To ensure sustainability and ‘anchoring’ of capacity building delivered by LADP, the Programme engaged the prestigious University of Kufa (Najaf) to develop a postgraduate programme in sustainable urban development and planning. This is expected to build and sustain capacity at key Ministries, local-level Directorates and Municipalities to drive sustainable urbanisation, inclusive service delivery and spatial justice.

The LADP/UN-Habitat team worked in close consultation with staff at the Faculty of Physical Planning of Kufa University, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), and staff engaged in urban planning and management at the Ministries of Planning (MoP) and Municipalities (MoCHMPW). Results from Online Survey of Practitioners and Survey of Kufa Staff Capacity helped shape the proposed institutional setup and programming. The counterparts were engaged to prepare joint assessment of organisational, human and technical capacities, to identify measures to address gaps, to elaborate the curriculum and entry requirements, etc. Also, contacts for partnership and technical collaboration were established between the Faculty and selected Arab and European higher education institutions and Donors.

The MSc programme “Planning Sustainable Cities” is designed to build the capacity of new graduates to address contemporary urbanisation challenges in the private or public sector, as well as to ensure continuous learning opportunities for professionals already engaged in the field. The curriculum is built to reinforce the relationship between urbanisation and development. It will support urban and planning professionals to interpret the multi-disciplinary implications of social, economic and environmental sustainability in Iraqi cities – all of which are key elements of Agenda 2030. The core principles of the New Urban Agenda for sustainable urbanisation – namely, good governance, social inclusion, spatial development, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability – are reflected in the proposed modules. The proposed methodological approaches promote learning-by-doing, participatory and evidence-based decision making principles.

The proposed MSc programme was submitted to MoHESR in mid-March 2018; pending the Ministry approval, the Faculty of Physical Planning are ready to start the programme in the academic year 2019/20.