Municipal Finance | Urbanization Knowledge Platform | Participatory Governance
Thu, 2014-06-19
Launch event for "Municipal Finances: A Handbook for Local Governments" on June 19 3pm EST
Municipal Finance | Urbanization Knowledge Platform | Participatory Governance
Thu, 2014-06-19
Launch event for "Municipal Finances: A Handbook for Local Governments" on June 19 3pm EST
Municipal Finance | Urbanization Knowledge Platform | Participatory Governance
Thu, 2014-06-19
Launch event for "Municipal Finances: A Handbook for Local Governments" on June 19 3pm EST

Why Does City Resilience Matter? Interviews with Decision-Makers and Experts from MENA Region and Beyond


The MENA Urbanization Knowledge Platform (MENA UKP) team is proud to launch a series of six video blogs on the resilience of cities in MENA and beyond.

These interviews see city leaders, decision-makers, development experts, academics, private sector representatives, from the MENA region and beyond, reflect on the rising concern of urban risk management. They share their views on challenges they face and successful measures taken to enhance the resilience of their cities.

The interviews were conducted during the UKP high-level workshop “Increasing the Resilience of Cities: What Can City Leaders Learn From International Experience?” organized by the World Bank in Marseille in May 2014, in partnership with the CMI, the Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).


Dismantling Mediterranean Myths: Are there “Islamic High Fertility Laws”?

“Dismantling Mediterranean Myths” is the Center for Mediterranean Integration’s new blog series. Using facts and statistics, it confronts misconceptions about the region. By opening up barriers, the series hopes to reframe, refresh and advance the thinking on Mediterranean issues.

The inaugural issue focuses on the myth of “Islamic Fertility” and is based on a contribution by Youssef Courbage, Research Director of the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) in Paris.


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Report: Poor policies Restrain Growth in Seven Middle East & North Africa Countries

Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya are trapped in a “poor policy – poor growth” cycle, which prevents their economies from moving to a sustainable growth path, says the World Bank in the newly released Quarterly Economic Brief for the Middle East & North Africa region.

The report, titled “Predictions, Perceptions and Economic Reality - Challenges of Seven Middle East and North Africa Countries Described in 14 Charts,” finds that the situation has gotten worse after the 2011 uprisings. Despite recent signs of economic improvement in Egypt and Tunisia, growth continues to be weak and cannot generate enough jobs. Fiscal deficits are still high and public debts are growing at a faster pace than before, leaving little space for growth-promoting investment. Private sector activity is sluggish, and the few jobs that are created in the public sector are filled through connections, leaving young people frustrated. Many workers move to the informal sector, creating a large, vulnerable group exposed to external shocks.

Mismanagement of Solid Waste Has an Environmental Cost and there are Concrete Opportunities for Reducing It

Beirut, Rabat and Tunis:  New studies evaluate the cost of environmental degradation due to solid waste mismanagement

*Hervé Lévite

Solid Waste Management is a Priority

“Solid waste management is a priority in the Mediterranean region”, so said the last joint Horizon 2020 report of the European Environment Agency and UNEP/MAP (May 2014).  Better managing solid waste is indeed essential for human wellbeing, control of health risks, limitation of Green House Gases and air pollution. It would also help solving the mounting problem of marine litter. According to data by SWEEP-NET, a regional network created by GIZ in 2009, which gathers information and helps national agencies promote best practices in solid waste management, the situation in the region has been deteriorating over the past 4 years with a 20% increase of non-collected waste and a 5.5 % increase of   unsoundly disposal of waste. Numerous reasons are behind these difficulties: high rate of urbanization and changes in the way of life leading to increased waste generation (around 2% per year),  low tax recovery level implying feeble investment efforts, and lastly political instability after the Arab spring making public decisions hesitant in   contracting private sector operators. 

This mismanagement of solid waste also translates in real cost for society. In the 90’s the World Bank was pioneer in supporting evaluations of the cost of environmental degradation (COED) and in 2010 a World Bank report  described the history of COED in Middle East and North Africa.

Live Discussion on the Untapped Potential for Economic Integration in the Levant

Join us for a lively discussion from the Regional Conference on Economic Integration in Beirut on the findings and recommendations of the World Bank study “Over the Horizon: A New Levant.”

Representatives from the private sector in the Levant will discuss the potentials for and barriers to deeper regional integration in goods and services trade. Key questions that will be addressed: Where are the untapped potentials for regional integration, and in which sectors? How can Levant economies benefit from complementarities and competitiveness through regional trade integration? What are the behind-the-border barriers? And what are the suggested policies/actions to remove these barriers in the short and long-term?

Participating in the discussion will be ministers of trade and economy, governors of central banks, representatives of chambers from Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian Territories as well as entrepreneurs, think tanks, and academics.

Take the Poll! MENA Citizens Living Abroad: How Would You Like to Contribute to the Economic Development of Your Country of Origin?


The MENA integration team at the World Bank is reaching out to MENA citizens living abroad to get their views of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) citizens living abroad on how they would like to contribute to the economic development of their country of origin. The findings from this survey will provide a better understanding of the MENA diaspora contributions to their countries of origin for the purposes of informing the World Bank, development partners, and governments on policies and programs that can enhance the development benefits of migration and diaspora.

Many countries have seen the development of some sectors thanks to the return of their diaspora to home countries or strong links between diaspora and professionals in home countries (e.g. India, Chile, Ireland, etc.). Despite a number of publications on the role of diaspora in several countries and case studies, very little is known on the role of the diaspora in MENA countries.

The survey questionnaire is structured around six main sections, following the outline below. Please complete all the questions to provide us with a comprehensive picture.

Section I. General Information
Section II. General Engagement of MENA citizens living abroad
Section III. Investment Opportunities
Section IV. Trade Opportunities
Section V. Skills Transfers
Section VI. Role of the Government and Development Institutions

The data in this study will be kept confidential. The information you provide will be kept confidential and will not be shared with any commercial or other parties. There will be no individual attribution to any survey response. You are free to participate in this study or withdraw at any time.

At the end of this survey you will be invited, if you wish so, to submit your name and email address as an entry in the drawing for a free iPad and to get the results of the analysis.

Take the poll:



Thank you for your participation!


Welcoming Migrants: Planning for Inclusion

By Casey Weston*

Living in Marseille should give those of us working at the Center for Mediterranean Integration a unique perspective on the MENA region; after all, 20% of Marseille’s population is foreign-born, including many immigrants from MENA. In my particular neighborhood, tagines are more popular than ratatouilles, and “Salaam” more commonly heard than “Bonjour.” I recently stepped out of my quartier, however, to don my urban planning hat and visit a famous edifice in Marseille’s posh south side designed by urban planning visionary, Le Corbusier. From the building’s rooftop, I could see the legacy of Le Corbusier’s design aesthetic looming in the distance: large public housing towers surrounded by ample green space but relegated to foothills far afoot from most public transportation, most jobs, and the vibrant city center. Unfortunately, this type of designed exclusion is not unique to public housing residents; it also greets many migrants when they first arrive in their destination cities.

Welcoming Migrants: Cities offer a Beacon of Hope

By Manjula Luthria*

When US-born 24-year old aspiring physician Ms. Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America in September last year, she inspired a celebration of beauty, brains, ambition and America’s diversity. At the same time twitter exploded with angry tweets protesting the crowning of a “foreigner, terrorist, Miss 7-11.” In January this year, the annual Superbowl event featured a one-minute Coca Cola advertisement featuring children and adults from all walks of life – mostly immigrants - across the country, singing "America the Beautiful" in multiple languages. The advertisement sparked outrage with detractors swearing to never buy a coke product again, and supporters calling these people xenophobic and bonkers. In February this year, the Swiss - known for their inherent language diversity with German, French and Italian spoken in different parts of the country -  held a referendum to impose quotas on the movement of people between the EU and Switzerland which won by a narrow margin. And last week’s European Parliament elections showered gains on euro-skeptic and anti-immigration parties.

To those of us who work on migration, events like the above pose a mystery.

Ten Years after Morocco’s Family Code Reforms: Are Gender Gaps Closing?


By Paul Scott Prettitore*

Family Code Reforms Set Grounds for Gender Equality 

In 2004, the Government of Morocco made major amendments to its Family Code, known as the Moudawana.  These reforms addressed two key aspects of gender inequality.  The first was that husbands and wives were provided ‘joint responsibility’ in family matters, making both de jure heads of household.  This could support women’s increased influence in household decision-making. The second was that women were no longer required to be obedient to their husbands. Obedience had been used as a justification for husbands to, among other things, forbid wives from working, traveling, controlling their own incomes and acquiring economic assets.  The reforms also introduced some degree of flexibility in applying traditional views of rights and responsibilities of men and women within the family. For example, married couples can opt now to conclude contracts covering the management of economic assets linked to marriage, allowing for greater equality in control of assets.  Men, however, remain legally obligated to provide financial maintenance to the family, which is often cited as justification for head-of-household status.