Barcelona and Tunis define bilateral cooperation objectives
Over the course of 2017 and 2018, the cities of Tunis and Barcelona, with the support of MedCities, have completed several exchange missions. The two cities are in the process of identifying the objectives of the bilateral cooperation framework agreement which is being defined between them. The most recent mission – carried out in December 2018 – was the opportunity to define the short-term actions that will be implemented from 2019 onwards in matters of urban management and planning. In the December mission, meetings were held between the services of both cities in the areas of urban planning, green spaces, the management of municipal markets and international cooperation. Among the agreements reached is the identification of a pilot action related to the management and design of green spaces; an urban space has been selected for analysis and re-design, which will incorporate criteria related to sustainability and easy maintenance.
Cooperative responses to urban challenges in 2018
As the calendar year reaches its close, reflection on the state of urban development in the Mediterranean presents no shortage of challenges. Throughout 2018, Mediterranean cities and urban areas have been facing the effects of large-scale, international phenomena as well as the local difficulties that municipal and metropolitan authorities address daily – such as local development strategies, waste collection in difficult terrain or the provision of disabled access to historic districts. MedCities' experience over the past year is that municipalities and metropolitan areas are meeting those challenges with energy, innovation and, most importantly, a spirit of cooperation. The activities of the Association in 2018 have been a testament to the desire of its members to share their expertise and resources in order to advance sustainable urban development around the Mediterranean. For example, MedCities implemented a number of technical assistance projects this year, which aim to improve municipal services by drawing on the experience of other members. 2018 has also seen MedCities members develop innovative instances of bilateral cooperation and joint memoranda of understanding. The Association has also worked hard to facilitate the spread of expertise across the region through, for example, the launch of the knowledge-sharing platform www.medurbantools.com and its work as a partner in several capitalisation projects of the EU's Interreg MED programme. At the 2018 MedCities Annual Conference this past October, the political mandate of the Association was renewed for 2019-2022, with the General Assembly of members electing a new Board of Directors with Tétouan as President. As the presence of around 40 Mediterranean cities and metropolitan areas – along with many other institutions and organisations – at the conference demonstrated, the political will of the members of MedCities to work together to meet the challenges of urban development gives great reason for optimism heading into 2019.