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What is urban resilience? Urban resilience is the ability of a city’s community to adapt to a variety of shocks and risks ranging from natural disasters to social, economic, political, and cultural changes.
Each year, natural disasters kill thousands of people and cause billions of dollars in economic losses. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are not immune to these effects. The region is exposed to a growing number of shocks and hazards that affect the stability and growth of its cities.
The interplay of climate change, population density, conflict, and water scarcity has intensified the risk of natural disasters such as drought, flooding and earthquakes in the region. Over the last 30 years, these events have affected approximately 40 million people in MENA countries and have cost their economies about US$20 billion.
Conflict in the region has inflicted great damage to human lives and physical infrastructure. It is estimated that about half a million people have been killed while fifteen million have had to abandon their homes. Urban areas have been particularly affected by the conflict and cities are facing significant service delivery pressure due to physical damage, as well as the influx of a high number of displaced people.
To tackle these questions, the Municipality of Beirut, in collaboration with the World Bank Group, is organizing the MENA Regional Urban Resilience Conference. The event was held under the Patronage of His Excellency Mr. Saad Hariri, President of the Council of Ministers.
The conference brought together city- and national-level decision makers, including mayors, technical experts and other shareholders from 16 MENA countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.
The Conference offered its participants the opportunity to exchange views on the challenges facing their cities and identify possible solutions and ways to collaborate in the future. Beyond the MENA region, other cities were represented, and their experiences showcased during the conference.
Specifically, the Conference aimed to: