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The World Bank and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) are organizing the workshop: Urbanization Knowledge Exchange to Support MENA Stakeholders "The Evolving Regional Urban Agenda: Focus on Municipal Finance" in Rabat, Morocco on March 18-19, 2013.
The workshop brings together mayors and urban development leaders from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen in MENA, as well as urban development leaders from around the world.
Today, the world's urban areas accommodate up to 3.3 billion people, equivalent to half of the world’s population. This share is even larger in the Arab world where on average, 60% of the population is urbanized and the rate of urbanization of 2.3% is greater than the world average of 2.1%. These large and rapidly growing urban populations introduce new challenges and opportunities for urban management and leadership.
In September 2012, a World Bank initiative led by the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and the Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI) was launched in Marseille to facilitate urbanization knowledge exchange in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This initiative was designed to increase interactions between cities across the MENA region to collectively solve problems, address common urban issues, explore urban opportunities and share growth management approaches.
It was also designed to connect MENA city leaders and partners to urban leaders and experts around the world to share good practices. These exchanges would be facilitated by several means, including the World Bank's Urbanization Knowledge Platform.
A second regional conference is taking place March 18-19 in Rabat to further develop the community of practice, present virtual tools community members can use to connect with one another and access knowledge, as well as to explore in depth one specific issue which had been raised as a priority by the participants in Marseille: municipal finance.
The objectives of the Rabat conference will be threefold:
The Platform is designed to enable knowledge- and experience-sharing in the region between urban leaders – government officials, mayors, research institutions, private companies, and others working on urban development – and to create a community of practice for urban development. Initially composed of four countries from the Southern rim of the Mediterranean – Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia – the knowledge exchange is expanding to include urban leaders from Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Yemen, and individuals and organizations from other countries that express interest in exploring this new approach to knowledge exchange.
Participants to the Municipal Finance Conference highlighted the need for technical training in order to help local governments improve their financial management, and the MENA UKP team will be working on organizing.
The summary of debates and discussions can be found here.
SESSION 1 – The MENA Region Context: Building the New Urban Agenda
SESSION 2 – Tapping Into the World Bank Knowledge Products: Presentation of the Urbanization Knowledge Platform
SESSION 3 – Financing the City of Today and Tomorrow: Review of Current Challenges and Future Priorities
SESSION 1 – Municipal Development Funds: Sharing Lessons Learned From other Countries