H.E. the Mayor of Al-Madinah Al-Monawarah Region, Eng. Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Hossein, has received the HABITAT Scroll of Honor during a ceremony held in Washington. This award comes in recognition for the outstanding achievements of Al-Madinah Urban Observatory.
H.E. the Mayor indicated that this award “Represents the result of the achievements of the urban observatory, and the result of the development of Al-Madinah Al-Monawarah, moreover, we are in constant development and we always look for new programs to develop ourselves”.
H.E. added:” The urban observatory produces about 110 indicators in various fields, 51 of which are international indicators, since the urban observatory is linked to the Global Urban Observatory and follows the internationally agreed indicators, in addition to the indicators for the city of Medina.
“It has been 10 years since we have started upon the idea of the United Nations for the involvement of local governments and non-governmental organizations in order to reach people and solve the problems they face. The central governments are already occupied with other issue and there are several local issues that need to be solved. Moreover, Al-Madinah Municipality has adopted the establishment of the urban observatory, and has been able to develop a model, with the assistance of the United Nations and UN-HABITAT. We have also developed this international model and localized it. Such efforts have been implemented under the direct supervision of Al-Madinah Council, chaired by H.E. Mayor of Al-Madinah and in cooperation with the public departments and the involvement of the private sector”. H.E. said.
“The urban observatory monitors clear and specific indicators in order to “measure performance in Medina, in the field of infrastructures, sanitation, electricity, health, performance, in addition to the calculation of death and life expectancy rates”.
“In addition, we now have the indicators upon which appropriate decisions could be made, and this is our goal”. It should be noted here that Al-Madina Urban Observatory is the first observatory that gains this award worldwide, and it is always willing to work and cooperate with other observatories all over the world to improve their performance.
H.E. said:” We have helped other urban observatories in Syria, Yemen, Morocco and Jordan, we also work on the provision of support to the observatories in different provinces and this project would be an asset to our efforts”.
The urban observatory is considered as an essential source for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015.
H.E. Al-Hossain said:” We are working on achieving goals, and this is one of the programs we are willing to accomplish, especially at the ecological level. Medinah was the first city to establish a padded waste dumpsite, we also established the first waste separation and recycling plant in the kingdom, and this is one of the projects we are implementing towards the achievement of the MDGs, besides to other programs of the urban observatory”.
On the other hand, women programs are among the most significant programs being implemented by the urban observatory, such efforts include the examination of women’s social situation, in addition to the development of several surveys about women-headed households, besides to the monitoring of poverty and health indicators.
H.E. stated that “The main objective of these efforts is to reach decision-makers and to encourage them for the development of their activities in order to improve the indicators affecting people’s life”. Moreover, H.E. stressed that:” This success was a Saudi achievement, the transfer and localization of the experience is the most significant factor in this framework, and Saudis were able to transfer the experience inside the country and abroad, they have also been able to develop this model, which is considered as a great pride for us”.
Dr. Hatem Taha, Director of Urban Observatory, Member of UN-Expert Team, supervises a team of professionals and experts to achieve the goals of the urban observatory, moreover, consultants are also being hired to contribute to the success of the observatory, and the total number of team members is 20 experts. Dr. Taha says:’ UN-HABITAT had developed an expert team from the Middle East and North Africa, which works on the establishment of urban observatories.
The expert team includes the Global Observatory in Nairobi UN-HABITAT Regional Office in Amman, the Arab Development Institute, in addition to Al-Madinah urban observatory. Dr. Taha also indicated that this team provides all the required support for the establishment of any urban observatory in any Arab city and under the international standards.
UN-HABITAT announced the launch of “Al-Madinah Award for Urban Observatories”, which is a global and annual award, and it will be awarded for the first time in 2010.