As cities become more important, so do their associations: Local Government Associations are more and more recognized nationally and internationally as the “Voice of the Cities”. They articulate the local governments’ interests, exert pressure on the national level to create suitable frame conditions, provide information and support the capacity building of their members.
25 experts from 11 local government associations met in the Cologne Headquarters of the Association of German Cities from 9 to 11 July 2018 to exchange their practical knowhow of the daily associative work. They focused on four concrete areas of LGA action:
For each topic, the participants from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ghana, Lebanon, Moldova, Mozambique, Peru, Serbia, South Africa and Tanzania presented their good practices and gave mutual advice on concrete challenges and developed action plans for further cooperation.
The event also included a question-and-answer-session with Vice-Mayor Mr Andreas Wolter and a guided thematic tour on local self-administration.
Sina Webber, Connective Cities
Introduction to Connective Cities
Benjamin Jeromin, Connective Cities
Networking opportunities for project planning
GOOD PRACTICE PRESENTATIONS
Group 1: Structure, processes and financing of LGA
Internal reforms for a stronger association
Group 2: Representation of local government interests and influence on law-making
United Cities Lebanon
The National Program of Support to Lebanese Municipalities
SALGA (South Africa)
SALGA’s representation role in intergovernmental relations
Sustainable funding for public traffic
Group 3: Thematic members’ committees and working groups
Establishment and functioning of SCTM Networks
Financing local expenditures for Refugees
Group 4: Membership services for training and exchange of municipal knowhow
Mayors Award Scheme
The event showed that the common purpose of the national LGAs, to represent local governments’ interests, creates a common identity and understanding of challenges. However, there are significant differences in the self-concept of LGAs: Some LGA rely, at least partly, on central governments’ funds, whereas others categorically exclude receiving funding other than their members’ fees. Some are formally or informally included in the lawmaking process at the central level, others focus on soft power, the public opinion and agenda setting. They also differ in the focus of their activities: Some LGA focus on capacity building and individual support to their members, others only take action on behalf of interests shared by all their members. These basic concepts result in different structures and action, reflected in the good practices shared.
As a result of the event, three project ideas were elaborated:
Implementation of a helpdesk for members.
Strengthen the LGAs’ capacity to support their members in the localization and reporting of the SDGs
Support and advice in the field of migration, immigration and asylum
The discussions and project ideas will be given a follow-up by Connective Cities.