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[HMLN Webinar] Funding Opportunities for Development Projects in Municipalities Hosting Refugees

  • Starts: Apr 01, 2021
  • Ends: Apr 01, 2021
  • Location: Virtual
  • By: Center for Mediterranean Integration and Connective Cities
  • Background

    Following HMLN members’ requests, the CMI and the GIZ Connective Cities Program have been working together to increase municipal capacities in finding alternative sources of funding. Among the activities, Connective cities led a Practitioners’ Workshop on “Local Economic Development and Job Creation in the Middle East and North Africa” (September 29 – October 7, 2020), a Virtual Event on “How to prepare a successful project funding proposal” (December 7, 2020), and a follow-up Workshop on “Local Economic Development and Job Creation in MENA” (January 19 – 25, 2021).  The events allowed to exchange experiences, create dialogue and brainstorm on strategic planning for LED, sustainable livelihood opportunities and social enterprise, and public investments in green infrastructure and circular economies. They specifically supported six selected municipalities from Palestine, Tunisia and Libya to scale up their project proposal and present it to donors. 


    Since 2016, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) manages the Mediterranean Host Municipalities Learning Network (HMLN). The HMLN includes about 170 municipalities the Middle East and Turkey and provides its representatives with a platform for peer-to-peer learning, training and collaboration supporting them in several themes related to hosting refugees. Through regular workshops, trainings, online discussions, sharing of experiences the HMLN contributes to improve their technical capacities for the common welfare of host communities and refugees. To better support local authorities, the CMI also collaborates with the Connective Cities program, a GIZ-managed global knowledge exchange program that aims to promote the international exchange of experiences among urban practitioners, joint learning, collegial advice, and development of joint projects between municipalities in Germany and the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). 



    Context and Rationale

    The COVID-19 crisis has put a strain on public authorities, who are now struggling to recover in the midst of an economic crisis. The lockdown measures put in place in many countries led to closure of businesses and halt of economic activities. It is estimated that 4.4 million national and 1.1 million refugees or IDPs households from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Jordan and Lebanon, have fallen into poverty as a result. In this context, municipalities hosting forcibly displaced people in the Middle East and Turkey are facing increased financial challenges to provide socio-economic support to their residents, including refugees and displaced populations. During COVID-19, they were forced to relocate municipal funding to emergency projects. As a result, they now lack enough financial resources for development projects.


    Municipalities need more financial opportunities to support vulnerable populations and recover the local economy for the benefit of all residents.  Opportunities for alternative financing exist, however local government staff lack the time and resources to find them: they can apply to have their projects sponsored by international organizations, investors or philanthropes; they can develop investment projects in partnership with the private sector, local associations or NGOs; they can work in increasing their own-source revenue through income generating activities.


    However, in addition to a lack of capacity in investment project preparation, a big challenge for municipalities is their lack of knowledge of how to collaborate with different actors, including the private sector. Recent municipal assessments carried out by the CMI indicated that municipal staff lacks collaboration with the central authorities: including knowledge on local regulations for PPPs or other agreements and difficulties to attract additional funding or establish trust in investors for local investments are the most commons trends.




    This online event aims to increase the knowledge of municipal representatives on existing financial channels and mechanisms and associated tools to increase municipal financial capacities for local recovery projects in addressing the needs of refugees and host communities. This event will also pave the way for a comprehensive online training event on how to engage with the private sector for post-COVID-19 recovery.


    This event specifically aim to:

    • Share knowledge on existing municipal financial channels and mechanisms including in the COVID-19 context (ex: grant mechanisms, municipal own-revenues increase, partnership with the private sector and NGOs)
    • Draw lessons from present experiences of municipalities, financers and finance brokers on key challenges and success factors to favor additional municipal financing (ex: project planning, preparation and implementation, marketing strategy, etc.)
    • Initiate a virtual networking between the HMLN members and potential project partners, including international donors, NGOs, foundations, private firms.



    Target audience and participation to the event

    The webinar will target representatives of local authorities, members of the HMLN, but also welcomes participants from a larger audience, including partner organizations and development actors. It will consist of a two-hours online event with technical presentations and online discussions.


    The event will be hosted on the platform Zoom and interpretation will be provided in English and Arabic.


    If you wish to participate to this webinar, register here to receive connection details.




    Agenda and Concept Note

    Summary of the event

    [Presentation] Giulia Marchesini: Introduction

    [Presentation] Lennart Fleck: How to optimize Own Source Revenues

    [Presentation] Cities Investment Facility



    Agenda and Speakers


    Opening and Introduction




    Blanca is the Manager of the CMI, a partnership between the World Bank and several national, regional, and local authorities from around the Mediterranean, as well as international financial institutions and civil society. She has over twenty-eight years of experience as a World Bank development economist, including several positions as Lead Economist, mainly for the Global Tax Team, the West Africa Region, the Investment Climate Department, and the Office of the Vice-President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management. As a Senior Economist, she previously worked at the World Bank Institute, the West Africa Region, and the Corporate Strategy Group of the World Bank. Her regional experience includes the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia (China, India, and Indonesia).  She started her career as a Robert Shuman scholar at the European Parliament and as junior economist at the European Commission, before joining the World Bank Group. Blanca authored and co-authored five books throughout her career including the latest “Enhancing Mediterranean Integration” (CMI, 2020). She has also been published in several internationally renowned economic journals, such as the Bulletin of Economic Research, Hacienda Pública Española, the USA National Tax Association Journal, and Banca d'Italia Annual Volumes.

    MUNA SHALAN, Regional Network Coordinator, Connective Cities



    Muna holds a doctoral degree in urban development from RWTH Aachen University in Germany. In her current post at Connective Cities, she is responsible for the orientation of regional service provision to regional demand by municipalities and the provision of professional advisory. Furthermore, she supports the development of the regional network strategy for exchange of experience and peer learning among local urban practitioners. Connective Cities is a German cooperation project between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Association of Cities and Engagement Global with its Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW). The project promotes international knowledge-exchange among urban practitioners from city administrations, civil society, academia and the private sector since 2013. Connective Cities activities enables joint learning, peer-to-peer advisory and the development of joint projects on topics of sustainable urban development.

    GIULIA MARCHESINI, Senior Partnership Specialist, CMI





    Giulia joined the CMI in March 2014 as Senior Partnership Specialist. She maintains and explores liaisons between the Center’s founding members and partners, while managing new partnerships and supporting fundraising. In addition, Giulia leads the human capital agenda including migration and mobility components, as well as the work with the Host Municpalities Learning Network. She also led the implementation of the Mediterranean Forum on Energy and Climate Change, in partnership with the European Commission. Before joining the CMI, Giulia worked for the French Development Agency (AFD) in the Partnerships and Mediterranean departments. From 2012 to 2013 she was advisor to the French Ministry for Development where she was notably in charge of dialogue with the MENA region. Her experience in the MENA region also includes coordinating MENA economic and commercial issues for the French Ministry of Economy and Finances (2007-2009). Giulia holds master degrees in Public Administration from Ecole Nationale d'Administration in France, and in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the University of Bologna in Italy.


    Session 1: Municipal Grant Project Sponsoring: Challenges and Keys of Success for Municipalities


    DYFED AUBREY, Inter-regional Advisor, UN-Habitat



    Dyfed Aubrey is an Inter-Regional Advisor at UN-Habitat and coordinates UN-Habitat’s Sub-Programme on Enhanced Shared Prosperity of Cities and Regions. He specialises in affordable housing approaches, sustainable investment in cities, urban migration and displacement and urban crisis recovery. He previously headed UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Arab States in Cairo, Egypt and UN-Habitat’s country programme for Iraq and prior to this worked with international NGOs in Sri Lanka, Kenya and Kosovo in areas of post crisis reconstruction and informal settlements upgrading. Prior to working internationally he was an architect/urban designer based in London, UK. Dyfed studied architecture in Nottingham University, UK and obtained a Master’s Degree in Development Planning at the University College London.

    SAMER SALIBA, Head of Practice, Mayors Migration Council


    As the Head of Practice, Samer Saliba oversees the Mayors Migration Council’s suite of technical assistance programming that supports city leaders in designing and implementing local policies, plans, and projects that address the needs of refugees, internally displaced, and migrants. Samer has over 10 years of experience making cities more inclusive of displaced and marginalized people. As the lead urban technical advisor at the International Rescue Committee, Samer worked directly with the cities of Amman, Athens, Milan, and Kampala, among others, to implement and institutionalize inclusive projects, policies, and plans within city government structures. Samer has produced countless knowledge products and practitioner resources and has fundraised tens of millions of USD to deliver programs in the cities most adversely impacted by migration, displacement, and conflict. These initiatives include area-based approaches to conflict and displacement in Maiduguri, multi-year programs to support the self-reliance of urban refugees in urban East Africa, peacebuilding programs between warring cities in Libya, and inclusive resilience strategies in a number of The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. A respected practitioner in the space, Samer has also played leadership roles in advocacy coalitions such as the Global Alliance for Urban Crises. Before working on migration and humanitarian issues, Samer served as an urban planner, directly working with at-risk communities in bolstering the resilience of New York City and cities throughout the Northeast U.S. A Boston son of Lebanese immigrant parents, Samer has a BA in Urban Studies from Boston University, a Master of Urban Planning from NYU Wagner School of Public Service, and is currently a PhD student at The New School.



    Session 2: Municipal Investment Schemes for Increased Financing


    LENNART FLECK, Municipal Finance and Local Economic Development Expert, UN-Habitat


    Lennart works as a Municipal Finance and Local Economic Development Expert at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Headquarters in Nairobi. Since joining UN-Habitat, Lennart has advised local governments around the world on issues of Municipal Finance and has led the development of a self-diagnosis tool for own source revenue (OSR) optimization. Lennart has delivered trainings on OSR, Land-Based Finance, and local economic development. Lennart also developed a rental subsidy model for internally displaced persons in conflict regions and a model for assessing the financial viability of large social housing programmes.


    Prior to joining UN-Habitat, Lennart worked as a Management Consultant in the financial sector in Switzerland, advising private firms on their financial strategy and operational efficiency. Lennart has also worked on financial system development for GIZ in Mozambique and evaluated private investments into Sub-Saharan Africa at Frontier Advisory Deloitte. Lennart holds an MSc in Public Financial Management from SOAS University of London, an MSc with Distinction in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an MA in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. Lennart speaks English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Swahili.


    JEAN AL-ASMAR, Mayor, Hazmieh Municipality, Lebanon



    Jean is the Mayor of the municipality of Hazmieh. The municipality is located in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut, with a population of around 50,000 inhabitants. Hazmieh is described as the ‘city of investment’ in Lebanon due to its well-developed infrastructure and attractive investment climate.


    Mandar Al Attar, Advisor to the mayor, Irbid Municipality, Jordan