Libya: Ubari Area-Based Assessment (ABA), August 2021

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Ubari (Awbari) is a small oasis town located in the southern Fezzan region. The municipality is roughly 370 kilometres east of Ghat and 200 kilometres southwest of Sebha with a population of roughly 35,000 people with various ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, and displacement status. Similar to the rest of the Fezzan region, Ubari is severely affected by the economic crisis Libya has been going through since 2014, where recovery is yet to happen. The local governance mechanisms in Ubari baladiya consists of both formal and traditional governance stakeholders made up of the municipal council as well as muhallah councils/mukhtars, while the traditional governance stakeholders consist of the five social councils made up of family elders and notables within each tribe or community.

Key findings

1 . Provision of basic utilities such as electricity, water, sewage, and sanitation exist to a certain extent in Ubari baladiya, however, with large disparities between Ubari city centre and peripheral muhallahs. Due to the stagnation of infrastructural development, areas that came into existence or grew significantly in the last 20 years are often not officially connected to water or electricity networks.

2 . In the absence of infrastructure or lack of infrastructural capacity to cope with over usage, citizens have constructed ‘random’ infrastructures connecting their homes to the electricity and sanitation network with support from private companies.This has been common especially in muhallahs with extensive population growth since the 1990s – such as Al Shareb (East and West) and Al Mashru.

3 . Poor quality and historical underinvestment in public services including health, education, welfare and social services characterise the services available in Ubari.

4 . Findings highlighted the importance of peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts to improve inter-communal relations between population groups both in the city and within specific neighbourhoods. The need for improving mutual understanding of cultural differences between communities was suggested to be possible to breach through dialogues and awareness raising sessions. Additionally, social events such as festivals and sports activities have previously shown to bridge cultural differences and bring together population groups.

5 . There is a need for provision of utilities, services, livelihood opportunities, and social activities to be equally accessible across muhallahs. Equal access per muhallah will be a determining element in easing tensions and improving tolerance and acceptance as well as avoiding conflict over already limited resources.