Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the supranational organization bringing together countries from both north and south sides of the Mediterranean Sea, organized a conference on September 29th in Barcelona, with the title “Sustainable Urbanisation through Port City Transformation”. AIVP supported this event and joined the meeting, represented by Dr. José M P Sánchez, moderating the session “Experiences from port-city collaboration”, building on the broad expertise our organization has on good practices for port cities. The session counted with three speakers from the Mediterranean port cities of Haifa (Israel) and Tangier (Morocco):
- Mr Itamar Ben David, Chairman of District Planning Committee, Haifa District, Israel
- Mr Eshel Armony, Chairman of the board, Haifa Port, Israel
- Mr Jamil Ouazzani, Directeur Marketing & intelligence stratégique à la société de gestion du Port Tanger Ville, Morocco
Both cases presented ambitious plans for the waterfront and port-city interface. One of the most interesting aspects was the different stages in which both projects find themselves now. While in Haifa the port, city and state have recently signed final agreements and the development should start soon, Tangier can offer a broad experience, building on their already concluded and successful projects.
The audience formed by port and urban authorities from the Mediterranean also joined actively the debate. One of the key issues discussed in the session was the stakeholder engagement, its challenges, and the importance of finding appropriate tools to involve the citizens in an efficient way. Connected to this issue, the social integration of projects as well as the public perception of it were highlighted by the participants as other key elements for a successful implementation of port city plans.
This session is part of the work that UfM has been developing with experts such as Prof. Carola Hein, also in the conference, to establish an action plan for the region in which port cities will have considerable attention. AIVP has closely followed this work, providing advice. Part of this of cooperation was also the participation as speaker of Amb. Mr Sabri Ergen, UfM Deputy Secretary-General for Transport and Urban Development in the recent World Conference Cities and Ports that took place in May 2022 in Tangier, Morocco.
This event demonstrates the close relationship AIVP has with its members in the region and willingness to cooperate on port city issues with other organizations. The future stages of the work by UfM will open new windows of opportunity to strength the cooperation and intensify the influence of AIVP on the regional governance and strategies.