The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) will hold the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on "Urban Governance and the Millennium Development Goals: Towards Implementing MDGs' Target 11 'Equitable Cities'" in Kuwait City from 10 to 12 December 2007 in cooperation with the Technical Secretariat of the Arab Council of Ministers for Social Affairs/Development and Social Policies Division/General Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS), Arab Towns Organization (ATO), the Kuwaiti Office of the Minister of State for Municipality Affairs and all related governmental institutions in Kuwait.
The EGM on "Urban Governance and the Millennium Development Goals" is the first regional activity organized by UNESCWA to follow-up on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Arab countries, specifically in the urban areas, in order to achieve Target 11: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers of MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability and Target 13: Address the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing States of Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development.
The EGM on "Urban Governance and the Millennium Development Goals" aims to:
1) Generate knowledge consensus on urban governance in the Arab countries and how it contributes to the developmental role of cities;
2) Urge the UNESCWA member countries to evaluate what has been done so far towards alleviating urban poverty -2000 till 2007- in the context of implementing the MDGs, specifically Target 11 of MDG 7;
3) Shed light on MDGs in the Arab countries in an attempt to establish consensus on the significance and necessity of partnerships among governments, local authorities, civil society, private sector and the media;
4) Establish dialogue and exchange regional and international experiences about means and mechanisms of implementing the MDGs, specifically Target 11 in the urban areas; and,
5) Exchange lessons learned at the international and regional levels on governance and urban governance to counter urban inequities and its socio-economic effects.
The EGM on "Urban Governance and the Millennium Development Goals" is expected to deliver two main outcomes:
1) Identifying factors that support the activation of good urban governance components in the Arab countries in order to investigate challenges to the gradual implementation of Target 11 and to identify the principal conceptual approaches to support governments and their development partners in devising city policies related to reducing urban poverty and its threat to secure tenure and social stability; and,
Discussing a draft document of the Set of Regional Indicators on implementing Target 11 of the MDGs in the Arab Countries, relative to the cross-referencing between the mechanisms and indicators of monitoring local governance and those of monitoring Target 11 in cities and urban areas. As an awaited main outcome of the EGM, the Set of Regional Indicators on implementing Target 11 of the MDGs in the Arab Countries represents a major move towards identifying regional-specific indicators for the Arab