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Events

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Urban Resilience Conference

April 2-4, 2019

Beirut, Lebanon

MULTIMEDIA

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What is urban resilience? Urban resilience is the ability of a city’s community to adapt to a variety of shocks and risks ranging from natural disasters to social, economic, political and cultural changes. 

  • Each year, natural disasters kill thousands of people and cause billions of dollars in economic losses. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are not immune to these effects. The region is exposed to a growing number of shocks and hazards that affect the stability and growth of its cities. 

    The interplay of climate change, population density, conflict and water scarcity has intensified the risk of natural disasters such as drought, flooding and earthquakes in the region. Over the last 30 years, these events have affected approximately 40 million people in MENA countries and have cost their economies about US$20 billion. 

    Conflict in the region has inflicted great damage to human lives and physical infrastructure. It is estimated that about half a million people have been killed, while fifteen million have had to abandon their homes. Urban areas have been particularly affected by the conflict, and cities are facing significant service delivery pressure due to physical damage, as well as the influx of a high number of displaced people. 

    • What are past experiences and initiatives of urban resilience in MENA cities and beyond? 
    • How can MENA cities work together to address their challenges and make their communities more resilient?

    To tackle these questions, the Municipality of Beirut, in collaboration with the World Bank Group, is organizing the MENA Regional Urban Resilience Conference. The event will be held under the Patronage of His Excellency Mr. Saad Hariri, President of the Council of Ministers

    The conference will bring together city- and national-level decision makers, including mayors, technical experts and other shareholders from 13 MENA countries: Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, West Bank-Gaza and Yemen.

    The Conference will offer its participants the opportunity to exchange views on the challenges facing their cities and identify possible solutions and ways to collaborate in the future. Beyond the MENA region, other cities will be represented and their experiences will be showcased during the conference.

    Specifically, the Conference will: 

    • Strengthen the understanding of urban resilience and its implementation in MENA as well as globally;
    • Promote regional cooperation among cities with shared resilience objectives; 
    • Discuss innovative methodologies, techniques and solutions to resilience challenges; and
    • Announce a shared regional urban resilience pledge highlighting the way forward. 
  • DAY 1: TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2019

    08:15 – 08:45

    Conference Registration

    09:00 - 11:00

    Opening and Session 1 | The Importance of Resilience in Urban Growth and Regeneration

     

    Welcome Addresses

    Mr. Jamal Itani, Mayor of Beirut, Lebanon

    Dr. Sameh Naguib Wahba, Director, Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice (SURR GP), WBG

    H.E. Ms. Raya El Hassan, Minister of Interior, Lebanon

    Keynote Addresses

    Prof. Jamal Saghir, Professor, McGill University; Affiliated Scholar, IFI, American University of Beirut

    Dr. Sameh Naguib Wahba, Director, Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice (SURR GP), WBG

    Panelists

    Dr. Sameh Naguib Wahba, Director, SURR GP, WBG

    Ms. Kazuko Ishigaki, Director for Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Management Bureau, Cabinet Office, Japan

    Dr. Youssef AlShawarbeh, Mayor of Amman, Jordan

    Ms. Elizabeth Yee, Vice President, Resilience Finance, 100 Resilient Cities

    Moderator

    Mr. Phil Karp, Lead Knowledge Specialist, WBG  

    11:00 - 11:10

    Beirut Resilience Strategy Launch

    Ms. Matilda Khoury, Councilor, Municipal Council of Beirut, Lebanon

    11:10 - 11:30

    Coffee Break

    11:30 - 12:45

    Session 2 | Resilience Frameworks for Investment Decisions

     

    Ms. Elizabeth Yee, Vice President, Resilience Finance, 100 Resilient Cities

    Mr. Sébastien Maire, Chief Resilience Officer, Paris, France

    Dr. Arturo Dominici Arosemena, Chief Resilience Officer, Panama City, Panama

    Ms. Bilge Cakir, Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC), MENA, WBG

    Dr. Wafa Charafeddine, Head of Funding Division, Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR)

    Moderator

    Dr. Josef Leitmann, Lead Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Specialist, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), WBG

    12:45 – 13:30

    Lunch

    13:30 – 15:00

    Session 3 | Collaboration between Local, National, and International Actors

     

    Mr. Sujit Kumar Mohanty, Chief of the Arab States Regional Office, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)

    Ms. Hart Ford, Director, ACTED Lebanon

    Dr. Josef Leitmann, Lead DRM Specialist, GFDRR, WBG

    Moderator 

    Dr. Sameh Naguib Wahba, Director, SURR GP, WBG

    15:00 – 15:15

    Coffee Break

    15:15 – 16:30

    Session 4 | The Way Forward

     

    Keynote Address

    Ms. Kazuko Ishigaki, Director for Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Management Bureau, Cabinet Office, Japan

    Panelists

    Mr. Jamal Itani, Mayor of Beirut, Lebanon

    Dr. Sameh Naguib Wahba, Director, SURR GP, WBG

    Mr. Sébastien Maire, Chief Resilience Officer, Paris, France

    Dr. Sufyan Al-Issa, Regional Head of Operations, IFC, MENA, WBG

    Ms. Souad Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia

    Moderator

    Ms. Dana Omran, Managing Director for Africa, 100 Resilient Cities

    Closing Remarks for the day

    Mr. Jamal Itani, Mayor of Beirut, Lebanon

    Dr. Sameh Naguib Wahba, Director, SURR GP, WBG

    17:00 – 19:00

    Site Visit – Downtown Beirut

    DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2019

    09:00 - 10:00

    Session 5 | City Challenges and Risks

     

    Ms. Isabel Margarita Cantada, City Scans, WBG

    Dr. Ali Al-Hemoud, Research Scientist, Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research

    Mr. Tony Sfeir, Chief Resilience Officer, Byblos, Lebanon

    Moderator
    Mr. Salim Rouhana, Senior Urban Development Specialist, GSURR, WBG

    10:00 - 11:00

    Session 6 | Designing, Prioritizing, and Implementing Your Strategy

     

    Mr. Sébastien Maire, Chief Resilience Officer, Paris, France

    Ms. Ana Ardelean, Chief Resilience Officer, Tbilisi, Georgia

    Mr. Anton Salman, Mayor of Bethlehem, Palestine

    Ms. Dana Omran, Managing Director, City Resilience Delivery - Africa, 100 Resilient Cities

    Moderator

    Dr. Josef Leitmann, Lead DRM Specialist, GFDRR, WBG

    11:00 – 11:15

    Coffee Break

    11:15 – 12:15

    Session 6 (Continued) | Designing, Prioritizing, and Implementing Your Strategy

     

    Mr. Eric Wilson, Deputy Director, Land Use and Buildings, New York City, USA

    Dr. Arturo Dominici Arosemena, Chief Resilience Officer, Panama City, Panama

    Dr. Nabil S. Itani, Project Manager, Cultural Heritage and Urban Development (CHUD) Project, CDR

    Dr. Josef Leitmann, Lead DRM Specialist, GFDRR, WBG

    Moderator

    Ms. Dana Omran, Managing Director, City Resilience Delivery - Africa, 100 Resilient Cities

    12:15 – 13:15

    Breakout Session: Shift and Share

    Cities to identify and discuss individual challenges and lessons learned

     

    Moderator

    Mr. Phil Karp, Lead Knowledge Management Specialist, SURR GP, WBG

    13:15 – 14:00

    Lunch

    14:00 – 15:30

    Session 7 | Financing Urban Resilience

     

    Mr. Steven Rubinyi, Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Specialist, WBG

    15:30 – 15:50

    Coffee Break and Cultural Bingo

    15:50 –17:30

    Session 8 | Social Resilience and Youth

     

    Ms. Nisreen Alaraj, Chief Resilience Officer, Greater Amman, Jordan

    Mr. Abdullahi Ali Watiin, Mayor, Baidoa, Somalia

    Mr. Saed Zawahrah, Zarqa City Youth Council, Jordan

    Ms. Cynthia Bakkalian, WB Youth Advisory Group, Lebanon

    Mr. Behzad Ali Adam, Deputy Governor, Dohuk governorate, Iraq/Kurdistan Regional Government

    Ms. Khadije Nasser, Senior Regional Manager, Strong Cities Network

    Moderator

    Ms. Naila Ahmed, Senior Social Development Specialist, WBG

    DAY 3: THURSSDAY, APRIL 4, 2019

    09:00 - 10:00

    Breakout Session: Shift and Share

    Cities to identify and discuss resilience challenges and lessons learned

     

    Moderator

    Mr. Phil Karp, Lead Knowledge Management Specialist, SURR GP, WBG

    10:00 - 11:00

    Session 9A | Water and Agriculture
    Ms. Fatma Aglan, Agricultural Specialist, WBG

    Prof. Ezio Todini, Consultant, WBG    

     

    Session 9B | Housing

    Ms. Sarah Antos, Data Scientist, Global Program for Resilient Housing, WBG

    Mr. Eric Wilson, Deputy Director, Land Use and Buildings, New York, USA
    Mr. Hazem Abdelfattah, Senior Urban Development Specialist, WBG

    Moderator

    Dr. Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director, SURR GP, WBG

    11:00 – 11:15

    Coffee Break

    11:15 - 12:15

    Session 10A | Nature-Based Solutions for City Resilience             
    Mr. Denis Jordy, Lead DRM Specialist, WBG

    Dr. Arturo Dominici Arosemena, Chief Resilience Officer, Panama City, Panama

     

     

     

    Session 10B | Competitive Cities

    Mr. Jade Sahlab, Senior Private Sector Specialist, WBG

    Ms. Zina Bdeir Dajani, Founder & CEO, Antwork

    Ms. Amira Solh, Urban and Cultural Heritage Planning Consultant                                                                                       Mr. Karim Chaya, Managing Partner, Abillama Chaya Industrial Design       

     

    12:15 - 12:35

    Reporting Back

    12:35 – 13:30

    Reflection Session on Technical Communique

     

    Moderator

    Dr. Josef Leitmann, Lead DRM Specialist, GFDRR, WBG

    13:30 – 14:30

    Presentation of the Technical Communique and Closing of the Conference 

     

    Closing remarks

    Dr. Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director, SURR GP, WBG

    Mr. Saroj Kumar Jha, Regional Director, Mashreq, WBG

    Mr. Jamal Itani, Mayor, Beirut, Lebanon

     

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    Middle East and North Africa Regional Urban Resilience Conference- Proceedings Report [PDF]

     

    The MENA Regional Urban Resilience Conference followed the development of Phase I of Beirut’s urban resilience master plan, bringing together 49 municipal and national representatives from 13 countries and territories across the MENA region (Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, West Bank-Gaza and Yemen) as well as resilience experts and practitioners from developed and developing countries beyond the region (France, Georgia, India, Italy, Japan, Panama, and the United States).

    In concluding the conference, delegates authored a collaborative summation of the scope of urban resilience as it pertains to cities in the MENA region. This technical communique distilled both the conference participants’ shared understanding of urban resilience challenges, and their agreed practical recommendations for pursuing resilience goals.