The Forth Regional Workshop for the Arab World On "Assessing the Feasibility of Applying a Global Definition of Cites and Urban and Rural Areas in Support of Global Monitoring of SDGs and New Urban Plan Targets"
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Sunday, March 24, 2019

AITRS, represented by the demographic expert, Dr. Issa Masarweh participated in this meeting that has been held in Cairo, Egypt during the period 18-21 March, 2019.  The event organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Program "UN-Habitat" in collaboration with the European Union, OECD, ESCWA and FAO. The global definition of cities/urban/rural has been adopted in the 50th Session of UN Statistical Commission in March, 2019 and will be revisited again in the 51st Session of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2020.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the statistical agencies and related ministries and institutions in 13 Arab countries with nine countries ab. The consensus on universal definition of cities and urban and rural areas is necessary to measure indicators of SDGs, particularly those relating to goal number 11. In addition to technical presentations from the experts and organizers, the meeting included presentations from the participants about their practices regarding the definitions they use for their countries as well five working groups to provide views on the opportunities and challenges associated with the application of the proposed global definition of cities and urban and rural areas.

The deliberations in which AITRS representative actively participated, revealed a discrepancy between the Arab countries in their definition of cities and urban and rural areas, which would impede reaching at harmonized definitions and constitute a challenge to Kyoto Declaration and Plan of 2016 and to the implementation of the New Urban Plan and 2030 Arab Strategy for Housing and Sustainable Urban Development of the Arab League.

The meeting has been concluded with a draft report and recommendations to be sent later to the participants among which is the request to AITRS for organizing a training workshop on the use of space/satellite techniques and software to identify and categorize cities and urban and rural areas sometime after the 51st Session of the UN Statistical Commission. For this purpose, AITRS representative met with the following experts:

  1. Lewis Dijkstra – Head of Economic Analysis Sector / Policy Development and Economic Analysis / General Directorate for Regional and Urban Policy – European Commission.
  2. Lukas Kleine-Rueschkamp – Economist/Policy Analyst / OECD
  3. Christina Corbane – Senior Researcher / European Commission.

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