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Increasing the Resilience of Cities in MENA

  • Starts: May 22, 2014
  • Ends: May 23, 2014
  • Location: Marseille, France
  • By: Urbanization Knowledge Platform
  • In a context of demographic pressure and rapid urbanization, MENA cities are particularly sensitive to exogenous hazards and shocks. Most cities in MENA are especially exposed to natural disaster and climate-related shocks, and the impact on cities has been aggravated by the rise in population density (62% of the total population of MENA live in cities and in absolute terms, the MENA urban population is expected to double by 2040), water scarcity and climate change. While the number of natural disasters around the world has almost doubled since the 1980s, in MENA it has almost tripled, affecting 40 million people over the last 25 years, and costing US$19 billion. With greater integration into global markets and in the wake of the Arab Spring, MENA cities are also increasingly exposed to broader sets of adverse shocks beyond natural risks, which can also jeopardize hard-won gains and affect cities’ stability, their enterprises, households and individuals. While enabling democratic reforms and paving the way for economic development (the results of which will be achieved on a medium and long term), it is estimated that the Arab Spring has resulted in US$800 billion in lost output in the seven hardest-hit countries. The migration flows generated can also have significant potential impact on the stability of several MENA cities.


    To support MENA policymakers’ efforts to develop comprehensive and integrated risk management policies (including communities and the private sector), the MENA UKP will organize the conference: Increasing the Resilience of MENA Cities.  As the third in the MENA UKP conference series[1] and the second in a series of WB MENA resilience conferences[2], this conference will help advance a broader program to improve urban development in MENA.  The conference will both offer a means for leaders in this domain to share their experiences and lessons learned and for them to access and build on knowledge generated by the World Bank and other partners.   



    The objective of this conference is to help cities in MENA increase their resilience toward a range of shocks through:

    • sharing the experiences and lessons learned from major cities and countries in the world that have similar risk exposure and have taken successful measures to enhance their resilience;
    • enabling MENA leaders to share the challenges and opportunities they face in enhancing their cities’ resilience;
    • discussing ways to operationalize the recommendations of recent studies[3]  and to replicate this type of approach in other cities ; and
    • discussing ways to involve the private sector in the definition, the funding and the implementation of new solutions/technologies to address/reduce risks in cities.


    The discussions and proceedings of the conference will be made publically accessible so non-participants can benefit from the knowledge shared.  The UKP will also build on the proceedings of the conference to offer follow up opportunities for knowledge exchange and support to MENA clients, through its online platform and the development of tools.


    Workshop Presentation - UKP May 22-23

    Workshop Agenda

    Participant List


    Participant Presentations


    [1] The MENA UKP was launched in September 2012 during a conference held in Marseille, kicking off a cycle of conferences. This was followed by a regional event organized in Rabat, Morocco, March 2013, delving into the municipal finance issue.

    [2] A regional consultative workshop to present the WB draft regional report “Natural Disasters in the Middle East and North Africa: A regional Overview” took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, November 2013. 

    [3] Including the action plans developed in 4 coastal cities with the support of the World Bank, the French Caisse des Depots, and the CMI.