Meeting on the MENA Regional Joint Work Program

The Cities Alliance and its partners recently met in Marseille to agree upon a framework and institutional arrangements for a Joint Work Programme (JWP) on MENA Region.

The Cities Alliance and its partners recently met with representatives of French, German and Italian Co-operation, the World Bank, UCLG, Medcities, Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and UN-Habitat in Marseille to agree upon a framework and institutional arrangements for a Joint Work Programme (JWP) on MENA Region. Discussions were also held to create a consensus on specific activities to initiate the Programme scheduled to start later this year in Tunisia, followed by Egypt and other countries in the region.

The JWP is being collectively managed and administered by the Secretariats of the Cities Alliance and the CMI. The Programme’s primary objective is to develop a co-ordinated response to events known as the `Arab Spring’, and strengthen the process of democratisation in the MENA region through inclusive city governance supported by enabling national frameworks in selected regional partner countries.
The group agreed upon a set of working principles as well as three methods of intervention: Technical collaboration, knowledge and learning and advocacy and communication. It is strategically guided by three key pillars, which will be tested with local partners, and modified as necessary to ensure that it can be adapted to each country:

1. Strengthening cities for inclusive economic growth
2. Creating accountable cities and towns
3. Strengthening capacities for enhanced subsidiarity

Cities Alliance Manager William Cobbett says, “With its new business model, the Cities Alliance is in an excellent position to offer a platform for a collaborative response to requests for support from city and national governments in the MENA region. I am particularly delighted that we have been able to co-manage this response with CMI, which is well positioned to provide a solid and effective partnership with the Cities Alliance.”

From the outset, the Cities Alliance has proposed a comprehensive approach that seeks to promote conditions for long-term transformation in the region. All activities undertaken under this programme will explicitly seek to engage, involve and empower national, regional and local partners from the region. Frameworks for activities in single countries will be further elaborated in close collaboration with members and partner institutions.

The MENA JWP provides a vehicle for coordination and pooling of experiences, resources and implementation capacity of the Cities Alliance members active in the region. The work programme seeks, in particular, to strengthen collaboration among the Cities Alliance’s European Union members, as well as multilateral, national and local government members. In addition, the Cities Alliance joins capacities with the CMI, which shares some of the same members of the Cities Alliance, and which is well positioned to play a key supportive role in the region.