UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment held its first administrative meeting for the year 2021 with its renewed Presidential Board on January 21, 2021, which was immediately followed by the thematic event titled ‘Cleaner and Greener Recovery: Climate Priorities in the Post-Covid Era.’
Administrative Meeting of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment
After setting out its three-year roadmap at the Committee Presidency Meeting held in 2019 under the auspices of Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey), UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment convened virtually on January 21, 2021 to discuss the progress made and the future plans of the Committee. The meeting was opened by Mehmet DUMAN, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA. In his opening speech, Secretary General Duman highlighted the increasing importance of environmental work to be done by local governments, especially in the face of the challenges that surfaced even more after the Covid-19 pandemic. During the session, Meryem KAYAN, Deputy Director at Environmental Protection and Control Department of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, delivered a presentation on the climate-related projects conducted by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, a member of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Following that, Bükre TÜRKSOY, Officer of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment, presented the activities of the Committee realized in the year 2020, which included the trilateral partnership project between GCoM, UCLG and ICLEI, as well as the plan of activities prepared for the coming year, which was followed by the announcement of the new members and discussion of the host city for the next meeting of the Committee.
‘Cleaner and Greener Recovery: Climate Priorities in the Post-Covid Era’ Event
Following the administrative meeting, UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment held its event ‘Cleaner and Greener Recovery: Climate Priorities in the Post-Covid Era,’ organized within the framework of the GCoM’s ‘Global-Regional Coordination (GRC)’ project. Aimed at strengthening climate efforts between UCLG, ICLEI and GCoM and collecting local and regional inputs to be fed into GCoM’s work, the GRC project foresaw the organization of regional policy mapping consultation workshops led by UCLG sections and ICLEI offices. Following the workshops of UCLG Africa and Latin America, UCLG-MEWA organized its own workshop in conjunction with its administrative meeting.
The event started with the opening speeches of Mohamed Saadie, President of Union of Dannieh Municipalities and UCLG-MEWA President, and Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General, respectively shedding light on the climate challenges in the MEWA region and highlighting the political vision behind the GRC project. Following the opening speeches, Firdaous Oussidhioum took the floor to explain the backdrop and objectives of the project and what kind of outcomes are expected from the consultation workshops.
Moderated by UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman, the first panel session ‘Climate Policies Through a Local Lens’ took place with the participation of Prof. Lütfi Akça, Member of Local Administration Policies Council, Presidency of the Republic of Turkey; Yücel Yılmaz, President of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment and Mayor of Balıkesir (Turkey); and Abdallah Anati, Executive Director of the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA). The speakers shared with the participants the local policy priorities in in the fight against climate change, delivered political messages on climate action in the post-Covid era, and gave an overview of the current climate-related situation in the region.
The second session ‘Climate Resilient Cities,’ which was moderated by Mr. Ramazan Özcan Yildirim, Deputy Secretary General at the Union of Municipalities of Turkey, focused on identifying local and regional priorities and strategies on climate change. The session took place with the participation of Rifat Ünal Sayman, Chairman, REC Turkey; Yehia Daher, President of Bouhaira Municipalities, Lebanon; and Ohood Enaia, Director of Urban Planning Directorate, Ministry of Local Government of Palestine.
Moderated by Manar Obaid, International Relations Coordinator at Union of Dannieh Municipalities, the third session was aimed at identifying technical needs of local governments for climate action. In this session, Berna Yilmaz, Chemist (M.Sc.), from Denizli Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) and Arch. Nisreen DAOUD, Acting/Amman Chief Resilient Officer from Greater Amman Municipality (Jordan) talked about their climate action plans and projects and shared the challenges they faced in terms of climate action.
Building upon the previous sessions, the last session ‘The Way Forward: Global-Regional Partnerships,’ moderated by Felix Akrofi-Atitianti, Low Emission Development Officer at ICLEI-World Secretariat, focused on strengthening coordination between institutions on climate work in the region and drafting a joint calendar. During the session, Aslıhan ALBOSTAN, Inclusive Urbanization Portfolio Lead at UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development and Andy Deacon, Director of Strategy and Operations at GCoM, discussed future collaboration opportunities on climate action in the MEWA region.
The event concluded with the closing remarks of UCLG-MEWA President Mohamed Saadie.