The CIVITAS Forum Conference, held every year in a different city, concluded successfully this year in the western French city of Brest, a destination which is transforming itself into a model of sustainable urban transport. After much debate and after examining the success of network cities in building a sustainable transport model, the CIVITAS Political Advisory Committee (PAC) has chosen to hold the 2014 conference outside Europe for the very first time. Increasingly, the Euromed region and its cities have been collaborating with the EU on advancing sustainable urban transport, showcasing some very promising results or initiatives from Amman, Beirut, Casablanca, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo. Now, the Euromed and CIVITAS are joining forces to collaborate on strengthening sustainable transport in cities across the Middle East and North Africa, realising synergies and streamlining resources. One of the most ambitious Urban Mobility Plans in the region is that of Casablanca, Morocco's largest city and economic capital, with a population of around 4 million inhabitants. This lively metropolis, which also boasts great tourism potential, is developing an efficient transport system along with an accompanying modern infrastructure. Against this backdrop, CIVITAS has voted to host its next annual Conference in this up-and-coming destination. Every day, Casablanca witnesses 11 million trips or around 3 trips per person per day, of which more than half are done by foot. However, the share of cars is increasing steadily, prompting the city to implement an ambitious sustainable transport plan by 2019. CIVITAS has chosen Casablanca to host the 12 edition of its annual conference in support of this new plan and its measures. These include new public transport lines, increased supply by mass transport and fare integration of public transport modes. Already, the city launched its first tramway line in December 2012 with 48 stops spread over 31 km, supporting a transport network that aims to cater to 250,000 passengers daily once the integration with the existing bus network will be completed. As a choice city for the conference, Casablanca and its sustainable urban transport strategy are very much in line with the EU's Action Plan for mobility which was developed in 2009. It is also falls under the vision of the Euromed Transport Programme which promotes policy dialogue in the Euromed area and furthers the regional transport action plan for the Mediterranean region. The announcement about Casablanca winning this reward has been received with great excitement by European stakeholders who are looking forward to exchanging best practices and enlarging their sphere of influence. This is a win-win situation for both regions that will ultimately contribute to improving transport sustainability on a global scale. CIVITAS looks forward to welcoming everyone to the Casablanca event which will be held in October 2014!
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