UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr Joan Clos and UfM Deputy Secretary General for Transport and Urban Development Ambassador Yigit Alpogan signed a Memorandum of Understanding to undertake joint actions for an integrated approach to socially and environmentally sustainable urban development. Both parties agreed to find common responses to the pressing challenges facing urban areas in the Mediterranean region and have identified several areas of collaboration with special regard to water management, risk reduction and resilience.

“The effects of climate change and the phenomenal shift towards urbanisation – 6 out of every 10 people in the world are expected to reside in urban areas by 2030 – are already being felt and are bound to intensify in the coming years. There is thus a need to mobilise all actors, national governments, local authorities, academia, businesses and citizens, to ensure that the growth of cities and urban areas is turned into opportunities,” said UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr Joan Clos.“The UfM has a central role in furthering these goals in the Mediterranean region.”

UfM Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alpogan said: “The Mediterranean region is in the middle of a strong spatial transformation linked to population growth, widespread urbanisation and deep changes in its political, social and economic model. This transformation is particularly felt in its cities, which are also confronted with new environmental impacts. In response to these challenges, and with the ultimate aim of improving the liveability of Mediterranean urban areas, the UfM actively promotes sustainable urban development in the region following an integrated and cooperative approach, as well as regionally-applicable solutions, focusing on youth as a key driver for stability in the region.”

The two organisations look forward to developing strategies, initiatives and projects within the member countries of the UfM to promote an integrated and cooperative approach to urban development which includes resilience and disaster risk reduction as well as environmental management. Cooperation would also involve the existing Urban Projects Finance Initiative (UPFI) and supporting capacity-building activities in the region.

About the UfM

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together 43 countries: 28 EU member states and 15 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. It provides a platform for political dialogue, coordination, and regional cooperation.

The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, established in Barcelona in 2010, focuses on enhancing regional cooperation and integration through the implementation of regional cooperation projects and initiatives. The Secretariat has developed and accelerated the implementation of new regional projects that are key socio-economic and strategic drivers: more than 40 regional labelled projects worth over €5 billion in areas including inclusive growth, youth employability, women’s empowerment, promotion of student mobility, integrated urban development and sustainable development. The Secretariat works in close collaboration with government agencies and an active network of Euro-Mediterranean partners to assist project promoters throughout the entire project cycle, from technical assistance to project implementation, as well as financial planning and fundraising.