Monthly Archives: October 2012

Giza Governorate and PDP sign agreement to improve the living conditions of people in two informal areas in Giza until 2016

Giza Governor Dr. Ali Abdel-Rahman and Dr. Günther Wehenpohl, Coordinator of the Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas (PDP) have signed an agreement to jointly work to improve living conditions for residents in Giza’s informal areas over the coming four years.

Signing Ceremony in Giza Governorate

The signing ceremony took place in Giza Governorate on Tuesday, 23 October 2012.

Both sides agreed to further promote the institutionalisation of participatory methods in dealing with Giza’s informal areas as well as the capacity building of local administration employees. The protocol also stresses the importance of participatory development tools in the context of the Egyptian Revolution’s demands for citizens’ participation rights, social justice and inclusion.

Dr. Abdel-Rahman said: “The new protocol comes in the context of a fruitful cooperation between the governorate and GIZ. It follows the first successful experience in participatory development in Boulaq El-Dakrour between 2004 and 2007 and the subsequent establishment of an urban upgrading unit in the governorate.”

As a next step, focus group discussions with local residents will be carried out over the coming weeks to establish the priorities for development in the two target areas Masaken Geziret El-Dahab and Merkas El-Ibhath. The experiences and lessons learned from both areas will be used by the governorate to apply in other informal areas across the governorate.

EU Ambassador discusses development needs with informal area residents in Giza

On 4 October 2012 James Moran, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt, visited informal areas in Giza Governorate, marking the start of a new phase of upgrading measures carried out by the Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas (PDP) to improve the living conditions of an estimated 1.9 million residents in informal areas in Cairo and Giza.

The EU Ambassador James Moran inside Geziret El-Dahab youth centre

James Moran visited Local Initiative Projects implemented previously in Boulaq El-Dakrour. These include a health center for the area’s residents, a workshop where local women sew textiles and a new football pitch in a youth club. He also seized the chance to speak with fire fighters about the improved fire services in the area.

Afterwards the Ambassador visited Masaken Geziret El-Dahab in southern Giza – one of four new areas to be upgraded by the PDP with EU co-financing – to get to know the situation on the ground and talk to local residents about their ideas for improving living conditions in the area.

EU contributes € 20 mio to urban upgrading

The high-profile visit came in the wake of a new agreement between the Egyptian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the EU to carry out additional urban upgrading measures in Cairo and Giza over the coming 4 years. Based on the PDP’s successful track record and strong experience in the area of urban development it was agreed that the EU would co-finance the programme’s  work in four informal areas (Masaken Geziret El-Dahab and Hekr Ibli/Warraq in Giza, and Ain Shams and Ezbet El-Nasr in Cairo Governorate).

Joining Mr Moran on his visit were General Ahmed Hany, the Assistant Secretary General of Giza Governorate, and Dr Mohamed Fathy Sakr, Economical Advisor to the Minister of

A local resident in Masaken Geziret El-Dahab discussing development priorities for the area with the Ambassador

Planning and International Cooperation. The visit to the two areas was preceded by a short meeting between the EU Ambassador and Dr Ali Abdel-Rahman, the Governor of Giza to discuss the cooperation and the work ahead.

4 informal areas will be upgraded until 2016

With € 20 million from the EU, € 4 million from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and one million Egyptian Pound per year from the Egyptian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the PDP will work with local

partners – including public administration, civil society, and the private sector – to upgrade the selected four informal areas in Cairo and Giza until 2016.

Approximately 60% of people in Greater Cairo live in unplanned, densely populated areas that lack basic services and social infrastructure, and are suffering from environmental pollution. The PDP’s aim is to upgrade informal areas, in ways that involve local residents, and to enhance their living conditions and alleviate urban poverty through improving local services and environmental conditions.

Market in Masaken Geziret El-Dahab

Market street in Masaken Geziret El-Dahab

EU contributes € 20 million for informal area upgrading in Cairo and Giza Governorates

A delegated cooperation agreement between the EU and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Development Cooperation) for the upgrading of informal areas in Greater Cairo was signed on 28 August 2012.

With an EU contribution of € 20 mio the Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas (PDP) will over the coming four years upgrade four informal areas in Cairo and Giza Governorates in partnership with their local administrations, improving the living conditions of an estimated 1.9 mio local residents.

As a result of the EU co-financing the PDP has become the biggest technical cooperation programme in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region implemented by the GIZ.

Increasing pressures on local administration

Kai Böckmann, the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy Cairo said: “This financial contribution is a great opportunity for the programme to build on previous experiences and increase its common impacts.”

Prior to the Egyptian Revolution, residents of informal areas largely avoided contact with local government authorities. Now, in the wake of the political changes, many residents expect quick improvements to their living situation. This increases the pressure both on local administration and community-based organisations which for the most part lack the resources and capacities to respond to the needs of people.

“A window of opportunity”

Maria Schäfer, Director General of the Mediterranean Region, Europe, Central Asian Countries at GIZ said: “The change process in the Arab world opens a ‘window of opportunity’ for needed reform processes. GIZ considers urban development as the vital engine for development strategies and as one very important element to develop and support democratic progress. Thus, GIZ is very keen to support the governmental actors involved in urban development in becoming a strategic actor and key agent for development initiatives to ensure adequate service delivery and improved living conditions for their citizens.”

The key to the programme’s success is that not only local authorities, civil society organisations and the private sector are involved, but crucially also local residents themselves, who generally know best what their neighbourhoods’ development needs are. The PDP has over the years developed many participatory urban development tools that are applied in the upcoming phase.

The four areas specified in the cooperation agreement between the EU and GIZ are Ezbet El-Nasr and Ain Shams in Cairo Governorate and Masaken Geziret El-Dahab and Hekr Ibli/Warraq in Giza Governorate. The areas were selected by the Urban Upgrading Units of Cairo and Giza.

EU Ambassador James Moran with Maria Schäfer (GIZ) signing the cooperation agreement

EU Ambassador James Moran with Maria Schäfer (GIZ) signing the cooperation agreement.