The First UfM Working Group on Urban Development Meeting held at the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfMS) on 16 March 2011, reflected the strong support of the representatives of institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Marseille Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) for the Secretariat, and the belief that the latter should have a center role in all urban development related activities, policies and networks.
The UfMS can be mediator to all of the different stakeholders. The UfMS however, needs clear authority to proceed in its endeavour. Therefore, the necessity to give the UfMS clear mandate on the specific areas and identify the policies was stressed, hopes being placed on the next Ministerial Meeting on Urban Development to be held in the coming months. This would facilitate the presentation of urban development projects by the local and regional authorities.
Regarding pre-assessment criteria, the issues discussed were the objectives, the conditions required to launch the projects, the approach, quality project management and financial sustainability. In addition, issues such as the importance of focusing rural development and preserving natural areas on new durable urban projects to create local jobs; of prolonging the life of disadvantaged and poor communities especially taking into account the present situation in certain regions; of developing transport without carbon and of focusing on the economic aspect of urban development to achieve more with less resources.