Amman, January 2021 -- In a notable example of cross-regional collaboration, UN-Habitat kicked-off the implementation of the participatory City Resilience Action Planning tool (CityRAP), in its 'light' version in Amman, Jordan.
The tool has been modified to specifically address the issue of flashfloods in downtown Amman and was delivered through a hybrid virtual and in-person modality in compliance with COVID-19 rules for gatherings and social distancing.
The workshop, led by UN-Habitat Jordan Office and supported by UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa (ROAF), included interactive sessions to introduce participants to the concepts of urban resilience and disaster risk management, discuss the issues and challenges in the city, and suggest potential solutions.
With over 40 attendees, the workshop saw participation from relevant departments at Greater Amman Municipality, youth, women, persons with disabilities, Municipal Council of Children, Syrian refugees and local community representatives.
CityRAP is a participatory planning process that uses a sequence of highly interactive workshops, exercises and activities to enable urban communities and stakeholders to determine their area's most pressing resilience building needs through a fully inclusive effort. CityRAP was developed by the Regional Office for Africa together with the Technical Centre for Disaster Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience (DiMSUR).
Since 2016, CityRAP has been implemented in 30+ locations in 11 countries across Southern Africa. This is the first time CityRAP is being taken out of Africa and implemented in another region. This experience will be a test of the tool's flexibility to adapt to different geographic, cultural and socioeconomic contexts, and can open up opportunities for further applications around the world.
This collaboration and CityRAP implementation comes as part of the project 'Strengthening the social stability and resilience of vulnerable Jordanian communities and Syrian refugees in Amman against flash floods', funded by the Japan Supplementary Fund (JSP) and implemented by UN-Habitat's Regional Office for the Arab States. The project aims to improve urban resilience status in Amman, by strengthening the capacities of the government and community dwellers, to reduce the vulnerabilities of refugees and manage flood disasters better.
Participants reiterated that students cannot get to their schools safely when it is raining as it usually gets very slippery and dangerous especially for younger ones. They called for a need to be more innovative and think outside the box stressing that in today’s world, many solutions are being introduced globally that can help the community learn and build its resilience more effectively.
CityRAP in Amman is expected to take one month and will result in a simplified flashfloods-centered framework for action built on the identified priority issues that will emerge from the process, in addition to a pilot project on one of these issues to be implemented immediately after concluding the community consultation activities.
The implementation of the next phases will continue over the coming few weeks through closer discussions with the local community to shed more light on many of the challenges and potential solutions.
In general, the overall project will benefit around 10,990 vulnerable individuals directly and 35,000 inhabitants (5,985 of which are Syrian refugees) indirectly in downtown Amman, through this participatory planning component and through building and rehabilitating stormwater drainage facilities using environmentally friendly construction technologies.