UN-HABITAT’s Kuwait Office convened a two-day Expert Group Meeting to start the preparation of a new regional report, The State of Arab Cities, in cooperation with the Arab Towns Organisation and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.
The meeting 28 and 29 April, was opened by H.E. Dr. Fadel Safer, Minister of Public Works and State Minister of Municipalities, H.E. Abdul Aziz Al-Adsani Secretary General of Arab Towns Organization, Mr. Daniel Biau, Director of the Regional and Technical Cooperation Division of UN-HABITAT, and H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Ali Al-Khaled Al-Jaber, Director of the Economic Department at the Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in presence of Mr. Tarek El-Sheikh, Chief of Kuwait Office.
Experts from Kuwait, the Arab region, Europe and United States as well as from UN-HABITAT, UNDP, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the World Bank discussed current urbanization trends and challenges. In his opening address Mr. Biau highlighted the diversity of the urbanization processes in the Arab region. He also commanded the progress achieved by Egypt and Tunisia in improving the lives of slum dwellers. An annotated outline of the new report was finalized by the participants after in-depth substantive discussions.
H.E. Dr. Fadel Safer, Kuwait Minister of Public Works and State Minister of Municipality, and Mr. Biau signed a letter of intent whereby UN-HABITAT and the Ministry will start developing a new programme of cooperation on municipal management and planning.
The meeting concluded on a positive and productive note. Mr. Biau said that he was convinced that the next meetings could deliver an excellent regional report. Mr. Daniel also stressed that by a first draft of the State of the Arab Cities should be ready at the end of 2010 prior to completion next year.