citizens have for the kind of city they want to live in. Citizens also presented a priority list for investments that cities should consider to build future resilience, inclusion and opportunities (including job creation). The list indicates areas of investment to ensure improved quality life for all city residents, including the vulnerable.
According to the recommendations, making the cities green and cleaner is the need of time. The residents of Peshawar wanted to see more ‘smart-city’ investments. They wanted Peshawar to be a trade gateway with growing knowledge-based sectors, which would also promote women’s participation and perspectives. They also wanted to promote national heritage to help increase the cultural diversity and tolerance of residents.
Promoting tourism was also a key vision among the city residents of Abbottabad. They wanted Abbottabad to become a tourism hub of Pakistan and a preferred city to live and work in. They also envisaged their city to be a well-managed, liveable and appealing city to have peace, greenery, prosperity and well-managed municipal services.
The citizens of Mardan highlighted the importance of ensuring sustainable ecosystems. This includes restoring natural systems such as forests, rivers, and vegetation. Through the holistic management of solid wastes, sewerage and waste water, they dreamed Mardan being revived from an ecological foundation. Mardan residents also wanted to include affordable, safe and inclusive public transportation systems as part of their growth plans. They also underlined the importance of strengthening the service delivery systems that the municipality must take the lead role in. Providing affordable health care and equal educational services was also given as an investment priority. Stakeholders also expressed the need to create equal employment opportunities for all.
Mr. Muhammad Azam Khan, Additional Chief Secretary, Planning and Development Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa welcomed the citizens’ recommendations. He added that the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was very sensitive to the needs of the citizens. “The stakeholder consultations are a very important part of our planning and development process. Our aim is to increase transparency in our work and get insights into issues, which directly impact the local communities,” Mr. Khan went on saying that “These insights will pave way for preparing investment priorities which are wanted and needed by the people. By working together with all key stakeholders, the Government aims to build trust and consensus. This will also lead to better decision making and effective outcomes.”
Mr. Neil Chadder of the CDIA program in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed that CDIA’s technical support aims to structure priority investment projects that would promote urban development in the Province. “To achieve that, it is important to consult stakeholders and know what they want. This is the only way to ensure that any urban development investment proposed by citizens is demand driven. We need to make sure it has a direct and positive impact on the people”, Mr. Chadder asserted.
The consultation workshops were organized by the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) with support from the Urban Policy Unit, Planning and Development Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.