31 May 2016

Sustainable Urban Transport Community of Practice: introduction

the field of transport, as in many other sectors, there is a real need for exchange across the Mediterranean. Regional meetings are always appreciated, but participants regularly express their difficulty in cultivating relationships and maintaining contacts. Even if seminars are very useful and let people meet experts and learn about new practices in urban transport and mobility, it is always difficult to go deep into topics and projects and assess their potential transferability.

A Community of Practice to organize and promote the knowledge sharing

The main purpose of the Community of Practice (CoP) for Sustainable Urban Transport is organizing the knowledge sharing and enabling the exchange between experts in order to facilitate the joint development of solutions for an integrated and sustainable urban transport in Middle-East and North-Africa countries.

The “communities of practice” are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of interest. In pursuing their interest in the domain, members participate in activities and joint discussions and share knowledge, experience and information that can be useful for the transportation community in Mediterranean cities. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other; they care about their standing with each other. Members of a community of practice are practitioners, researchers, consultants, operators, users and decision makers who trade each on current issues with his views and his wealth of experience. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools and resources to inspire new solutions to recurring problems.

A Community deriving from the CMI program on Sustainable Urban Transport

The activity will leverage on the several events and activities realized since 2010 under the CMI program on Sustainable Urban Transport led by AFD, CODATU and CEREMA, and their related outcomes, including analytical and synthesis reports, training materials, and policy papers developed at national workshops, which together generated a unique network of policy- and decision-makers as well as managers of public transport systems in the Mediterranean. The Sustainable Urban Transport program aims to support policy making for devising and implementing integrated public transport systems as a key component of urban and territorial development.

The CoP will help in monitoring careers of decision-makers, high-level technicians and experts who attended CMI program’s trainings and activities in order to define trajectories. This follow-up focuses on individuals to get them aware of new jobs or networking opportunities whenever a new transport project or a new institution starts or is created. CODATU will organise virtual events, webinars at regular intervals, and will conduct interviews to feed the blog and the newsletter with articles in order to discuss important operational issues and inviting key experts and decision-makers from southern cities to testify about their own experience.

The audience of the CoP will be built starting from the data-base of contacts collected in the 5 years of activity of the CMI program for Sustainable Urban Transport and it will be carefully enlarged. Target audience is made-up of decision-makers, high-level technicians, senior or high-potential junior urban transport experts, international partners, development stakeholders, representatives of NGOs in the field of urban transport and civil society representatives from the entire Mediterranean basin.

A dynamic CoP will support regional integration in the Mediterranean

The CoP is seen as a major opportunity for capitalizing the network and the results of the CMI program for Sustainable Urban Transport and those of others partners such as AFD, World Bank, MedCities, GIZ who are keen on giving to their past events and activities a second and new life through a dynamic CoP. The whole set of activities will be supporting regional integration through :

  • Cross-country learning, which is the very purpose of the Cop;
  • Cross-thematic engagement and cross-network engagement, as the public transport planning issues will be discussed in the context of overall urban planning, decentralized governance, and sustainable development, all of which will be facilitated through the CMI Urban Hub;
  • Cross-border positive externalities will result from the CoP in terms of increased capacities of decision-makers and experts from all benefiting countries, and sharing technical and political transferable solutions in order to promote the development of city-to-city cooperation projects.

Finally, the CoP aims to reinforce also the link with other ongoing initiatives in the Mediterranean region in the field of urban transport such as the Euromed Road, Rail and Urban Transport Project (funded by the EU), the CoMun Project (led by GIZ), the CIVITAS Initiative (EU program), etc. The activities will leverage on these outcomes by developing an integrated and continuous process of exchange, collaborative learning and capacity building.