Preliminary Integrated Land Use Plan for Gambella Presented
The Gambella Integrated Land Use Plan and Development Master Plan (ILDP) preliminary report was presented to Regional Steering Committee Members at a meeting. The presidents of the region presided at the meeting, which was held on 14th August 2017 in Gambella town.
The project was initiated with the financial support of Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN) few years ago. The ILDP is being prepared for 20 years. Its preparation involves six subsequent stages, from the foundation (prerequisite) subject studies to its final adoption and official endorsement by the federal and regional cabinets and parliaments. At present, the ILDP is in its 2rd stage.
The foundation and production-based studies have already been completed. Fifteen experts have also been mobilized recently to undertake sector-specific (infrastructure- and policy related)studies. Based on the works in the first two phases, a preliminary land use plan has been drafted and presented by the Team Leader. Comment and approval of this plan was the main object of the meeting. The other issues awaited from this meeting were guidance on outstanding matters that have emerged in the course of planning.
The preliminary-level land use and development plan has been produced for each of the planning units: namely Nuer, Majang, and Anywa zones and Itang special woreda, plus the region as a whole. The plan will be completed by incorporating inputs that are to be obtained from the works of the recently deployed 15 experts. Separate self-standing land use plans will also be prepared for the capital towns of each planning unit by the contributions of the relevant experts that are now deployed for the Urban Planning.
All what has been accomplished so far was performed together with counterparts drawn from the region. The active participation of Gambella peoples and their representatives is what made the studies unique. As the planning process has been deeply community-driven in the past studies, livelihood focused community commodity groups (CCGs) were formed and involved in the planning process.
The presentation made clear that lands around Tergol, and Burbe are shallow in soil depth (inexpensive and relatively more fit for construction) and in strategic locations bordering South Sudan. Therefore, the planning experts recommended that these towns deserve better town planning which was not envisaged earlier. They are particularly recognized as suitable for establishing strategic towns that will boost the relative position of the country’s frontiers vis-à-vis the towns across the border and, inter alia, serve as diplomatic outposts and security satellites.
Similarly, the location of Gambella town is in very fertile and deep-soil which is also expensive in construction as compared to Gog area which is a better candidate for regional town. To this effect, the lead planning expert recommended that Gambella town can be a political capital with little area expansion (if not none) while Gog could be an economical capital town of the region.
Participants of the meeting affirmed that the reported studies were successfully conducted in a balanced manner across the region. The region has the privilege of ‘’the late comer advantage’’ whereby the opportunity of undertaking environmentally sound works is not yet missed. The land use plan studies put the region in a unique position to prevent adversities before they occur. HE Mr. Gatluak Tut Khot, President, GPNRS indicated that the state fully accepted the preliminary plan.
Name: Wondwossen Girmay
Title: Project coordinator, ILDP