Municipal powers in Palestine: a multiscalar perspective From local planning to international networks
May 18-19th 2022, at the Qattan Foundation, Ramallah
This symposium will tackle the major issues at stake for Palestinian municipalities. Its goal is to study their capacities and modes of action, while highlighting the constraints restricting those actions and the solutions envisioned or already implemented to mitigate or resist these constraints. It focuses on the role of Palestinian municipalities at different scales: locally, looking at the municipal territories; nationally and regionally through their relations with different institutional actors – Palestinian Authority (PA), donors; and also internationally, between decentralized cooperation and diplomatic practices.
Palestinian municipalities existed prior to the National Palestinian Authority (NPA), created in 1993, and therefore embody durable structures in an unstable context characterized by the Israeli military occupation and colonization, a growing territorial fragmentation and the lack of representativeness, since the NPA has not been reelected since 2005. Being regularly elected – the last municipal elections have taken place in 2022 – the municipalities represent, in this context, the main representative bodies of the Palestinian people. They are fundamental for administering the lives of the local communities, but also for the provision of services (water, electricity, waste management), which remains one of the main challenges Palestinian local authorities face. The symposium will question their role as one of the first links with strategic planning decision-makers, while also analyzing their relations with external stakeholders (donors, international institutions), which often induces a circulation of urban planning and governance models. The purpose of this multiscalar approach is to highlight the role of the municipalities as technical operators, decision makers in land use and planning, but to also question their role as political actors constrained by the Israeli occupation and colonization. Municipalities are indeed present on the international scene, involved in bilateral and multilateral relationships with other cities, networks and development agencies.
The program follows this multiscalar approach of municipal action. Thematic panels will address major issues that Palestinian municipalities are facing, such as urban planning, development in Area C, relations between Palestinian institutions, role on the national scene and international cooperation. Those two days will also create space for dialogue between researchers, experts and professionals from different municipalities (Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho). The aim is to compare various urban situations in an increasingly fragmented West Bank. These interventions will nourish and lead to a common reflection on local governance in Palestine.
Marion Lecoquierre (University of Helsinki). Contact: email@example.com
Clémence Vendryes (IFPO-TP DEC). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org