In the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean Senior Officials Meeting held last 7 and 8 April, the UfM Secretariat officially launched the Urban Projects Finance Initiative (UPFI).

UPFI is the financial component of the ‘Euro-Mediterranean Sustainable Urban Development Strategy’, which aims to create a shared and common framework for the development of sustainable urban and territorial development strategies and projects. The Initiative aims to create a pipeline of innovative projects with a financial framework of 5 million Euro provided by the European Commission through the Neighbourhood Investment Facility.

In line with the Secretariat’s project-based approach, which aims to coordinate civil society, donors and governments, the UPFI is co-managed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) with the support of the European Commission and under the auspices of the Union for the Mediterranean, and its purpose is to control and support the development of private, public or inter-regional projects.

The first phase of the initiative consisted in the identification of projects to be funded by the AFD and the EIB (€500,000).The second phase, that started in April 2014, consists in identifying the Technical Assistance needs for the chosen projects in order to drive them forward and make them eligible for meeting donor funding criteria. The estimated investment required for the 22 selected projects is around 3 billion €.

Taparura (Sfax) and Oued Martil (Tetuan) are among the projects selected by the UPFI. MedCities assited technically both cities on the definition and preparation of the projects, and is committed to continue this support during their implementation. The project in Taparura has been formally approved to be part of UPFI.