Over the course of 2018, MedCities is developing a number of technical assistance projects to address urban sustainability and city development needs among its members.

Working with its Knowledge Transfer Centers (KTCs) in Tunisia and Lebanon, in the coming months MedCities will provide technical support to the cities of Mahdia and Sfax, in Tunisia, and, in Lebanon, the Mennieh and Batroun Unions of Municipalities.

In Sfax, the assistance of MedCities will help address the issue of urban mobility through technical studies and other complementary activities. In Mahdia, MedCities will support the Municipality in an energy audit of the city hall.

The recent mobility strategy (PDU) developed by the Municipality of Sfax made clear the need to implement substantial mobility measures to address issues throughout the city. One such issue was parking in the most congested areas of Sfax, and MedCities will provide technical assistance to a study on parking systems. The study will help reinforce the capacity of the Municipality to adequately plan parking management in order to reduce congestion and improve traffic circulation.

In Mahdia, the energy audit of the city hall will analyse the energy performance of the building and identify potential measures for optimising energy use and integrating renewable sources. The audit is the first step for the installation of a photovoltaic system in the city hall, a project recently identified as a priority by civil society through the participatory municipal budget.

In Lebanon, through the KTC Al Fayhaa, MedCities has recently finalized an agreement to provide technical assistance in two cities that will be implemented this year with the support of the Catalan Agency for Cooperation and Development.

In the Union of Municipalities of Batroun, MedCities will consolidate the work carried out in 2017 on the definition of priority actions to promote tourism throughout the municipalities of the Union. The project will highlight the unknown cultural and natural assets of the region by encouraging cooperation and the production of joint tourist materials. In so doing, the project aims to foster alternative forms of tourism and increase the capacity for local economic development.

In the Union of Municipalities of Mennieh, a pilot project will be launched to promote a local approach to improving the sorting at source of solid waste, with the aim of minimizing landfill and improving living conditions. The project, which will involve 31 schools within the Union, will have a prominent awareness-raising component, including drawing attention to the health aspects of waste management.

The project will also address the increased demand on municipal services – including waste management – resulting from the influx of refugees to the municipalities of Mennieh. Many of the school children involved in the initiative will themselves be refugees; a portion of the 35,000 displaced Syrians currently living in the Union of 100,000 inhabitants.

All of the above-mentioned technical assistance initiatives were launched in July 2018 after exchanges with the respective local governments, and will be finalized by the end of the year. Further technical assistance projects – addressing solid waste management – are currently being discussed with the cities of Gabès, Tunisia, and Irbid, Jordan.