On 20 January 2015, a delegation from UCLG-MEWA, composed of Mr. Mehmet DUMAN, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA, Ms. Randa AL SABBAGH, Project Officer, and Mr Süleyman SÜRAT from the Foreign Relations Department of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, paid a visit to the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The General Director of the Strategic Urban Department, Mr. Ahmed M. ASSUBAIL, welcomed the UCLG-MEWA delegation.
During the meeting, Mr. DUMAN presented both UCLG and UCLG-MEWA and their activities through several publications, and invited Mr. Ahmed M. ASSUBAIL to cooperate, aiming to strengthen the network of municipalities in the MEWA region, and that of Saudi municipalities.
Ms. Randa AL SABBAGH presented the UCLG and UCLG-MEWA Committees, notably the Committee on Smart Cities, which was established during the UCLG-MEWA Executive Bureau and Council Joint meeting in Adana on 19 December 2014. Ms. AL SABBAGH proposed they participate in the activities of the Committee, and invited them to the first Committee meeting in Konya, Turkey.
Mr. ASSUBAIL highlighted the importance of local authorities in the MEWA region and stressed the role of the Turkish municipalities, which showed good results on the ground over the past few years.
The Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality.
Later, the UCLG-MEWA delegation visited the Ambassador of Turkey in Riyadh, Mr. Yunus DEMIRER, and requested his support to promote the activities of UCLG-MEWA in Saudi Arabia. The meeting ended with the presentation of a plaque to Mr. DEMIRER by Mr. DUMAN.
Finally, the Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA and his team paid a visit to the Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI) and met with the President of the Institute, Mr. Abdullah Al-Ali AL-NUAIM. They submitted the publications of UCLG-MEWA, asking for his support to bring the Saudi municipalities under the umbrella of UCLG-MEWA.
Another meeting also took place in AUDI, with Mr. Abdullah ALSUBAIL, the Deputy Director General, Mr. Abdulsalam W. ALSULAIMAN, Director of the Child and Youth Programme, and Mrs. Nuha ELTINAY, Director of Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, who presented their activities, programmes and the subjects they are focusing on as projects. Mr. Abdullah ALSUBAIL added that AUDI wished to cooperate with UCLG-MEWA on the development of the cities in the MEWA region, in particular Arab cities, which should take advantage of the experiences of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality over the past 10 years.