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Report on Joint Council-Executive Committee Meeting (UCLG-MEWA) Report on Joint Council-Executive Committee Meeting (UCLG-MEWA)

The joint meeting of the Council and Executive Committee of the United Cities and Local Governments, Middle East and West Asia (UCLG-MEWA) was hosted by Tehran Municipality on December 24-25at Spinas International Hotel in the capital city. In this meeting, over one hundred municipality officials and representatives of local and regional organizations exchanged experiences and knowledge on the advancement of their goals and become acquainted with targets and policies of member cities.


Report on Joint Council-Executive Committee Meeting

United Cities and Local Governments-Middle East and West Asia

UCLG-MEWA

 
Introduction

The joint meeting of the Council and Executive Committee of the United Cities and Local Governments, Middle East and West Asia (UCLG-MEWA) was hosted by Tehran Municipality on December 24-25at Spinas International Hotel in the capital city.

In this meeting, over one hundred municipality officials and representatives of local and regional organizations exchanged experiences and knowledge on the advancement of their goals and become acquainted with targets and policies of member cities.

Also, representatives of the participating cities discussed their expectations, recommendations and strategies in an effort to strengthen performance of this organization and for more effective utilization in future.

A day prior to the opening of the conference, Kadir Topbaş the Mayor of Istanbul and Chairman of UCLG-MEWA who arrived in Tehran for a day-long visit, attended a bilateral meeting with the Mayor of Tehran and inspected major urban projects.

On the first day of the meeting, the participants after hearing speeches by Tehran Mayor Dr. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Mayor of Sakarya and UCLG-MEWA Vice-President Zeki Toçoğlu, and UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman participated in two roundtable discussions under the themes “Local Governance Systems in the Middle East and West Asia” and “Crisis Management in the Middle East and West Asia”.

On the second day of the joint meeting of the Council and Executive Committee, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman presented a report on the trend of activities of the organization after the extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly on December 16, 2010. Then Yakup Koçal, Mayor of Yalova and UCLG-MEWA Treasurer offered a brief report on the financial status of the organization and the Financial Management Committee. The participants then continued with a revision of the approvals included in the constitution, performance of the committees and process for promoting their operations through active participation of member cities, approval of the draft agenda for 2012, considering new memberships and follow up of the unpaid dues.

The following is a brief introduction of the organization and a detailed report on the two-day meeting of UCLG-MEWA in Tehran:

 
A)  United Cities and Local Governments-Middle East and West Asia:

UCLG-MEW is continuation of the structure of the International Union of Local Authorities, Section for the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Region (IULA-EMME) which was established in Turkey upon orders of the Council of Ministers in 1987. It is based in Istanbul, Turkey. Since its foundation it has been aimed at serving rural and urban communities as well as small and big cities, metropolitan cities and different areas in the aforementioned region, according to the statute of the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments.

Before 2004, UCLG-MEWA was active under the name of IULA-EMME (Section for the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Region) which after the reconstruction of the structure of IULA-EMME organization and its transfer to UCLG, the Western section and the Middle East, was named UCLG-MEWA. Its headquarters in based in Istanbul, Turkey. International cooperation, local governments and sustainable development and democracy are among its fundamental principles.

The geographical region of UCLG-MEWA covers the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The structural organization of UCLG-MEWA which carries out organizational duties is as follows:

1)    General Assembly

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the organization. It has the responsibility for local policy-making, directing and overseeing the organization. The General Assembly hold sessions triennially, and constitutes selected representatives of all members and its decisions would be enforced on the basis of majority votes.

2)    Council

The Council is the principal policy-making body of the Organization. It decides the Organization’s main policies and undertakes implementation of general policies adopted by the General Assembly. The Council comprises the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Treasurer, at least 45 local government members, a political representative of the municipalities of the metropolitan city of Istanbul, selected representatives of the organizations of international local governments and their affiliated members (mayors, deputy members and heads of regional organizations). The Council shall meet once a year upon orders of the Council President or the request of at least one third of the Council members.

3)    Executive Bureau

The Executive Bureau is responsible for initiating proposals and carrying out the decisions of the Council. It is in charge of the Organization’s administrative and financial management.  The Executive Bureau comprises membership of the President, the Vice-President, and the Treasurer, at least 30 members elected by the Organization’s Council, a political representative of the municipality of Metropolitan Istanbul, Secretary General (non-voting), and representatives designated by the member regional organizations. The Executive Bureau shall meet at least once a year and its decisions shall be enforced on the basis of majority votes.

4)    Presidency

The Presidency comprises the President and up to 5 Vice-Presidents. The President is considered the main representative of the Organization and chairs sessions of the General Assembly, the Council and the Executive Bureau. His responsibility is to maintain and perpetuate policies of the Organization in the course between sessions of the Executive Bureau.

5)    Vice-Presidents

The Vice-Presidents shall help the President in solidarity and implementation of his duties and, if necessary, shall play his role.

6)    Treasurer

 The Treasurer is responsible for the oversight of the financial strategy, accounting and management of the Organization’s financial affairs.

7)    Secretary General

The Secretary General is the chief executive officer of the Organization. The Secretary General directs the daily activities and carries out the decisions of the General Assembly, the Council and the Executive Bureau.

B)   Istanbul Mayor Meets Tehran Counterpart

One day before the meeting, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas accompanied by UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman met with Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. They later visited a number of projects in the city of Tehran such as the Sadr-Niyayesh Tunnel, House of the Artists, Abbasabad Heights Renovation Project, Sacred Defence Garden-Museum, Milad Tower and extension of the subway.

The Mayor of Istanbul said urban projects in Tehran are praiseworthy and stressed that Tehran and Istanbul needed to exchange their experiences in the area of urban management and that Tehran should put its experiences at the disposal of other regional cities. He said expansion of cooperation between the two metropolitan cities of Tehran and Istanbul as two major and effective cities in the region is of great importance and underlined the need for convergence of the two cities' positions at international circles. He also called for implementation of a memorandum of understanding between the two cities.

 
C) First Day: Opening Session and Two Specialized Roundtables

·        Opening session

Mayors, urban officials and representatives of more than 15 regional countries participated in the Tehran conference of UCLG-MEWA. After the speech delivered by UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf welcomed the guests and stated: “The future city is a city wherein progress and justice exist together and with the population growth in cities and urbanization we would witness escalation of opportunities and threats.” He termed the meeting as a new opportunity for cooperation and participation through exchange of views and expertise that could enhance communication among regional citizens and provide a better future for the Mediterranean and West Asian nations with a common response to new and growing challenges facing metropolitans. Details of the addresses made by each official come below:

Mehmet Duman, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA while expressing his appreciation to Tehran Municipality for hosting the meeting, presented a report on the activities and progress of the Organization from 2007 up to now and outlined the axes and major policies of the Organization for the next year. He referred to cooperation among regional cities through strengthening local governance as one of the main targets of the Organization.

Ghalibaf pointed to poverty as the main problem of cities and then underlined the critical importance of citizens' health and security. He said mechanisms for reducing urban poverty could prove an effective factor in demonstrating a successful image of good governance. He also noted that the aim of crisis management which has been changed into a strategic principle in local scale for local development is to offer smart responses to the threats ahead, adding that Tehran possesses valuable experiences in this regard which could contribute to a valuable expert information base.

The future Tehran would act on the basis of positive and constructive interaction with UCLG member cities and in this regard development of regional cooperation is included in “our agenda and our main method is to hold joint specialized and academic sessions, exchange experience and joint researches in the area of urban projects." (Full text of the address is attached).

·        Specialized roundtable number one entitled “Local Governance Systems in the Middle East and West Asia” under the chairmanship of Dr. Mohamamd Hadi Ayazi, Deputy Tehran Mayor:

The objective of organizing this roundtable was to familiarize urban managers who participated in the meeting with new components of urban governance in the region and transfer of new technology in this area and exchange of views on urban management.

Ayazi who is Social and Cultural Deputy of Tehran Municipality presented the projects on Tehran’s experience in the field of realization of local governance and local democracy with the participation of Tehran citizens and outlined projects for district council projects and local management from cultural and social perspectives and citizen participation (Full text of the address is attached).

Mehmet Duman, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA, while presenting an introduction to the role of local governance in advancement of the targets of local cities, described development of cooperation among regional member countries and exchange of experience in this regard.

Khaireddin Gon Gore, Secretary General of Association of Turkish Municipalities pointed to the successful experience of Turkish municipalities and importance of exchange of experience in realization of targets of urban management (Full text of the address is attached).

·        Specialized roundtable number two entitled “Crisis Management in the Middle East and West Asia” under the chairmanship of Zeki Toçoğlu Mayor of Sakarya:

The objective of the roundtable was to introduce Tehran’s experience in the field of financial crisis management and exchange of knowledge with the participant officials.

In this roundtable, a brief account was presented by Mehmet Duman on crisis management.

Dr Hossein Mohammad Pourzandi, Administrative and Financial Deputy of Tehran Municipality, presented a report on economic and financial crisis management in local governance. He discussed experiences and activities of Tehran for the development of sustainable resources and enrichment of financial resources of Tehran Municipality. He cited the plan for the launch of City Bank and its implementation throughout the country as the experience of Tehran Municipality for overcoming challenges and shortages of sustainable financial resources (Full text of the address is attached).

·        Following discussions at this roundtable, Zeki Toçoğlu Mayor of Sakarya; Ramazan Yahşi Deputy of the Crisis Management Center of Istanbul; Mohsen Ghafuri Ashtiani from Mashhad Municipality; Mohammad Dayhani from the Association of Municipalities of Iqlim Al Toffah; Mohammad Issa Mayor of Al-Mina in Lebanon; Mehdi Salimzada representative of Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan; Mr. Abbas Rajabi Fard professor of Melbourne University ; and in conclusion Ms Fatemeh Saleh of the Crisis Management Headquarters of Tehran Municipality delivered speeches on the experience of crisis management in their cities (Full texts of addresses are attached).

D) Second Day: Joint Council-Executive Committee Session

* Introduction

The Council which is the principal policy-making body of the Organization and undertakes the responsibility of policy-making and supervision of  implementation and execution of policies of the General Assembly, hands over the agenda of urban management to member cities on an annual basis. The Executive Committee is responsible for presenting proposals and implementing decisions of the Council and this body is responsible for preparing the annual agenda in the field of financial and budgetary affairs and would present it to the General Assembly of the Council for decision making.

The joint session of the Council and the Executive Committee which was the main part of this session was held on the second day of the meeting in the presence of representatives of the City Council, mayors and representatives of UCLG-MEWA member cities. In this session, fourteen cases were included in the agenda in two sections.

·        First section:

The first section of the session which was presided over by Mr Mozaffari, Deputy Tehran Mayor for International Affairs, included the following topics:

-         Presentation of a report by Mehmet Duman, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA on the activities and measures of the Organization from 16 December 2010 up to 24 December 2011 (Further information is available on the Organization’s website at www.uclg-mewa.org).

-         Presentation of a report and balance sheet, definitions, terms and rules and regulations of the Organization by Yakup Koçal, Mayor of Yalova and UCLG-MEWA Treasurer and approval of some of the terms and regulations.

-         Presentation of the agenda for the next session of the Organization.

-         Exchange of views on the structure and composition of present working committees and discussing establishment of some new working committees in conformity with the needs of the member countries in the region.

-         Exchange of views on nomination of some working groups such as capacity building, tourism and sustainable development as the Middle East Working Group.

·        Second section  

In this section which was presided over by İsmail Bayram, the Mayor of Düzce, the participants dealt with the following topics:

-         Reviewing and adopting the Organization’s programs for 2012

-         Reviewing and approving requests of sixteen cities for membership in the Organization, the most important of which included Manama, Baghdad and Istanbul

-         Requesting member cities that have not yet paid their dues and considering discounts for cities not capable of paying their membership fees due to financial weakness

-         Discussing proposals offered by the representatives of member cities on preparation for the Rio+20 session and measures which should be taken in this regard

-         Discussing proposals by Lebanon and Iraq to host the 2013 meeting and announcement of the result by Mehmet Duman, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA

-         Discussing Iraq’s proposal for holding a specialized meeting on local governance and urban management in an effort to help reconstruction of Iraqi cities and improve efficiency and productivity of urban management by concentrating on regional problems

-         Discussing a proposal for formation of a special committee on the environment in an effort to solve the crisis of environmental problems as well as the sand storm that has polluted southern and central cities of Iran and even Tehran. This issue received agreement of the members and it was decided to be included in the agenda of 2012.

 

UCLG-MEWA

EXECUTIVE BUREAU & COUNCIL JOINT MEETING

 
24-25 December 2011

ESPINAS HOTEL, TEHRAN, IRAN

DRAFT PROGRAM

23 December 2011, Friday
Arrival of participants in Tehran
Dinner

 24 December 2011, Saturday
09:30 – 10:00          Opening Session
Speeches by: Mehmet DUMAN, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General
                      Dr. Mohammad Baqer QALIBAF, Mayor of Tehran, UCLG-MEWA Co-President
                      Dr. Kadir TOPBAŞ, Mayor of Istanbul, UCLG President
10:30 – 13:00            Topical Roundtable 1:
“STUDY ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS IN THE MEWA REGION”    
(Chaired by Dr. Mohammad Baqer QALIBAF, Mayor of Tehran and UCLG-MEWA Co-President)

10:00 – 10:30             STUDY ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS IN THE MEWA REGION: Presentation of the Working Document
by Sadun EMREALP, UCLG-MEWA Former Deputy Secretary General, Turkey

10:30 – 10:50              Break

10:50 – 11:10              LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN IRAN: Presentation
by Dr. Seyed Mohammad PEZHMAN,  Mayor of Mashhad, Iran

11:10 – 11:30               LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN TURKEY: Presentation
by Hayrettin GÜNGÖR, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Turkey                    

11:30 – 11:50                LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN THE ARAB COUNTRIES: Presentation
by Ghassan SAMMAN, Arab Towns Organization (ATO), Head of Media and International Relations, Kuwait

11:50 – 13:00                General Debate and Closing

13:00 – 14:30                Lunch

14:30                             Topical Roundtable 2:
“CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE MEWA REGION”
(Chaired by UCLG-MEWA Co-President)

14:30 – 14:50                CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE MEWA REGION: Presentation
by Dr.Mohsen Ghafouri ASHTIANI, Mashhad Municipality, Chief Advisor, Iran

14:50 – 15:10                CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN ISTANBUL: Presentation
by Ramazan YAHŞİ, Deputy Director of Istanbul Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM), Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Turkey

15:10 – 16:00                 Break

16:00 – 16:20                 CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN TEHRAN: Presentation

16:20 – 16:40                 CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE ARAB COUNTRIES: Presentation
by Dr. Mohammad Sami DEHAINI, President of the Union of Municipalities of Iqleemel-tufah, Lebanon

16:40 – 17:30                 General Debate and Closing
Dinner

25 December 2011, Sunday
09:00 – 12:00                UCLG-MEWA EXECUTIVE BUREAU AND COUNCIL
JOINT MEETING

12:00 – 13:30                Lunch

13:30 – 18:00                Tehran City Tour (Technical)
Dinner

26 December 2011, Monday
09:00 – 13:00               Tehran City Tour (Touristic)
Departure of participants from Tehran


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