Monthly Archives: December 2016

A Call for Urban Dialogue in Egypt

A call for urban dialogue was initiated at the Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Conference, held from 29 November to 1 December in Cairo. Mr. Sebastian Lesch, head of the German Cooperation in Egypt, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities (MOHUUC), as well as representatives from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt, and UN Habitat, amongst others, were present at the opening.

In his address, Mr. Lesch intensified the call for participatory development in cities, particularly following the adoption of the New Urban Agenda at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which was held in Quito, Ecuador this past October. He stressed on the centrality of cities to the drive towards “sustainable and climate-friendly ways of development” around the world. This, Mr. Lesch explained, can only be achieved through open dialogue, one in which local concerns are taken into account. He further commended joint efforts undertaken to implement the New Urban Agenda in Egypt.

During the conference, several Egyptian representatives renewed their commitment to the “principles of sustainable development” that ought to guide urban policy and development in the country. Minister Madbouly emphasized the importance of translating urban strategies into action, and situated his call for implementing urban policies during this dawning age of a “generation of new cities.” Plans for the new capital city were presented, as well as the government’s methods in dealing with informal settlements in Egypt. Among the government representatives present at the conference were Khaled Abbas, Undersecretary of the Minister of Housing, and Khaled Seddik, Executive Manager of the Informal Settlements Development Fund (ISDF).

Carl Philipp Schuck, Coordinator of Implementing the New Urban Agenda in Egypt (INUA) Project implemented by GIZ, capitalized on the significance of dialogue in implementing the New Urban Agenda in Egypt. In his address, Mr. Schuck called on all involved stakeholders to reflect collectively on the meaning of the Agenda for Egyptian cities, as well as to question some of the assumptions that often obstruct sustainable urban development.
Another theme that featured prominently in the conference was that of sustainable energy.

The conference marked the conclusion of the seven-year tenure of the EU-funded Energy Efficiency in the Construction Sector in the Mediterranean project (EU-MED-ENEC), also implemented by GIZ. In his speech, Diego Escalona Paturel, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Egypt, highlighted the importance of relying on efficient, renewable, and sustainable energy sources in Egypt and the world.

As a convention where academics, members of civil society, and government representatives openly discussed issues pertaining to sustainable urban development, the Sustainable Built Environment conference comes as a refreshing reminder for the meaning and importance of dialogue. Dialogue is a fundamental process in achieving sustainable urban development, as it relies on participation and fosters inclusivity. Set to continue until August 2017, the GIZ project for Implementing the New Urban Agenda in Egypt (INUA) strives to once again centralize and promote the role of inclusive dialogue in urban development.

Qalyubeya receives International Recognition for Urban Innovation

The Qalyubeya Governorate, local partner of the Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas (PDP) has been awarded a Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation at this year’s conference of the same name.
The awards ceremony was held in parallel to the conference in the Chinese City of Guangzhou from December 5-7, 2016. Qalyubeya has received the Urban Innovation Award for its achievements in the “Integrated Community-Based Solid Waste Management” project, which has been funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and implemented as part of the PDP from 2010 until 2014.
The prestigious award is put on by the City of Guangzhou as well as the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Metropolis organisations. The technical jury of the award, consisting of members of Cities Alliance, ICLREI, FLACMA as well as scholars from the University of Zaragoza, screened the 301 project contributions from around the world according to the criteria of innovation, effectiveness, replicability, and significance in order to identify 15 candidates (cities of excellence) to be invited to the awards ceremony in Guangzhou.
The award-winning project from Qalyubeya was based on an integrated approach, which included the following measures:
• Informal garbage collectors (zabaleen) were promoted in the start-up of businesses and began working as formal contractors of the District administrations.
• Motorized three-wheel vehicles were introduced in the community, thereby enabling the garbage collectors to penetrate narrow streets of informal settlements and to carry solid waste to the newly constructed transfer station, which has also been established by the project.
• The construction of a recycling centre helps to segregate the solid waste into recycling materials and green fuels for the cement industry.
• A local health centre was equipped with a new first aid station, which is primarily designed to serve the needs of the zabaleen community
The experience from this project is already being adapted by other cities in Egypt and some of the project’s principles have been integrated into the National Solid Waste Management Strategy. While only 10% of the local residents were satisfied with the garbage collection services prior to the project, a survey confirmed that more than 70% approved of the solid waste collection methods afterwards. The measure hence created a significant positive impact on the lives of the local population.
The laudatory speech of Mr. Augusto Mathias from the Brazilian Federation of Cities and Municipalities focused on the successful application of the integrated approach, which was able to consider the social component of development in an effective way. General Amr Abdel Moneim, the Governor of Qalyubeya, vowed to build on this success during his speech of thanks: “I promise that we will continue with this challenging work for the benefit of Qalyubeya and Egypt”.
The PDP is the currently largest urban development project of GIZ and receives funding from the BMZ, BMGF and a majority co-financing from the European Union. The Government of Egypt is also contributing to the success of PDP financially and in-kind.