Last first of December, more than 250 persons participated in the seminar organized by MedCities in Tétouan, Morocco, on the role of cities facing major projects that transcend its administrative boundaries, competences and local interests, and have a direct impact on the local development and governance.

In a context of strong urbanization in the East and South of the Mediterranean, there are two important aspects concerning the role of cities and its development that come back in force such as, for example, integrated planning and the local governance and competences. This seminar aimed at analyzing the changes and adaptations of cities, urban communities and medium-sized metropolitan areas facing major projects, as a result of this new context.

The main debates of the seminar revolved around the adaptation of local governance model to the necessities of territorial planning and the challenges of an increasing citizen participation in the decision-making processes. In order to facilitate the discussions between participants, the seminar counted on the experience of several cities that have already implemented city-based projects but with a strong external component, either by its effects (regional, national) or by its scale (financial needs).

The experiences presented were strategic projects for the cities and their development. Some of them were State-decided projects, promoted by big private utility companies (energy, telecoms), or decided and promoted by the city but with a strong interest of the State or the region.

The debate was focused on the main aspects that must be considered in the governance model: the necessity to advance in the decentralization processes, the coordination mechanisms among the different levels and structures of governance, how to guarantee and canalize the citizen’s participation, and finally, how to guarantee the formation of the technicians and the elected representatives for the sustainability of the actions and projects.

Below, the experiences presented divided into three round tables on different issues:

Round Table 1: The cities facing emergencies or environmental and urbanistic challenges

Progress of the integrated development of the Plain and the Oued Martil River in Tetouan.  Adnan Benamer, Director of STAVOM

Environmental management of the seafront of Saida. Mustafa Hijazi, City Council member

Agadir, pilot city for the territorial Strategy with regard to sustainable energetic development in Morocco, Jiha TinouSelah El Malouki, Mayor of Agadir

Round Table 2: The cities and the large projects of planning and infrastructures 

Tangier Med, the Port and Logistic Hub. Aicha M’jahad, President of the Social, Cultural and Sportive Affairs of the Municipality of Tangier

Conditioning of the Guadalmedina River and its impact on the city of Malaga. Maria del Carmen García Peña, Director of CIEDES Foundation

The transformation of a Euro-Mediterranean metropolis of Marseille. Jean-Roatta, vice-mayor 

Round Table 3: The cities as motors for economic development

Sport activities in Larnaca Waterfont. Andreas Karakatsanis, Chief Municpal Engineer

Sousse, city competitiveness cluster. Mohamed Mokni, President of Sousse Municipality 

MedCities will work on a policy paper together with Prof. Mateu Turró and CIDOB, to present some conclusions and recommendations for the cities. It will be soon disseminated.

For more information on the MedCities General Assembly 2016…