Upgrading Informal Areas Infrastructures/ Participatory Infrastructure Project (PIP) Closing event
Ambassador Christian Berger,
Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt
Dear Governors, dear Representatives of the Ministries, dear Ambassador Frank Hartman, dear Tobias Gerlach, Representatives of civil society organisations and communities, ladies & gentlemen,
Congratulation on the successful conclusion of the Participatory Infrastructure Programme, a follow-up of the Participatory Development Programme. This programme has had very tangible results with a concrete positive impact on the well-being of the residents of informal urban areas in the Cairo, Giza and Qalyubeya Governorates.
We had the privilege of witnessing this first hand in many visits to these areas and in conversations with the local population who expressed gratitude and appreciation for the work done.
Today’s event brings to an end ten years of continuous cooperation between the EU, Germany and Egypt in this sector. The programme consisted of three components: 1. Upgrading infrastructures and basic services in the selected informal areas (schools, health centres, youth centres, wastewater network, roads, one public space and one fish market); 2. Strengthening local civil society, in particular in service provision; 3. Support line institutions in planning processes in urban and local development in informal areas.
Both programmes worked with the Government (Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Fund), the Governorates, the local administration and the communities to develop Local Areas Development Plans (LADPs) for nine neighbourhoods, including an analysis of the needs in terms of living conditions and basic services, and a list of potential projects responding to the identified issues.
The programmes designed and applied a participatory approach, using extensive surveys and feedback gathering with the residents.
Urban development remains very important for the EU in Egypt, as shown by EU funded cooperation with EUR 100 million of current programmes. We are very well aware that needs remain substantial. Basic services are in need for upgrading of infrastructure and further investments. This included the ambitious Government reforms in education and health which will need to be implemented at local level in schools and health centres; and will need resources.
This programme has set an example and paved the way for more action:
* it has designed Local Areas Development Plans in a genuine participatory manner, with direct involvement of residents;
* it has started the implementation of these plans with infrastructure works;
* it has reinforced the capacities of line institutions in the planning process;
* and it has provided support to local civil society organisations, making use of their first-hand knowledge of the neighbourhoods.
This should not stop today. We need concerted efforts to continue and expand this work. This requires: dedicated funds; and concerted work between the many involved institutions, at central and local level, and the donors, so that design and approval processes can be carried out in a smooth manner.
The EU is ready to consider new opportunities for assistance, in an integrated manner, including long-term economic perspectives for the informal neighbourhoods and the residents, for instance through SMEs, short-term vocational training and employability. It goes without saying that women empowerment and inclusiveness will be key elements.
Cooperation with institutions remains essential, including support to reinforce local planning processes and to institutionalise participation of the communities.
In short, and building on the success of this project, your success, the EU would like to continue providing assistance to informal areas, focussing more on the long-term socio-economic development of the residents and to widen support to civil society, besides improvement of basic services. We are looking now too top up with EUR 3.5 m programmes we run with AFD and MSMEDA, and possibly new programmes in support to Haya Karima - to be announced soon.