ARLEM members recall that although the world seems off track when it comes to tackle the climate emergency, the importance of subnational governments in achieving climate ambitions and in securing global energy security cannot be underestimated.
The world's leaders should use the opportunity of the COP27 global
climate talks in Egypt to bring cities and regions into decision-making
on climate action, unlock climate funding for subnational governments,
and encourage locally sensitive responses to mitigation and adaptation.
The local and regional leaders , meeting at the Euro-Mediterranean
Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) in Izmir (Türkiye) on 7-8 November,
specifically called for the creation at the UN talks in Sharm el-Sheikh
of an Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture to encourage a shift
towards more sustainable urbanism and clean energy transition.
The ARLEM meeting focused on climate action in the Mediterranean and
inclusive and resilient cities in two sessions, but also adopted two sets
of recommendations designed to foster entrepreneurship in the region. The
first, by Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, President of the
Government of Andalusia (Spain), addressed the challenges of creating
innovation eco-systems and start-ups. The second, by Abdelaziz Derouiche, President of the Prefectoral Council
of Rabat and President of the Moroccan Association of the Presidents of the
Councils of Prefectures (AMPCPP), considered how to re-orientate service
sectors in the region by transferring skills from and to the tourism
sector. Both reports focused on the recovery after the COVID-19 outbreak.
The emphasis on entrepreneurship reflects a long-standing commitment by
ARLEM to encourage young people to develop businesses, and the meeting
ended with the ceremony of the fourth annual ARLEM award to a young
entrepreneur. The winner this year was Manar Ramadan of
Banlastic (Egypt), an environmental organisation that is working with the
public and private sectors, to encourage a move away from single-use
plastics and, ultimately, a ban on plastic bags.
ARLEM received once again the support of the Union for the Mediterranean
(UfM) through the deputy secretary-general Abdelkder El Khissassi, who underlined the importance of
strengthening the territorial dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean
partnership, as well as of amplifying the voices of local and regional
authorities in the Mediterranean region.
ARLEM's call for an Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture builds on an
initiative by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and promoted
by Tunç Soyer, mayor of the metropolitan municipality of
Izmir, host of this plenary session. This initiative aims at promoting the
idea of a 'circular culture' that would underpin urbanism by endeavouring
to achieve a harmony with nature, with each other, with the past, and with
The meeting of ARLEM was, however, marred by the temporary restraint by the
Turkish authorities of
, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and
Governor of Central Macedonia, at the port of Izmir upon his arrival. This
unacceptable and regrettable incident is now being addressed through
official EU-Türkiye channels and at the request of the ARLEM bureau.
Following his decision to return to Greece, the plenary session was
co-chaired by Enzo Bianco, chair of the CIVEX commission
in charge of external relations, and member of Catania Municipal Council,
and by Ahmad Al Khazali, Mayor of Greater Ramtha
municipality in Jordan.
All documents relating to the ARLEM meeting can be found here.