On 4 May 2023, ARLEM addressed the ministers at the third conference of the Union for the Mediterranean on Sustainable Urban Development through its rapporteur Abdelaziz Derouiche, president of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of the Councils of the Prefectures. The meeting took place in Zagreb under the Co-Presidency of the European Union (represented by Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms) and Jordan (represented by its Minister of Public Works and Housing Maher Hamdi Abuelsamen), and in the presence of UfM Secretary-General Nasser Kamel.
UfM ministers committed to building resilient cities in the Mediterranean and boosting sustainable, resilient, safe and integrated urban development. The ministerial declaration, adopted at this conference, supports the work done and further encourages actions to improve the engagement of local authorities in the design of urban policies.
Mr Derouiche, ARLEM rapporteur on Urban health and sustainable urban mobility, conveyed the draft ARLEM recommendations to the ministers: urban health and transport are, in most countries, two key competences of regions and cities and are interdependent. It is necessary to put legal and financial frameworks in place that allow local communities to act in favour of sustainable and health-friendly transport and that enable them to invest in public transport. Representing the level closest to the citizens, cities and regions are also the most able to promote a change in their habits through a participatory approach and educational actions, which is key.
ARLEM has been working on sustainable urban development for many years and is preparing a new report, which is to be adopted at the 14th ARLEM plenary session.
The Mediterranean region is particularly vulnerable to climate change, as the Mediterranean basin has one of the fastest urbanisation rates in the world. Cities are a key cause of climate change, but they can also be key to solving it.