In 2011 the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) launched a global initiative entitled Achieving Sustainable Urban Development (ASUD). The purpose is to help its national partners to cope with a rapid pace of urbanisation and to maximise the benefits that come with it. ASUD initiative aims at emphasizing that cities must be planned at scale and in advance so as to succeed in assuming their role as engines of the national economy. Mozambique along with the Philippines, Rwanda, Colombia and Egypt are the five priority countries initiating the program.
Mozambique is currently experiencing its peak of urban growth and urban challenges it brings. Recent studies show that more than 70% of the urban population lives in informal neighbourhoods. ASUD programme targeted the Nacala Corridor, which links the Bay of Nacala, through the city of Nampula, to the coal districts in the Tete Province and further with Malawi and Zambia. Urbanization rates have predictably shot up and the main cities in the corridor are experiencing unprecedented pressure, growing informality and heightened environmental risk.
Therefore, the programme addressed the urban and regional planning gap to allow a sustainable spatial development within the Nacala corridor by promoting linkages between functional territories and administrative units and introducing planning instruments for territorial development and cities/urban extension dynamics. In addition to creation of urban plans and design, the outcomes included related policy and land aspects, as well as planning of main infrastructure and services for preventing the formation of new slums and upgrading existing ones.