INTA at the16th General Assembly of the Arab Town Organisation, Doha, Qatar
INTA was invited to the 16th General Assembly of the Arab Town Organisation hosted by the municipality of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Over 800 delegates from 21 Arab countries listen and debates on Cities and the Challenges of sustainable development. Several speakers, and reports either from the Arab Forum for Environmental Development (AFED) or the UN Economic and Social Council for Western Asia (ESCWA), underlined the fragility of Arab societies, the urban challenge they face and the difficulty to implement coherent and integrated policies at local levels. A diagnosis close to the one described in a recent Guidance Framework for Euro-Mediterranean Cities prepared by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) with the contribution of INTA.
Two lines of thinking were dividing the debates: one considering that sustainable progress is a result of comprehensive planning, better infrastructure and technical improvement in the management of cities; the other line considered that progress results from a change of individual behaviour leading to more collective responsibility. A debate that is not exclusive to the Arab Cities.
Networking was the name of the game: useful contacts were made with Constantine, Tunis, Tripoli, Gaza, Amman, Kuwait, Doha, and Manama.
On their way to Doha, the Secretary General of INTA, and the Chairperson of the Community of Competence TransMed were received at the Ministry of Works of Bahrain by the Undersecretary, Directors of the Ministry, and the Director of Planning of the municipality of Manama. Membership and activities in Bahrain were explored in a constructive and friendly ambience.