The Governance component of BFTPI project consists in supporting the Urban Planning and Development Authority – UPDA (former General Directorate of Urban Planning – GDUP) to become the leading entity responsible for defining and implementing urban policy and planning in the Kingdom. It includes reorganising and increasing the UPDA’s capacities.

The entity will thereby acquire a broader and clearer remit, ensuring the consolidation of scattered responsibilities under its sole authority. It will be empowered with a new institutional positioning of the then GDUP, and new missions, implying:

– better perform development control, including: project initiation and delivery; land allocation; review all public and private projects;
– advise policy-makers (High Committee of Urban Planning – HCUP) in reviewing all the policies and investment programmes of ministries and agencies which remit affects the use of the land so to ensure alignment among these;
– be consulted, propose and advise on laws, regulations or taxes;
– gather and get access to data and information from line ministries and agencies which scope of work impacts urban development.
The ultimate objective is to ensure that Bahrain urban and territorial development is sustainable, need-based, economically sound and forward-looking.


To overhaul UPDA’s role and capacity with a more proactive, capable, leaner and efficient organisation to steer Bahrain’s spatial development, the following methodology is used:
– Diagnostic of the UPDA’s institutional context, its roles and functions, its organisation, processes and tools to make institutional and organisational recommendations;
– Analysis of the social and economic context of the country to make recommendations with regard to urban projects’ initiation and delivery;
– Implementation of the recommendations through the development of new tools (digitisation of processes) and capacity building (support, training), with the support of the Bahraini Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA).

Main achievements:

  • -Development of specific proposals with regards to the former GDUP’s structure and institutional governance that the top management took over quickly: the former General Directorate of Urban Planning (GDUP) turned into the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA) in August 2017, acquiring a wider institutional role with more autonomy and its own line budget.
  • – Re-engineering of UPDA’s administrative processes making the entity more efficient.
  • – Proposals on human resources and training needs.

Consolidation of scattered responsibilities under a sole authority

Capacity building of UPDA staff