Through the European Union's (EU) initiative "EU co-operation with cities and local authorities in third countries", the EU is aiming to help foster sustainable and inclusive growth in urban areas of Egypt. The initiative focuses on enhancing the livability and resilience of urban communities by addressing key challenges such as infrastructure development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. By promoting inclusive policies and fostering collaboration between local authorities, civil society, and the private sector, the project seeks to create vibrant, equitable, and resilient urban spaces that improve the quality of life for all residents.
Egypt is expected to have a total population of 128 million by 2050, making it the most populated country in the Arab world and the third most populous country on the African continent after Nigeria (196 million in 2018) and Ethiopia (107 million). Even though Egyptians have upgraded their human capital, poorly designed or implemented social policies, and inadequacy of public service provision have failed to protect them from negative shocks: 32.5% were living below the poverty line in 2019.
Furthermore, about 95% of the 95 million residents lived on only 6.8% of the total land area of the country, along the banks of the Nile River, in the Nile Delta, and along the Suez Canal. In addition to high population growth rate and density, Egypt is also facing unprecedented urban expansion: in 2017, urban population was 43.3%, with the Greater Cairo Region reaching 22 million residents. Unplanned urban expansion coupled with unbalanced regional development across Egypt has led to the migration of millions of Egyptians from rural to urban areas.
To help address this, the EU—in line with the ‘New European Consensus on Development (ECD), and the 2015 European Neighborhood Policy Review’—aims to propose action which will contribute to empowering cities and local authorities to successfully meet and achieve the sustainable development goals of ‘Egypt's Sustainable Development Strategy – Vision 2030’.
This project focuses on implementing an integrated approach to urban development, with a specific focus on urban governance at various levels of administration and between different actors; the social dimension of urban development through inclusive and safe cities in order to better address urban poverty, inequalities, food insecurity, malnutrition, forced displacement, migration and social exclusion; green and resilient cities; prosperous and innovative cities with a focus on sustainable growth and job creation. Building on these commitments, the action aims to promote inclusion and social cohesion of the
residents of less advantaged urban areas through leveraging place value and enhancing accessibility to infrastructure and urban services.
The overall objective of the project is to improve living conditions of the residents of the less advantaged areas in Giza, Mansoura, and Port Said. Expected outcomes are:
Outcome 1: National and local decision-makers as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have implemented sustainable, integrated and participatory urban development instruments in the targeted areas.
- Output 1.1: Strengthens local stakeholders’ capacities for integrated urban management participatory tools and climate change adaptation are strengthened.
- Output 1.2: Increase opportunities for residents, especially the youth, women and less advantaged groups, to participate in the planning and implementation of measures for urban development.
- Output 1.3: A policy framework for the integration of the less advantaged urban areas is developed, including climate change adaptation strategies at local level.
Outcome 2: The residents, especially the youth, women, and the less advantaged groups, have increased their uptake of upgraded, safe, and sustainable basic socio-economic services and infrastructure in the targeted areas.
- Output 2.1: Basic and socio-economic services and infrastructure measures are made available according to the identified needs of the residents of the targeted areas.
- Output 2.2: Climate change adaptation and environmental measures are implemented according to the identified needs of the residents of the targeted cities.
- Output 2.3: Increase capacity of CSOs to deliver improved, safe, and sustainable basic socio-economic services and infrastructure to the target group.
Outcome 3: The residents of the targeted areas, especially the youth, women, and the less advantaged groups, have improved their income and labor market participation.
- Output 3.1: Decent work and livelihood opportunities increase in the targeted areas.
- Output 3.2: Social and environmental entrepreneurship skills are enhanced.
Some of the project’s strategies include:
- Enhancing the capacities of local administration staff on governorate and district level as well as relevant governmental partners on planning, implementing and maintaining technical and social infrastructure as well as adaptation to climate change.
- Introducing and raising awareness on participatory planning instruments towards national and local decision makers; application of effective measures to particularly consider vulnerable groups and their needs.
- Develop an integrated urban governance to systemize urban management on the local level that focusses on the social cohesion and inclusion of the less advantaged urban areas (informal settlements and public housing).
- Carry out assessment studies on challenges in target areas to increase resilience to climate change; handling the full implementation cycle including detailed designs, tendering, supervision of construction sites and handover to responsible authorities.
- Mapping of local economic activities, socio-economic opportunities and hotspots within the targeted areas to understand drivers and impacts and to identify main areas of support.