Injaz -the professional development force engine of the Arab local authorities, held a conference on Thursday morning to present the model of development and innovation in the economic development of Arab local authorities, at the Golden Crown Hotel – Nazareth, in partnership for the first time in the country with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The conference was attended by leading Arab and Jewish figures, mayors and heads of local Arab authorities from all over the country.
Through this conference, Injaz Center aimed to present a model to empower Arab local authorities, improve and encourage their performance. The conference was commenced by the ambassador of the European Union, Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, who spoke about the importance of economic development, especially in this period, and the importance of the role and influence of the heads of local authorities on the lives of the population in various fields. This is clearly evident in the projects of the European Union, which would not have succeeded without cooperation with local authorities. He pointed to the joint project between Injaz center and the the local council of Hura funded by the European Union as an example of the success of initiatives that enhance the performance and cooperation of local authorityies with the population. Mr. Shawki Khatib, chairman of Injaz Center, also pointed to the importance of local authorities as the body most connected to the wide public and called for strengthening it and making it a priority, also noting the importance of the development model and innovation in the economic development of Arab local authorities.
Mrs. Ghaida Rinawi Zoubi also spoke, welcoming the distinguished attendees, saying: “this conference is the culmination of a breakthrough work in the last year in partnership with the OECD. We have succeeded in developing a pioneering business model at an international level that enables the local authority to improve its performance in economic development and allows the government to measure the impact of its allocated and lost budgets on the ground .
Ms. Debra Montford, a specialist in the subject of economic development in the OECD, participated in the conference through video, and spoke about innovation and application for wise economic development. Dr. Shuki Amrani, head of the government staff and former director general of the Ministry of Interior, spoke about the steps that the state and the local authority must take to achieve administrative and economic independence for local authorities, in light of the negative repercussions caused by the weakness of many local authorities in many areas. The conference included a presentation of the development and innovation model in the economic development of Arab local authorities, presented by Ms. Safaa Agbariya and Mr. Eyal Kants from Injaz Center. This model is considered as a tool for local authorities to lead local economic development, based on objective proven facts, by diagnosing the available energies and resources in Arab towns, to utilize them to make a qualitative leap in economic development .
There were also round tables that discussed several issues related to economic development in Arab local authorities – opportunities and challenges. A panel discussion was moderated by Mrs. Inass Fahum, an architectural designer and urban planner, with the participation of Mr. Eran Nitzan, deputy director of real estate and interior budgets at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Uri Ilan, director of the Northern District and head of the Northern District Planning and Construction Committee at the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Adel Budair, mayor of Kfar Qasim, and Ms. Reem Younis, founder and director of Alpha Omega . Mr. Younan Al-Roei, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Economy, also participated saying: “I invite the heads of local authorities to pay attention to and work out how to benefit from all the supportive tools and assistance provided by the Ministry of Economy to society in general and to Arab society in particular. Even if at times it seems like it takes effort to take advantage of allotted budgets.”
The conference was concluded by Mr. Ayman Saif, director of the Economic Development Authority for the Arab community, who spoke about the fact that the Arab local authorities, responsible for providing services to their residents and working on the development of the town, are an essential partner in economic development. The authority for the economic development of the Arab society invests considerable resources and effort to achieve this goal .