Syria State of the Cities Report
Actual Completion Date
Syrian Arab Republic
The 10th Five-Year Plan for Syria envisions urban areas that are stronger, more self-reliant, and able to take on greater decision-making responsibilities. Yet to satisfy these expectations, municipalities require better information on the problems they face, better benchmarks against which to measure success, and comparisons by which to gauge their competitive position – none of which are readily available. In order to address this problem, the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration (MLA) decided to engage in a State of the Cities Report (SoCR). The preparatory phase of the project has already been completed, with a goal of reaching full commitment to the SoCR process and a high level of awareness of its outcomes.
The goal of the State of the Cities Report (SoCR) is a bottom-up vision of key issues faced by Syrian cities, and their potential solutions. The objectives include: 1.) Documentation of the situation of cities in key areas, including (a) urban planning, (b) local economic development, (c) income and urban poverty, (d) informal sector and labour markets, (e) physical environment and spatial development, (f) urban service delivery, (g) urban finance, and (h) municipal governance and administration. 2.) Development of baseline indicators against which future progress will be monitored 3.) Establishing benchmarks against which to compare the performance of cities 4.) Building a capacity for cooperation and dialogue among cities in Syria and between cities in Syria and Arab cities in the Middle East and internationally 5.) Providing policy input to the 11th Five-Year Plan for Syria
Key elements of the Implementation Phase include: 1.) City conference; 2.) South-South collaboration on SoCR; 3.) Two Planning and Programming Workshops for SoCR Cities; 4.) Assessment and Development for 16 Cities; 5.) Two Planning and Programming Workshops with National Stakeholders; 6.) Data and Indicator Development; 7.) Survey Data; 8.) Case Study Material Collection; 9) Drafting, Review Process, Editing, Layout Design, Production and Printing
Expected Impacts and Results
1) A first State of the Cities Report to generate awareness of urban problems and to contribute to policy discussions among professional planners, city officials and the academic community. 2) Contributions of the formulation of the 11th Five-Year Plan for Syria, both through the Draft and Final Report and the issue and policy papers that precede it. 3) The regularisation of a Mayor's Platform (Multaqa) as a means for urban exchange, knowledge transfer, and awareness raising. 4) An Urban e-Platform for communication among mayors, and between cities and other institutions including international, national and local urban organisations, central government ministries, community organisations and the private sector. The outcome and impact of the SoCR process is potentially far reaching, including increased knowledge sharing, awareness of best practices, participation in a national and international debate on urban policies, and strengthening of urban institutions. This in turn contributes to national policy goals related to decentralisation, urban fiscal reform, a more efficient municipal administration, and eventually greater competitiveness and economic development.