UN-ESCWA (The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia), in cooperation with the Technical Secretariat of the Arab Council of Ministers for Social Affairs/Development and Social Policies Division/General Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS), Arab Towns Organization (ATO), the Kuwaiti Office of the Minister of State for Municipality Affairs and all related governmental institutions in Kuwait, holds an expert group meeting (EGM) on “Urban Governance and the Millennium Development Goals: Towards Implementing MDGs' Target 11 (Equitable Cities)”, from 10 to 12 December 2007, at the ATO headquarters in Kuwait City.
Participants in the meeting, which opens at 10 A.M on Monday 10 December 2007, include national experts concerned with housing, municipalities, local administration and social issues in the Arab region, in addition to official representatives from ministries and relevant governmental parties, as well as from businesses, the private sector, regional organizations, United Nations organizations, Arab and regional funds and parties, and donor countries. The meeting will also be attended by a number of concerned consultants and academics, working on housing an urban development, in addition to a number of intellectuals, media figures and activists.
The meeting is the first regional activity organized by UN-ESCWA to follow-up on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Arab countries, specifically in urban areas, in order to achieve Target 11: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, of MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability and Target 13: Address the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing States, of Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development.
The meeting aims at: Generating knowledge consensus on urban governance in the Arab countries and how it contributes to the developmental role of cities; Urging UN-ESCWA member countries to evaluate what has been done so far towards alleviating urban poverty -2000 till 2007- in the context of implementing the MDGs, specifically Target 11 of MDG 7; Shedding light on MDGs in the Arab countries in an attempt to establish consensus on the significance and necessity of partnerships among governments, local authorities, civil society, private sector and the media; Establishing dialogue and exchange regional and international experiences about means and mechanisms of implementing the MDGs, specifically Target 11 in the urban areas; and Exchanging lessons learned at the international and regional levels on governance and urban governance to counter urban inequities and its socio-economic effects.
The meeting is expected to identify factors that support the activation of good urban governance components in the Arab countries in order to investigate challenges to the gradual implementation of Target 11 and to identify the principal conceptual approaches to support governments and their development partners in devising city policies related to reducing urban poverty and its threat to secure tenure and social stability. It will also discuss a draft document of the “Set of Regional Indicators on implementing Target 11 of the MDGs in the Arab Countries”, relative to the cross-referencing between the mechanisms and indicators of monitoring local governance and those of monitoring Target 11 in cities and urban areas. The set of regional indicators represents a major move towards identifying regional-specific indicators under Target 11 of the MDGs, to implement, monitor and assess desired results by 2020.