USUDS Newsletter
#47 - November-December 2018


MedCities Annual Conference 2018

The theme of the MedCities Annual Conference, held in Barcelona, was "Mediterranean cities: sustainable and equitable for all".       


Report into the role of cities in European decision making

Decentralised cooperation is increasingly recognised as an effective modality of development cooperation that is led by local and regional governments (or LRGs). Multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) are those arrangements between a public authority and one or more private stakeholders whereby all parties pool knowledge and resources aiming for mutual benefit.  


The Urban Dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy

Barcelona-based think-tank CIDOB have produced a research note on "Mediterranean cities: the urban dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy", examining relations between the EU and the southern shores of the Mediterranean through the prism of urban areas. The note points to a need for the EU to increase its engagement with neighboring Mediterranean cities.


Closing date of 3rd Interreg MED call for proposals

31 January 2019 at noon (CET)

Cities and Regions for Development Coop. Forum

4-5 February 2019, Brussels (Belgium)

10th ARLEM Plenary Session

26-27 February 2019, Seville (Spain)

AVITEM 2019 cycle of metropolitan workshops

Mars 2019, Métropole de Beyrouth (Lebanon)


Water cycle management and rainwater valorisation in Gabés

A study visit on water cycle management to Barcelona was undertaken by a delegation from Gabès, led by the Mayor and including representatives of the Municipality and the National Agency of Water and Sanitation.


International conference on urban mobility in Barcelona

In November, MedCities and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona hosted a conference on Mobility challenges in Urban and Metropolitan Areas, as part of the Interreg MED GO SUMP and the Interreg Europe SMART MR projects.


Technical assistance on energy efficiency in Mahdia

On 11 December, MedCities supported the organization of a training seminar on energy efficiency in Mahdia, part of a broader technical assistance project that is ongoing in the Tunisian city.


Capacity building and pilot actions on urban accessibility

As part of the Accés Tanger-Tétouan project, several capacity building activities on urban accessibility have been run for municipal staff and civil society associations, while the pilot actions are being launched in both cities.


Public Hearing calls for urgent action on biodiversity protection

Within the PANACeA project, representatives from a diverse group of institutions, including MedCities, gathered in Brussels to discuss the need for a holistic approach to biodiversity protection in the Mediterranean. 


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 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.

By believing passionately in something that does not exist, we create it. (Nikos Kazantzakis)

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