UCLG-MEWA organized a comprehensive training program titled “Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Improve Territorial Planning and City-to-City Cooperation” in Amman from July 25th to 27th. The training was organized in cooperation with UCLG Learning and UN-Habitat and with the support of the Greater Amman Municipality. The program not only offered technical training but also witnessed significant milestones in urban resilience, with new signatories joining the Trabzon Resilience Declaration (TRD) — a commitment to build safer and more resilient cities. Further enriching the event, the UCLG-MEWA delegation, led by the Secretary General, undertook several official visits to local Jordanian governments, fostering stronger relationships and opening avenues for future collaborations
UCLG-MEWA has placed a strong emphasis on Decentralized Cooperation as one of its strategic priorities, fostering collaborative relationships between cities and regions. This focus was first manifested in the inaugural edition of the training program held last year in Konya, Turkey, which set the foundation for this continued commitment. The primary aim of this training which organized on the basis of “Learning Module 2: Territorial Planning & the SDGs” and “Learning Module 4: Localizing the SDGs through Decentralized Cooperation” developed by UCLG Learning and UN Habitat was to strengthen the capacity of local and regional governments, with a particular focus on promoting City-to-City Cooperation. The mutual learning and the sharing of best practices between cities can significantly contribute to addressing common challenges and enhancing service delivery. Therefore, the training provided a platform for local governments to connect, collaborate, and discuss the potential for collective action towards the common objective of sustainable urban development. Moreover, the program also focused on enhancing the localization of the SDGs. Given the integral role that local and regional governments play in achieving these global targets, the training emphasized the need for these authorities to integrate SDGs into their development strategies, planning, and operations. This focus was reflected in the robust participation from cities across the Middle East. Representatives from Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates attended the training, highlighting the regional commitment to sustainable urban development. The active engagement from these participants provided a rich tapestry of diverse perspectives and experiences, enhancing the learning environment and fostering the development of region-specific solutions to sustainability challenges.
The program was ceremoniously opened with remarks from Dr. Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General; Mohammad Saadie, President of the Union of Dannieh Municipalities & UCLG-MEWA Honorary President; and Tayseer Abu Sneineh, Mayor of Al-Khalil & UCLG-MEWA President. The keynote speech was delivered by His Excellency Dr. Yousef Al Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman and UCLG-MEWA Co-President.
Spanning three days, the training offered a comprehensive agenda meticulously designed to engage participants effectively. The schedule included an array of lectures delivered by subject matter experts who shared their insights on localizing the SDGs, improving territorial planning, and fostering City-to-City Cooperation. The lectures aimed not only to impart knowledge but also to stimulate thought-provoking discussions among participants. This exchange of ideas and knowledge further allowed the attendees to understand different approaches to common challenges and consider novel solutions suitable for their own local contexts. Complementing these lectures, the training also provided a set of targeted exercises and interactive activities to reinforce the theoretical aspects. These activities were designed to enable participants to apply the knowledge gained, promoting experiential learning. Moreover, panel discussions provided a platform for thought leaders and practitioners to share their experiences and success stories, showcasing the practical application of theories discussed in lectures. Through this blended approach to learning, the program aimed to empower participants to drive strategic planning and implementation of SDGs at the city level, equipping them with the necessary tools and understanding to effectively integrate sustainability into their local governance frameworks.
The training concluded with an insightful field visit to the Greater Amman Municipality, where participants learned about the significant role the Amman Urban Observatory has played in crafting Amman’s Voluntary Local Review (VLR), marking it as the first VLR for Arab cities.
Throughout the program, the UCLG-MEWA delegation, led by Secretary General Dr. Mehmet Duman, conducted official visits to several local governments. This included meetings with H.E Dr. Yousef Al Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman; Hamzeh Alzghoul, Mayor of Ajlon; Jamal Alwaked, Mayor of Ein Elbasha; Aref Al Rawajeeh, Mayor of Madaba; and Muhammad Abdul Hameed Al-Maaita Mayor of Karak.
In a significant development during the program, the Greater Amman Municipality, Union of Dannieh Municipalities, and Al-Khalil Municipality took a decisive step forward in their commitment to urban resilience. The three institutions signed onto the Trabzon Resilience Declaration (TRD), demonstrating their dedication to building urban resilience in the face of diverse challenges such as disasters, climate change, rapid urbanization and social inequalities. The declaration highlights the importance of local government engagement in building and maintaining sustainable and resilient cities. By signing this declaration, these municipalities have not only underlined their commitment to the principles outlined in the declaration but have also taken a pledge to advance local resilience planning and actions in line with the broader goals of sustainable development. This move was met with great enthusiasm and is seen as a milestone in the regional pursuit of sustainable and resilient urban environments.
The event was a landmark achievement, fostering sustainable development through enhanced cooperation among cities, aligning local strategies with the SDGs, and strengthening city-to-city collaborations