The Mayor of Benghazi, Saqur Bojouari, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative, Marc-André Franche, inaugurated on Wednesday the newly rehabilitated Civil Society Center in Benghazi, according to UNDP.
The Center will provide a space for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to gather and conduct activities, promoting local peace-building initiatives, and empowering women, youth, and vulnerable populations, UNDP said in a statement.
Following a participatory approach, the Municipality and local civil society organizations selected the historical Almanar Palace of Benghazi, previously used as a vocational school, to be rehabilitated into the new Civil Society Center.
The monument, damaged in September 2016 by the conflict, is considered a landmark and symbol of all Libyans, located in Old Benghazi, the heart of Benghazi City.
The rehabilitation of the new Centre is part of UNDP’s local peace-building and resilience efforts, through the EU-funded Baladiyati program. TheCivil Society Commission will manage and maintain it, providing a space for CSOs to gather and implement their peace-building activities, accommodating up to 1,500 people.
Saqur Bojouari, Mayor of Benghazi Municipality said “This building is of utmost importance, as it is one of the oldest buildings with a certain symbolism in the history of Libya and the city of Benghazi, and from here, King Idris Al-Senussi addressed the Libyans during his reign.”
“We are proud to have played a part in its rehabilitation, thus allowing Civil Society Organizations to conduct activities that will contribute to the city’s advancement.”
UNDP Resident Representative Marc-André Franche further stated: “Today marks a key step towards the recovery of the Old Benghazi, I am thankful to the Municipality of Benghazi, the Mayor, the Heritage Cities Authorities, the citizens of Benghazi, the European Union, and all those who have been involved in making the Civil Society Centre a reality.”
“Civil Society Organizations are powerful platforms promoting local peace initiatives and empowering women, youth, and vulnerable populations,” he added.
“We are convinced that this new space for civil society organizations will serve as a space to foster even more ideas and initiatives that will not benefit the community of Benghazi and inspire other cities.”