A delegated cooperation agreement between the EU and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Development Cooperation) for the upgrading of informal areas in Greater Cairo was signed on 28 August 2012.
With an EU contribution of € 20 mio the Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas (PDP) will over the coming four years upgrade four informal areas in Cairo and Giza Governorates in partnership with their local administrations, improving the living conditions of an estimated 1.9 mio local residents.
As a result of the EU co-financing the PDP has become the biggest technical cooperation programme in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region implemented by the GIZ.
Increasing pressures on local administration
Kai Böckmann, the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy Cairo said: “This financial contribution is a great opportunity for the programme to build on previous experiences and increase its common impacts.”
Prior to the Egyptian Revolution, residents of informal areas largely avoided contact with local government authorities. Now, in the wake of the political changes, many residents expect quick improvements to their living situation. This increases the pressure both on local administration and community-based organisations which for the most part lack the resources and capacities to respond to the needs of people.
“A window of opportunity”
Maria Schäfer, Director General of the Mediterranean Region, Europe, Central Asian Countries at GIZ said: “The change process in the Arab world opens a ‘window of opportunity’ for needed reform processes. GIZ considers urban development as the vital engine for development strategies and as one very important element to develop and support democratic progress. Thus, GIZ is very keen to support the governmental actors involved in urban development in becoming a strategic actor and key agent for development initiatives to ensure adequate service delivery and improved living conditions for their citizens.”
The key to the programme’s success is that not only local authorities, civil society organisations and the private sector are involved, but crucially also local residents themselves, who generally know best what their neighbourhoods’ development needs are. The PDP has over the years developed many participatory urban development tools that are applied in the upcoming phase.
The four areas specified in the cooperation agreement between the EU and GIZ are Ezbet El-Nasr and Ain Shams in Cairo Governorate and Masaken Geziret El-Dahab and Hekr Ibli/Warraq in Giza Governorate. The areas were selected by the Urban Upgrading Units of Cairo and Giza.
EU Ambassador James Moran with Maria Schäfer (GIZ) signing the cooperation agreement.