MedCities Annual Conference 2018
The urban development agenda is increasingly a global one, with governments, international organisations, NGOs and associations promoting initiatives to bolster both social cohesion and environmental sustainability. Political initiatives for action such as the Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III) and the Union for the Mediterranean Urban Agenda demonstrate the scale of the challenges facing urban and metropolitan areas in the 21st century and the scale of efforts to address them. Crucial to the success of such international initiatives and processes are the voices of local authorities who, along with their citizens, experience – and work to overcome – the challenges of urban development on a daily basis. The theme of the integration of the unique perspectives of cities and metropolitan areas into large-scale urban initiatives was one of several important topics to emerge from the 2018 MedCities Annual Conference, held in Barcelona 4-5 October, which brought together mayors and political representatives from around 40 Mediterranean cities and metropolitan areas, along with representatives of international organisations, other public administrations and NGOs. Under the overarching theme of "Mediterranan cities: sustainable and equitable for all", participants debated the challenges faced by local authorities all around the Mediterranean basin – related to topics ranging from tourism, to natural and cultural heritage protection, to waste management, to youth and the role of women, to participatory processes – and the cooperative initiatives that can help to overcome them. MedCities aims to support the efforts of cities to find collaborative solutions for the challenges of urban development and the General Assembly of the Association, held on 5 October, was an opportunity to both review the work that MedCities has undertaken over the past year and look ahead to 2019. This year's assembly also marked the transition to a new political mandate and the election of a new Board of Directors for the Association for the next four years. Tetouan will maintain the role of President of MedCities and will be joined on the Board by As-Salt, Al Fayhaa, Dubrovnik, Larnaka, Izmir, Marseille, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and Sfax.