Arab and American Mayors Confront Challenge Of Urban Growth

April 29, 2008

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Mayors from many Arab cities are meeting with their American counterparts in Chicago this week. They're addressing problems all cities face, like education, jobs, and the environment.

You might think when it comes to water use, Amman Jordan and Chicago have little in common, but Amman's mayor thinks they do. Omar Maani says, like our region, the Middle East is growing, but its water supply is not.

MAANI: Imagine the people of Chicago and some areas of Canada. These are the richest people in the world in water. And yet you're beginning to talk about water as if there is a problem, and I'm sure there is.

Indeed, Canadian provinces and U.S. states are hashing out an agreement to preserve Great Lakes water, but they haven't finished. Jordan is negotiating water rights with its neighbors, Israel and Syria. Mayor Omar Maani says he hopes U.S. universities will lend expertise in urban planning and resource management.