‘Learning and getting food for advocacy (on DLG)’ – Rolf Swart, VNG International
From May 20 to 22, the Development Partners Network on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG) held its Annual Meeting in Bern, Switzerland. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) kindly hosted this year’s event. The meeting started with opening remarks by Georgette Bruchez, Head of the Thematic Unit Governance at the SDC, underlining that ‘DeLoG is highly relevant for SDC’ and that the SDC ‘highly believes in the functioning of decentralisation and the system of local governance’.
This year’s meeting focused on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’. Dr. George Mukundi Wachira, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Maendeleo Group, an Advisory Firm on Political and Business Risk Analysis gave a keynote speech and provided insights on African countries and the implementation of SDG16.
Apart from the specific focus on SDG 16, the Annual Meeting dealt with the following topics:
Localising the SDGs
Annika Schoenfeld of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) gave a presentation illustrating why decentralisation and local governance are key saying that ‘a functional multi-level governance system increases the likelihood to successfully implement the 2030 Agenda.’ Preeta Lall from the Local Governance Initiative (LOGIN) followed with a ‘reporting back’ from the regional DeLoG/UCLG/LOGIN workshop on ‘Enhancing the Capacity of Local Governments in Localising the Sustainable Development Goals’ in Cambodia.
Local Finance and Fiscal Decentralisation
This session started with Joern Meyer (GIZ) who gave a presentation on strategic importance for financing urban development, followed by Luc Aldon from United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) who shared the first results of the ‘UCLG-OECD World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment’ with the participants.
Local Economic Development
Andrea Iff of SDC led the session on Local Economic Development (LED) by presenting study findings from Serbia on decisive aspects and entry points for LED.
Decentralisation and Local Governance in Fragile Contexts
Daan Stelder of VNG International reported on the ‘IDEAL’ programme: towards peaceful and inclusive societies – addressing fragility at the local level by holding a highly interactive and stimulating session on local governance in very diverse fragile contexts.
Besides the thematic sessions with their lively discussions, DeLoG members had the opportunity to reflect on DeLoG’s finance and governance. They also defined elements for the work plan for the upcoming year and assessed the performance and satisfaction with the work of the Secretariat.
Altogether it was definitely a ‘step outside of our daily bubbles’, as one of the participants put it.
A detailed report of the Annual Meeting will follow soon.