The cooperation with the Palestinian partners focused first and foremost on the topic of participatory development and urban planning, as support for the upcoming planning reform in the Palestinian territories was considered a priority.
From 27 to 31 March 2017, a Palestinian delegation headed by the Minister of Local Government, Dr Hussein Al-Araj, visited various institutions in northern Germany to inform themselves about German approaches to participatory development and urban planning and to conduct detailed discussions on the subject with experts. The delegation consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Local Government, the Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MDLF) and the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA).
In Berlin the Minister met with State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn in the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Middle East Special Envoy Philipp Ackermann in the Foreign Office. In addition, in Hamburg the delegation met urban planners and representatives of the Agency for Geoinformation and Surveying as well as academics from HafenCity University, in Schleswig-Holstein they met with representatives of the State Chancellery, the Ministry of the Interior and the Local Authorities Association.
Cross-state urban planning in the Hamburg metropolitan region, the organisation of the development of a geodata infrastructure and the benefits of uniform exchange standards in urban land use planning (e.g. XPlanung) were discussed intensively. The distribution of competencies between the local and state levels in the preparation of the state development plan in Schleswig-Holstein met with great interest in the Palestinian delegation, as did the methods of early public participation in planning procedures and the critical role of municipalities in urban planning in the preparation of land use and zoning plans.