Shelter program UN-Habitat Arcadis partnership: The Arcadis Shelter Program: overview of support for UN-Habitat in 2019

Shelter program UN-Habitat Arcadis partnership: The Arcadis Shelter Program: overview of support for UN-Habitat in 2019

The Arcadis Shelter Program: overview of support for UN-Habitat in 2019

Already 10 years Arcadis consultants and engineers support UN-Habitat with pro bono technical expertise for development projects all over the world.  Through the Shelter Program technical expertise of Arcadis staff is combined with the development goals of UN-Habitat in those locations where this expertise is needed most. With financial support of the Lovinklaan Foundation the Shelter program supported over 120 development missions on request of UN-Habitat in over 30 countries since 2010. In addition to the missions through the Shelter program an annual Shelter Academy for knowledge transfer is organized, the program is sponsor for the World Urban Campaign and organizes urban innovation workshop in Arcadis offices worldwide.

Shelter missions for UN-Habitat

In 2019 the Shelter program provided technical experts in 14 UN-Habitat missions:

  • Laos climate adaptation project midterm review support – March 2019
  • Environmental and Social Assessment Support – Ongoing, with training program for UN-Habitat in second half 2019, trial audit mission to Nairobi Kenia – March 2019
  • Ghana coastal planning follow up mission – April 2019
  • Ivory Coast coastal planning follow up mission – April 2019
  • Philippines urban resilient development training for municipalities follow-up – April 2019
  •  Mozambique Beira Post Disaster Recovery Support – April/May/June 2019
  • China Xuzhou Conference support on soil quality– June 2019
  • Laos follow up mission – June 2019
  • Nepal Kirtipur cultural heritage support in urban master planning – June 2019
  • Lebanon and Jordan resilient development and refugee settlement support – July 2019
  • Fiji flood disaster preparedness – July 2019


  • East Timor Dili master planning support (1) – August 2019
  • East Timor follow up mission (2) and training workshop – September 2019
  • Cambodia follow up mission climate adaptation – October 2019
  • East Timor follow up mission (3) on water management – November 2019

Urban Thinkers Campuses, UN-Habitat meetings and workshops  

In addition to the missions support was provided for Urban Thinkers Campuses and educational events such as the Summer School of Urbanism in Delft University and International Housing Studies in Rotterdam. In May the Shelter program joined the UN-Habitat General Assembly Nairobi and private partners council.In order to involve staff of Arcadis and connect policy making, such as for the New Urban Agenda, and the work in the daily practice workshops are organized in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Belgium, Netherlands, France and the U.K. 


Shelter Academy 2019:

In cooperation with UN-Habitat the annual Shelter Academy for knowledge transfer was organized in Amsterdam/Rotterdam. On recommendation of UN-Habitat high level official were invited for a knowledge transfer program, including lectures, site visits and InterVision workshops, all on the topic of cities and climate change. 

Supporting UN-Habitat building Beira back better after the disaster

In 2019 the largest Shelter mission in the program’s 10 year history took place, to support UN-Habitat in the recovery of Beira Mozambique after tropical cyclone Idai. On 15 March 2019, one of the worst tropical storms ever recorded hit the east coast of Mozambique near the City of Beira, bringing extreme winds and rainfall, and causing extensive flooding. The cyclone left more than 1.200 people dead and 80% of the buildings were damaged. In the weeks after the storm thousands of people contracted cholera from water contaminated with sewage.

Taskforce rebuilding Beira

Shortly after the cyclone, UN-Habitat and the Arcadis Shelter program decided to join a Taskforce Beira together with the Netherlands government and UNDP, to develop a post-disaster needs assessment and project plans to create a more sustainable, safe and future-proof Beira. A team of six Arcadis experts from Brazil, Belgium and The Netherlands immediately travelled to Beira to make project plans for coastal protection, drainage systems, waste management and green infrastructure.

Building Back Better

In June 2019 the Mayor of Beira presented the project proposals at the Beira Donor Conference, for international donors such as the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations.  USD 1.2 billion was pledged for reconstruction in Mozambique. 200 million dollars (USD) of that amount is earmarked for the projects which were identified by the Arcadis experts, enabling Beira to Build Back Better.

Article by Bert Smolders, Arcadis
Photo Credits: Bert Smolders (CC) , Pexels (CC)