The third International Forum of Medinas, organized by the Network of Mediterranean Medinas, which is chaired and coordinated by 8 Moroccan cities, was held in Tanger between the 24 and 26 of April 2014 in partnership with UCLG. This third edition, gathering international organizations, political representatives, local and regional governments from 32 different countries, engaged the discussion on the theme "Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development".
"I have not discovered very much, but at least I am now convinced that Tangier is a place where the past and the present exist simultaneously in proportional degree, where a very much alive today is given an added depth of reality by the presence of an equally alive yesterday" Paul Bowles, Tangier 1958
The main objective of this meeting was to promote mutual enrichment through Arabic, African, Mediterranean and transcontinental experiences. The exchanges were structured into several workshops and roundtables, each focusing on different aspects of the theme. UCLG had the pleasure to co-organize the third roundtable, highlighting the specificities and challenges for heritage in Intermediary Cities. UCLGAfrica also coordinated a roundtable on heritage in African cities.
UCLG as “network of networks”, brought relevant experiences of cities and institutions to the discussion so that they could exchange realities and contexts on heritage and the challenges in Intermediary Cities as well as the contributions of networks and institutions linked to UCLG. The floor was given to the city representative from San Luis (Senegal), Pasto (Colombia), Lille (France) and Chefchaouen (Morocco) who presented the opportunities and management challenges related to heritage,and reaffirmed their commitment towards cultural assets as a key for development. The four invited institutions – ILO, AN-Patrimoine, the University of Minho, the UNESCO Chair of Lleida– intervened to foster the debate and open the discussion to provide connection points for the Medina network.
This exchange of visions and experiences allowed participants to underline the necessity of contextual understanding, such as: the adaptation of French urban heritage law over the past 60 years, the role of universities in supporting networks and knowledge through interdisciplinary work, the emphasis on expanding the concept of medinas and tradition, social and cultural expressions, and working relations on the market management.
The 3rd International Forum of Medinas showcased new options of networks driven by southern cities. UCLG is supportive towards the engagement and dynamism that inspires partners and other networks to associate with the cities that serve as connecting points. It is evident that heritage is a key for local identity and consensus, development and locally rooted leadership.