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Urban Development

Youth volunteering for social impact: evidence from Lebanon

Rene Leon Solano's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Photo Credit: Patrick Fadous, NVSP Communications Officer

Jean, a Christian Catholic, Graziella, a Christian Orthodox, Ali, a Muslim Shiite, Roukaya, a Muslim Sunni, and Ashraf, a Druze, met for the first time when they signed up to work together on a community project. The project was one of the 22 community projects financed in the first phase of Lebanon’s National Volunteer Service Program (NVSP) in 2015, and which benefited almost 1,300 Lebanese youth throughout the country. 

The projects, which were implemented by local NGOs, included health awareness campaigns, care for the elderly and the disabled, cleaning and rehabilitation of public gardens, soccer fields, and trails, organization of inclusive art and sports activities, and organization of awareness campaigns of solid waste management practices, to name a few.

The Middle East and North Africa cannot miss the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Ferid Belhaj's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

The traditional route of industrialization for developing countries may no longer be available for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This should not be a source of regret, as the aspirations of the region’s young and well-educated population extend far beyond auto assembly lines. Furthermore, the repetitive work of an assembly line will increasingly be performed by machines rather than people. The rapid pace of technological change that is propelling this process, dubbed the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," offers new opportunities for developing countries. Opportunities the MENA region cannot afford to miss. 

Addressing uncertainty in conflict-affected environments: Lessons from Yemen

Philipp Petermann's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 UNOPS.

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is.” This quote is attributed to the mathematician Jean Allen Paulos but could also capture the feeling of development practitioners trying to find ways to effectively support people and institutions in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV).

From marginalization to inclusion: The story of the waste pickers in the West Bank

Amal Faltas's picture

About a decade ago, we started a project to improve solid waste management for waste pickers like Ibrahim and the 840,000 people in the southern West Bank governorates of Bethlehem and Hebron. One of the project components included the closure of the Yatta dumpsite, where illegally dumped and burned household waste was reaching a very unsanitary and hazardous level. 

But here came the challenge. 

While the closure of the dumpsite would mean putting an end to a serious environmental and public health problem, it was terrible news for the waste pickers and their families. It meant that the livelihoods of those families would come to an end. 

Making Sand into Gold

Wael Zakout's picture
Also available in: العربية
Haider Y. Abdulla | Shutterstock.com - Property Landscape in Dubai

Those of you who have visited Dubai in recent years may relate to what I am going to say: Dubai is in the middle of the desert, and its land, not that long ago, was really worth nothing. Now it is one of the most vibrant international cities in the world. All this happened in a relatively short time span.

Connecting Palestinian cities for a more sustainable future

Rafeef Abdel Razek's picture
Also available in: العربية


Cities expand in the blink of an eye, and with such rapid growth come corresponding issues. This is immediately apparent when you drive through a Palestinian city and observe the severe traffic problems. While such gridlock may be inconvenient for a person caught in it, it can be a severely damaging for many small business owners, whose shops become inaccessible due to the traffic build-up.

Iraq: Emergency Project Rebuilding Bridges, Roads, Water, Wastewater, Municipal services and Livelihoods

Ibrahim Dajani's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية


In eastern Iraq’s Diyala governorate, a bridge connects two cities—Baquba on one bank of the river and Muqdadya on the other. Nothing remarkable about that, you might think, until you know that this bridge had been blown-up by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cutting off the many Iraqis who commute between the two cities in quest of work or education.

Will forcibly displaced Syrians get their land back?

Paul Prettitore's picture
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 ART production / Shutterstock.com

With half the population of Syria forced from their homes as a result of the five-year-long civil war, now living either as refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs), many are asking, “Will we be able to return to our original homes?” Recent changes to the legal framework in Syria governing the sale and purchase of private land raise concerns—both for the protection of land owned or long-occupied by displaced persons and for the development of any post-conflict land restitution process. Such regulations may also compound post-conflict reform of land administration practices and bring uncertainty to one of the few economic assets of displaced households.

Cultural heritage, identity and economy

Mashary Al Naim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Fedor Selivanov l Shutterstock.com

A year ago, we at the National Urban Heritage Center (NUHC) of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH), published a study in cooperation with the World Bank to examine investment opportunities in urban heritage available for original owners. The study also explored ways we can support revitalizing old areas, a trend that forms the character of many old cities and gives them their unique flavor.

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