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MENA Cities at the Forefront of Climate Action: The Time is Now

September 29, 2021



Press play above for the livestream on Sept. 29th.
  • A dialogue with mayors and governors

    The climate battle for the planet will be won or lost in cities. In MENA, about 65% of the population live in urban areas, exceeding the global average of 55%, which consume about 78% of countries' energy and produce more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, the number of inhabitants in MENA is projected to double, amplifying the exposure to unprecedented natural and social hazards, putting many lives at stake.

    Although cities will continue to hold the promise of better livelihoods and services, MENA cities must take action to build back better now. Doing business as usual is no longer a feasible option in MENA, and urban areas must now look towards innovative green growth solutions. The physical and economic density of cities can provide the impetus for technological change and infrastructure investments that support low carbon economic development. Climate action can take place through innovative, sustainable solutions and participatory approaches that consider regional, national and local needs and priorities, and make communities and private sectors joint actors with public institutions in climate adaptation, and cities can be the drivers for such innovations.

    This event brings together Mayors and Governors from the MENA region as well as international global experts to discuss climate change as a challenge and an opportunity for development and economic growth at the city level. Discussions will delve into the key role cities play in formulating and implementing effective climate action.



    Special Keynote Address

    • Ayat Soliman, Regional Director, Sustainable Development Department, MENA, World Bank
    • Ferid Belhaj, Regional Vice President, MENA, World Bank


    10 mins
    Session 1: Cities, economic growth and climate change


    • Bernice K. Van Bronkhorst, Global Director, Climate Change, World Bank


    • "Amman’s journey towards climate action"

    Yousef Al-Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman, Jordan


    • "City climate action, why it matters for city economies, why mayors are in the driver’s seat" 

    Emilia Saiz, Secretary General, United Cities Local Government (UCLG) 

    Tadashi Matsumoto, Head of Sustainable Urban Development Unit, The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

    • The role of multi-level governance in accelerating climate action
    • "Vibrant cities, economic resilience and climate change"

    Somik Lall, Global Lead for Territorial and Spatial Development, World Bank

    40 mins
    Session 2: Actionable pathways towards climate-smart cities in MENA


    • Sameh Wahba, Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank


    • “Rising sea levels threaten Damietta and its port”

    Manal Awad Mikhail, Governor of Damietta, Egypt

    • "Implementing climate action in Amman, lessons for MNA cities and next steps"

    Yousef Al-Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman, Jordan

    • "Linkages between climate action and the development agenda"

    Mohamed Boudra, President of Moroccan Association of Communal Councils’ Presidents (AMPCC)

    •  "Cities green finance, innovation, and renewable energy in the face of climate change"

    Alaa Kadhim Maan Al-Ammari, Mayor of Baghdad, Iraq

    45 mins


    • "Green Reboot for Cities: Lessons for MENA Climate Private Investments"

    Lisa Da Silva, Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation

    10 mins

    "Investment opportunities for the MENA city climate agenda"

    • Paul Noumba Um, Regional Director, Infrastructure Department MENA, World Bank 
    10 mins
    Next steps
    • Ayat Soliman, Regional Director, Sustainable Development Department, MENA, World Bank
    5 mins
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    H.E. Dr. Yousef Al-Shawarbeh

    Mayor of Amman, Jordan - Chairman of Amman Vision Investment & Development

    Yousef Al-Shawarbeh was appointed the new Mayor of Amman in 2017. Prior to assuming his Mayoral post in August 2017 Mayor Al-Shawarbeh was the Chairman of Amman Municipal Committee (March 2017 – August 2017), and Minister of Political Development and Parliamentary Affairs (2016). Over 15 years, Mayor Al-Shawarbeh held various positions on local Government and Municipal work, legal and Legislative field: (2013 –2016) he was the Deputy Mayor of Amman, Vice Chairman of Investment committee at the Greater Amman Municipality, A member of the Local Organizing Committee of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2016, Chairman of Tenders committee at the Greater Amman Municipality , Vice Chairman of the Central Market Board of Directors at the Greater Amman Municipality, Deputy Chief of Directors, Al-Tawfiq for Transport & Investment Co. Ltd , Vice Chairman of Comprehensive Multiple Transport company Board of Directors, and Deputy Chief of Directors, Asia Transportation Company, Vice Chairman of Integrated Cards Company (E -kartak) Board of Directors. In (2014) Member of Decentralization Law Formulation committee, Member of Human Rights National plan Formulation committee. Member of Mayor’s Migration Council (MMC) Leadership Board since 2019, UCLG-MEWA co-president since 2019, Member of Global parliament of Mayors. Mayor Al-Shawarbeh holds a PhD degree in constitutional law from Al-Neelain University in Sudan. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in law - Al-Ahliyya Amman University- Faculty of Law in Jordan.


    Emilia Sáiz

    Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)

    Emilia Sáiz is Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). She started her journey as local government international advocate in the founding organization of UCLG, IULA in 1997. She has led programmes dedicated to institutional capacity building and decentralized cooperation. She has actively promoted women empowerment, social inclusion and international partnerships. She played a critical role in setting up the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and has followed and represented local and regional governments in iconic international processes such as the Rio and Beijing + 20 as well as the Climate Agreement, the SDGs and Habitat III.


    Manal Awad Mikhail

    Governor of Damietta, Egypt

    Manal Awad Mikhail is the Governor of Damietta since 2018. In the past twenty years, she has held several positions related to her studies. She served as a member of the Egyptian Poultry Medical Association, the International Poultry Veterinary Association, the Egyptian Society for Immunology and the Veterinary Society. She graduated with a degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Benha followed by a master’s degree and a PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Alexandria.


    Mohamed Boudra

    President of Moroccan Association of Communal Councils’ Presidents

    Mohamed Boudra is the President of Moroccan Association of Communal Councils’ Presidents. He was elected Mayor of the city of Al Hoceima in 2003 and re-elected in 2009 and 2015. President of the Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate Region from 2009 to 2015, he also served as an elected member of Parliament from 2011 to 2016. In 2016, he was chosen by his peers to be President of the Moroccan Association of Municipal Council Presidents. Mohamed Boudra is a Doctor of Medicine specializing in radiology.


    Alaa Kadhim Maan Al-Ammari

    Mayor of Baghdad, Iraq

    Alaa Kazim Maan Al-Amari was appointed Mayor of the City of Baghdad in 2020. He is an architectural advisory engineer and city planner with 28 years of experience in the field of city planning, project management, and architectural design projects, as well as in the field of construction with extensive technical expertise, both pre- and post-stages of concluding contracts. He is also a member of the Iraqi Engineers Syndicate with the rank of consultant, the Secretary of the Makiya Consulting Institution for the Development of Baghdad, and a member of the study team for the development of Al-Rasheed Street / Prime Minister's Office. He has extensive experience in planning cities, managing heritage projects and conservation areas, and preparing systematic studies for projects and artistic and architectural competitions. Alaa Kazim Maan Al-Amari holds a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering / University of Technology, Baghdad - Iraq


    Tadashi Matsumoto

    Head of Sustainable Urban Development Unit, The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

    Tadashi Matsumoto leads OECD’s work on sustainable urban development and manages the global relations at the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division. He provides strategic leadership and oversees the research and analysis on topics related to the zero-carbon transition in cities, a territorial approach to SDGs, urban green growth, energy efficiency in buildings, urban resilience and national urban policies. Before joining the OECD in 2009, Tadashi worked for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan since 1995. He holds a MUP (Urban Planning) from New York University and a Ph.D. from Tokyo University (Engineering).


  • TIME: From 1:00 – 3:00 GMT (09:00 – 11:00 AM EST)
  • LANGUAGE: Simultaneous interpretation (Arabic/English/French) will be available.