WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Environmental Center for Arab Towns (ECAT) has become ICMA's first affiliate in the Gulf Region, with plans to collaborate on city exchanges focused on sustainability and to share information and resources. The relationship was formalized in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by ECAT Executive Director Dr. Hussain Abdulla Al Fardan; ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O'Neill, Jr.; and ICMA President James A. Bennett, city manager, Presque Isle, Maine.
ECAT is a scientific research institute that deals with environmental issues concerning Arab cities' natural resources, economic progress, and sustainable development. ECAT is affiliated with the Arab Towns Organization (ATO), which is focused on promoting development of Arab cities while preserving their Arab identity. ECAT operates under the umbrella of the Director General of Dubai Municipality and 10 representatives from ATO member cities. The center specializes in offering awareness and research services in different environmental fields to the approximately 550 cities that are members in the ATO.
"The work of ECAT in the area of sustainable communities very much aligns with the priorities of ICMA and its members," said Mr. O'Neill. "We believe both organizations will benefit immensely from this relationship." He added that ICMA first connected with ECAT at the Future Cities Conference in Dubai in September.
"We are pleased to welcome ICMA as a partner that is key to fulfilling our mission and vision," said Dr. Al Fardan. He said ECAT spreads creativity and excellence through the adoption and implementation of environmental projects in Arab towns, as well as knowledge sharing through environmental conferences and workshops among Arab towns. "Such practices and collaborations help to strengthen competencies and abilities to cope with challenges in the global community," Dr. Al Fardan said.
ICMA maintains international affiliate relationships with local government professional organizations that are focused on, among other things, the exchange of leading practices, the expansion of each organization's knowledge base and working together to advance professional local government worldwide.
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization's mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people's lives. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to 9,500 appointed city, town, and county leaders and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA's members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities throughout the world, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.