This webinar took place on October 26,2020 on the occasion of the Urban October and the World Cities Day, as the second edition of the webinar series co-organized by UCLG-MEWA and UN-Habitat ROAS. It focused on the role of local communities in building cities’ resilience and planning for post-COVID-19 response. The session also highlighted how local governments can engage local communities to address the urgent needs for public service delivery. The webinar started with the opening and greeting remarks by Mr. Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, and Dr. Erfan Ali, Regional Director of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States.

First Session: Engaging Communities in Building Back Better Post-COVID-19

In this session, Dr. Manal AWAD, Governor of Damietta, Egypt, highlighted the significance of woman entrepreneurship especially after COVID-19 pandemic as they were amongst the most affected people from this crisis. She also stressed the importance of empowering those women and provide them with suitable platforms to sell their products as a way to ensure the sustainability of their business. Mr. Mohammed SEFIANI, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco, talked about the situation of the city during the pandemic process and how they connect rural and urban areas to provide services to all. He also highlighted the need to integrate the unstructured economy with the structured one; he stated that “COVID-19 was an opportunity that awakened our sleeping consciousness.” Mr. Mortada MHANNA, Head of Administration Department and Manager of DRR Unit in Union of Tyr Municipalities, Lebanon, talked about building the institutional structure to improve all capacities at the local level and presented the outcomes of their project on “developing the union’s capabilities and empowering municipal employees.” Ms. Sara FOUAD, Taybah Foundation for Development, Yemen, talked about their project entitled “Community Health Volunteers.” It is an awareness campaign that focuses on personal hygiene and COVID-19.

Second Session: Life after COVID-19: Urban Sustainability from the Perspective of Public Service Delivery

Eng. Ahmad AL SUBAIH, Arab Towns Organization (ATO) Secretary General, highlighted the measures that should be taken to support local communities and help them get through this crisis by providing all possible facilities such as reducing some prices, postponing bills and exempting the affected parties from some fees in order to reduce the negative effects of the crisis in our communities. Dr. Khaled Abbas, Former Dean & Professor at Egypt National Institute of Transport, stressed the importance of looking at the positive side of this crisis, especially given that after the pandemic, the world has witnessed progress in medicine and technology. He stated that the goal is to reach a community combining the patterns before and after COVID-19. Nuha QTAISH, Planning Executive Director, Greater Amman Municipality, shed light on the role of Greater Amman Municipality in ensuring that people in different parts of the city have similar access to basic services. She also made a presentation on how the municipality is monitoring the satisfaction level of citizens through surveys which contributes to making local communities feel more valued by the local government.

At the end of the session, Dr. Erfan Ali shared some of the inputs of local communities’ initiatives during the pandemic. We collected these initiatives through a survey we published online to be filled out by members of NGOs, volunteers and individuals. You can fill out this survey here.

Mr. Mohammad SAADIE ended the webinar by drawing on the importance of cooperation and sharing experiences on COVID-19 which will help in understanding the crisis better, and he stated that “We must work as one hand for a better future, with our solidarity and concerted efforts, we can overcome all crises.”

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