Local democracy and international solidarity are under stress. Local governments play a crucial role in international relations and programmes – how can we, as CIB Working Group, continue to raise awareness for the role and responsibilities of local governments in development cooperation, aid effectiveness and democracy? And how can we assure sufficient means for local governments, both for domestic challenges, as for international work? These questions stood central at the 25th CIB annual meeting in Vienna this week.
Austria welcomes diverse group of participants
50 participants from 22 countries and 44 organisations gathered from 25-27 September, to discuss a variety of topics related to local government development cooperation. This year's meeting was hosted by the Austrian Association of Cities and Town and KDZ, the centre for Public Administration Research.
Towards better coordination and synergies
Through the use of interactive session formats, the organisations touched base on challenges and opportunities in our work field and discussed possible synergies between our actions and programmes. Members agreed that the international agendas and other global developments – such as climate change, unstable support from the donor community for local authorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – ask for a common voice and joint action. Various ideas which came up will be followed-up by CIB in the next years.
The 25th meeting of the CIB working group included two field visits; a novelty for the network. Participants took a ‘gender-sensitive urban planning’-tour in the city of Vienna, which also included visit to a cooperative housing project with multi-use functions in the City of Vienna. Others visited smart city Aspern-Seestadt: a part of the city which came about after holistic, sustainable planning.
Looking towards the future
The third day saw a presentation of UCLG and of Lance Joel from the South African Local Government Association on the 6th UCLG world congress, which is taking place in Durban in November. Many CIB members will be present in Durban and we will see how to also coordinate our programmes and efforts over there. CIB is also leading three sessions at the congress; please find more information here.
The working group members then took time to reflect on the current work and position of CIB, and how this should evolve in the next years. We discussed the sustainability of the working group, its role in advocacy, and how to share methodologies to measure the effect of our projects. Expert Sandra Ceciarini provided recommendations on how to make the work of CIB (and work of members) more gender sensitive. The CIB secretariat will take this discussion further through the elaboration of a CIB work plan 2020, as well as a one-pager with contextual developments which we need to take into account.
Link with VNG International
VNG International hosts the CIB secretariat. Peter Knip, director of VNG International is also the chair of the working group. For more information on this working group, please visit our website www.cib-uclg.org and subscribe to our updates.