Govt’s urban strategy aims to create desirable living conditions

Kathmandu, March 14

The government has formulated National Urban Development Strategy, 2017, setting benchmarks and standards for urban infrastructure, urban environment, urban planning and management, and urban governance to achieve desirable living conditions.

The NUDS formulated by the Ministry of Urban Development and recently endorsed by the Cabinet places emphasis on physical planning aspects. It also states that an urban area is not merely a physical construct, it is as much a political, social and cultural construct.

“The physical space by itself has no meaning unless it is comprehended in terms of the political, social and cultural space it provides for the dynamic articulation of the heritage, ideas and values of society. The NUDS is formulated with a time horizon of 15 years. Strategies have been conceived to achieve desirable conditions in each major theme – infrastructure, environment, economy and finance,” it reads.

For the urban system sector, the national objective is to strengthen the national and sub-national urban system. Strategies include strengthening urban-rural linkages; upgrading inter and intraprovincial/regional road connectivity standards; facilitating higher level functions in major provincial/regional urban centres; improving connectivity infrastructure in key Tarai urban centres; facilitating small towns in realising their comparative advantages; creating infrastructure for ‘smart’ cities in priority locations; promoting environment, heritage and tourism-friendly economic functions in Kathmandu Valley; and integrating future provincial capitals in the national and sub-national (provincial and regional) urban system.

For the infrastructure sector, the strategies seek to increase national resource allocation on urban infrastructure development, promote private sector investment on basic services as well as higher order infrastructure, orient strategic investment for shared infrastructure in urban regions through a cluster city approach, and build national/local institutional capacities for infrastructure development and service delivery.

Regarding water supply and sanitation, minimum water provisioning, water security, safety and sanitation coverage have been proposed.

The strategies include protection and management of fresh water sources, integration of rain water harvesting within the building permit system, institutionalising water recharge provisions in public spaces and strengthening system to produce and deliver safe water.

In terms of solid waste management, complete waste collection coverage is proposed for urban areas.

The strategies include focus on community-led waste segregation and collection, public-private partnership in waste collection and management, adopting sanitary landfill sites as a transitional strategy with the aim of promoting and mandating 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) at household/community level.