Around 60 political representatives from cities members of MedCities network and other cities from the Maghreb, have debated during two days on the participatory approach and public-private partnership in the implementation of strategic projects in Mediterranean cities. More than 200 persons participated in the debates during the two days of the seminar

The conference, that took place on 21st and 22nd of April in Tetouan (Morocco), was jointly organised by the Urban Community of Tetouan, the MedCities network, through its Technical Secretariat held by the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and its Knowledge Transfer Centre (KTC) of Sfax (Tunisia), the CoMun programme of the GIZ and the Centre of Mediterranean Integration in Marseille (CMI).

The conference was organized in round tables in order to present interesting experiences around three concrete subjects: local participation in the definition of urban policies, governance and structures created for promoting strategic sectors and the mobilisation of actors, either local, national and international, for the implementation of urban projects. The presentation of practical experiences from the North and South coast of the Mediterranean has facilitated the debates and exchanges of knowledge among the Moroccan, Tunisian, Turkish and Lebanese representatives and the ones from the other countries of Southern Europe. More than 200 persons participated in the debates during the two days of the seminar.

The conference started with a presentation of the KTC OF Sfax, as territorial antenna of MedCities network; and of the activities and the rational of MedCities regarding the promotion of strategic thinking in city planning and in the implementation of urban projects.

The first round table presented experiences of stakeholders and citizen participation in the definition of urban policies; that is the case of the Citizen Agreement for an Inclusive Barcelona  (watch video below), an innovative approach in order for the social entities to influence the municipal social policies; of the model of public privat parnership in the city of Viladecans in order for economic actors to participate in the definition of policies of economic development and, the experience of the municipality of Gabès with  participatory processes for the definition of the financing priorities of public space projects.   

The second round table presented concrete experiences of structures that were put in place for the public-private governance of strategic sectors, including several structures created by the Municipality of Barcelona for managing key economic sectors for the development of the city;  the model of CIEDES Foundation,  the municipal agency for the implementation of the strategy of the city of Málaga, and the actions of social accountability put in place by the city of Sfax such as the Forum of associations or the participatory budgets among others. In order to go further on this issue, the representatives of CMI presented the work done for evaluating social responsability in the municipalities of Marrakesh, Sfax and Saida that was undertaken in the frame of the Cities for a New Generation project.

The presentations generated strong debates on the challenges of citizen and stakeholder participation in the definition of the future of the cities, as an element that promotes the ownership of strategic projects and the transparency of local administrations.

The second day was dedicated to experiences of mobilisation of actors for the implementation of strategic projects. The cities of Tetouan and Tanger presented strategic projects, such as the case of the planning of the valley of Oued Martil and the renovation of the Marina respectively, which were implemented with multilevel participation of public and private actors. The city of Sousse exposed its pilot project agains social exclusion in disadvantaged neighbourhoods that was implemented with the mobilisation of civil society actors as well as the neighbourhood itself and was later duplicated in other neighbourhoods. Also, the case of the LEDA (Local Economic Development Agency)  of North Lebanon was exposed, as a model of partnership among public, private and civil society sectors, the first of its kind in Lebanon, created under the auspices of an international organisation.  

To conclude, the conference has placed emphasis on the importance of international and bilateral cooperation among the cities of the North and South of the Mediterranean. The participants had the occasion to learn the work of networking between German cities and cities from the Maghreb, that is taking place in the frame of CoMun program of the GIZ  in Morocco and Tunisia, to understand the importance of decentralised cooperation for the cities of Marseille and Genoa through concrete projects that they undertake, and also to understand how the city of Chefchaouen has mobilised resources from international cooperation to put in place strategic projects, such as the Municipal Agency of Local Development.