In the framework of the “Municipal know-how for host communities in the Middle-East programme”, the international network and community of practice Connective Cities and its initiators, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German Association of Cities (DST) and Engagement Global gGmbH / Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW), organized an Urban Practitioners’ Workshop on “Local Economic Development – From Strategy to Action” in Lebanon, that was held in Beirut on April 26-28, 2018. The workshop enabled urban practitioners to share good practices on local economic development from Lebanon and Germany with each other, formulate local strategies and identify concrete projects to strengthen local economic development.
The LED approach encourages establishment of multi-actor partnerships and ensures joint development of local solutions to the existing economic challenges. Through multi-stakeholder dialogues as well as thorough analyses of current economic situations and conditions of public services and infrastructure at local level, LED helps identify concrete development opportunities and create competitive business locations at local level. This consequently can lead to a reduction in poverty as well as geographic disparities and enable sustainable economic growth.
The workshop, which was the second of its kind
facilitated the exchange of experiences among municipal practitioners from Lebanon and from Germany ,
analysed the local context, identify challenges and elaborate strategies for local economic development,
formulated concrete project ideas and envisaged solutions for resolving challenges on local economic development.
Subjects of exchange were geared specifically towards defining local strategic frameworks for LED in Lebanese municipalities that aim to
strengthen local leadership on LED strategy and action,
improve municipal infrastructure and public services related to LED,
develop local marketing concepts and sectoral economic strategies at local level,
enhance innovation and value chains in the context of regional, urban-rural linkages,
enhance entrepreneurial skills for integration of the informal sector.
On the first day German participants presented insights from their strategic approaches and “good practices” on local economic development. A special focus was set on the question of how to assure a private-sector-led and implementation-led LED approach considering the challenges presented by participants from Lebanon. In working groups participants defined the essential components of an LED strategy to start a local process of their own.
On the second day, participants continued with the reflection on key criteria for LED and on case experiences from Germany under consideration of own challenges. The identification and promotion of competitive advantages, the reflection on organisational requirements as well as the identification of inter-municipal LED initiatives formed the key focus, and open challenges on local economic development were discussed in peer-to-peer meetings.
The third day of the workshop opened the space for additional peer-to-peer-exchange and set out to provide participants with a strategic vision and tangible results towards improving LED in their cities, distinguishing between short-term action and medium-to-longer term LED projects for which external know how and partnerships would be requested.
Frank Waeltring, mesopartner:
Local Economic Development from an International Perspective
Topic 1: How to initiate demand-driven LED initiatives with and not for the private sector
Topic 2: Designing LED projects to promote and link existing businesses, new start-ups and investors
Topic 3: Promoting competitive advantages in a city through professional private sector and municipality organization
Dr. Clemens Götz, Mayor of the Municipality of Althengstett:
Making a difference as a small city through promoting business organisations and market-led initiatives
Topic 4: Promoting competitive advantages through the initiation of inter-municipal LED initiatives to overcome isolated municipal LED efforts
Birgit Neyer, Executive Director of Local Economic Development Agency of Steinfurt District:
Promotion of a start-up network and a business angel network through the cooperation of cities in a region
LED Project on Christmas Village
Silvia Boehmsdorff, Engagement Global/ SKEW:
IKKN Support mechanisms for municipal project partnerships
Dr. Fawaz Hamidi, Director at BIAT (Business Incubation Association in Tripolis)
Site Visit BIAT Tripolis
The outputs of the workshop comprised inputs for local strategy frameworks for LED as well as a number of concrete project ideas developed by the participating municipalities. The project ideas will have the possibility to be further supported and set up as joint bi-lateral municipal projects between a German and a Lebanese municipality, which could receive advice and funding for their implementation through the financial instruments in the frame of the “Municipal know-how for Host Communities in the Middle-East Programme” of the Service Agency Communities in One World of Engagement Global.
Based on the exchange formats, discussions as well as site-visits and peer-to-peer advice the participating municipalities in the framework of the action planning session elaborated their LED project ideas further. The resulting project ideas are the following:
Municipality | Project Idea
Jezzine | The rehabilitation of the Day’aa sector in Jezzine
Rachiine | Ecotourism & creating jobs for youths
El-Qrayeh | Vocational center for local population
Chouf-Soueijeni | Prevention of deterioration of the agricultural sector & local empowerment
Menjez | Promotion of rural tourism
Bourj Hamoud | Social housing & rehabilitation of ‘Maraash’ souk
El-Hebariye | Improvement of archeological sites to promote for tourism & agricultural plant for job opportunities
Nahr Ibrahim | Ecotourism to create job opportunities and attract investors
Ayn Tenta – Fsaykin – Ayn Achma | Establishment of social and cultural complex
Chekka | Rehabilitation of the old souk
Connective Cities together with the IKKN programme will strive to provide further support for the development of concrete project proposals and provide required know how to assist with the implementation process.