Being on the agenda of all countries around the world, the Sustainable Development Goals have been on the agenda of the Arab cities now. With the aim of facilitating development-related efforts of the cities in the Arab geography and advancing these works in line with the 2030 Agenda, the Arab Towns Organization (ATO) organized “The Forum Of Advanced Workshops For Sustainable Cities” in Istanbul, on 29-30 April 2019. Arch. Dr. Kadir Topbaş, 2010-2016 UCLG President; and Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, also attended the event. Salem Al Shanfari, Mayor of Dhofar, Oman; Jamal Al Nuaimi, Director of Doha Municipality, Qatar were among the prominent participants of the program hosted many local government representatives from Muscat, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine.

Speaking in the opening of the event, Dr. Topbaş shared some good practices that he applied in Istanbul during his 13-year tenure, between 2004 and 2017, the longest-serving period for an IMM Mayor. Dr. Topbaş also underlined the need for more intensive efforts by city managers to incorporate their cities into the list of sustainable cities. Following the opening, the program continued with a workshop entitled “Smart city Management and Operation Techniques“.

In its second day, the event started with the workshop entitled “The Role of Smart Cities in Achieving Sustainable Development“, where participants, including UCLG-MEWA, discussed the ways for stronger partnerships for the creation of smart cities and dissemination of knowledge and experience among the cities in the MEWA region. In this way, the critical points of the framework drawn for cities in the 2030 Agenda have taken their place in this platform.

ATO members visiting Istanbul on the occasion of this two-day program also had the opportunity to visit UCLG-MEWA General Secretariat in Istanbul. Ahmed Al-Subaih, Secretary General of ATO, and his accompanying delegation received here information about the structure and operation of the Organization, and the relations with the UCLG and other Sections. Committees in different thematic areas and their activities carried out in line with the 2030 Agenda were also shared with the delegation. Besides this, participants discussed the Blockchain technology and methodology within the context of the activities of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities seeking to disseminate this new and safe technology. The cooperation between ATO and UCLG-MEWA is expected to intensify in the future, especially in the field of smart cities.

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