In 2011, Hariri Foundation collaborated with MedCities and the Municipality of Saida as an associate partner in the Urban Sustainable Development Strategy (USUDS) of Saida. The USUDS is a comprehensive and long-term strategy that aims to transform the City of Saida into a sustainable, livable, and resilient city by 2030. Hariri Foundation supported the strategy development process and underlying activities through mobilizing vast local networks of stakeholders in an inclusive participatory approach, involving government agencies, the private sector, academics, and civil society. The process involved the diagnosis and integration of cultural, social, economic, environmental, and governance factors as a prelude to defining the city’s development policies and priorities. The process also featured a consultative and planning component resulting in a strategic framework and action plan with 6 key pillars and 26 objectives. Those objectives mainly addressed urban planning for social and economic development, the promotion of cultural heritage and environmental sustainability, as well as governance and institutional reform at the local and national levels. This 4-year process came as part of an overarching project, the “Mediterranean Network for the Promotion of Sustainable Urban Development Strategies and Three New UDS” in Larnaca (Cyprus), Saida (Lebanon) and Sousse (Tunisia).
This project aimed at empowering local authorities to assume a more proactive role in local development, while bridging the financial, organizational and technical limitations posed by the nature of centralized governance. Partners in the overarching project included MedCities, Entitat Metropolitana de Serveis Hidràulics I Tractament de Residus de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona, Fundación CIEDES as well as relevant local partners. Following the strategy endorsement, Ever since, Hariri Foundation has been working with the Municipality of Saida and the local community to mobilize the implementation of its action plans and to ensure the alignment of local development projects with its objectives.