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Ministry of Communities, Department of Housing, Georgetown Guyana, February 18, 2017-The Central Housing and Planning Authority will be hosting a National Planning Forum, which will discuss the roles and responsibilities of the agency in forward planning for sustainable wholesome communities. The two day forum slated for March 27th through 28th, will facilitate the participation of other key regulatory agencies that are equally important to the planning process for community development. This forum will be held under the theme “Consolidating stakeholder collaboration in supporting the mandate of the Central Housing and Planning Authority.It is the Legal and institutional mandate of the CH&PA, under the Town and Country Planning Act to prepare development schemes (spatial development plans) to guide all future development, including housing development and regulate land use through the planning permission process. Regrettably, this mandatory forward planning function was mostly ignored and overshadowed by the Agency’s housing function. Under the Housing Act 36:20, the agency’s primary mandate is “to cater for the provision for housing for the working class.” CH&PA’s planning function therefore was confined primarily to the design and implementation stage with respect to the preparation of site layout designs and land use control activities. This kind of scenario has contributed to the development of settlements not being guided by an overall spatial (physical) development plan for the area(s) in which they are located. Further, the issue of planning not being given priority, is primarily due to the current fragmented and broken legal and institutional planning framework; the total lack of understanding and in some cases, the appreciation for planning at the national, regional and local levels; and recognizing the critical role of the CHPA with respect to planning and not just its role in housing development.With this is mind, this forum is designed to increase awareness about the planning role and function of the Central Housing & Planning Authority and to evaluate and consolidate inter-agency coordination/collaboration efforts relevant to local spatial planning and development. This forum will also cover a number of areas relating, to CH&PA’s planning role within its legislative context. The discussion will be centered around but not limited to the interpretation of Housing and Town & Country Planning Acts, Planning in Guyana: Fragmentation and Institutional Overlaps, Coordination and Collaboration, Planning Structure: Issues, Challenges and Solutions going forward, Spatial Planning and National Development Issues and community involvement in planning. Upon conclusion of the forum it is anticipated that an agreed planning framework for improved coordination and collaboration among the relevant regulatory agencies and local authorities will be developed. It is also expected that consensus will be made, on immediate actions that can be taken to start the process of alleviating some of the issues that plague the planning system. In addition the CH&PA will be formulating a short to medium term public communication and awareness strategy that specifically addresses the theme of this forum and its stated objectives.

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