"Local governments can be a very important catalyser to address the challenges that we have identified in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and other international agreements", said UCLG Deputy Secretary General Emilia Sáiz at a workshop of the Global Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) in Barcelona.
UCLG hosted the meeting in Barcelona, in cooperation with the CIB Working Group, to show national governments, multilateral organizations, foundations, civil society organizations and other actors the importance of including local governments in the implementation of the principles on effective development.
The workshop, organized by the Joint Support Team of the Global Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation (OECD and UNDP) with support from UCLG, the European Union, the government of Japan and the Netherlands, aimed to facilitate exchange among the so-called voluntary Global Partnership Initiatives (GPIs) that were established over the past years to work on innovative approaches and concrete proposals to implement more effective development cooperation. The workshop was attended by around 50 representatives from these initiatives.
Local governments involvement in national development strategies
UCLG, which has a GPI on the involvement of local and regional governments in national development strategies, took the opportunity to explain other partners how they could ensure better involvement of the local government sector to reach concrete results. Kubeshni Govender-Jones, representing the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), explained how the association is involved in national development plans and strategies. The SALGA experience is rather positive, being an association whose position is embedded in the constitution, while in other countries local government associations are not always taken into account in the definition, implementation and monitoring of national strategies. She therefore recommended development partners to build the local government sector into agreements at national level, to ensure that they are invited to come to the table.
Furthermore, she stressed that local governments represent a great opportunity to test pilot and demonstration projects to help emerge practical responses to global challenges from the local level. "How do you know that any of the talking actually means anything at the end of the day,” Govender-Jones said: “At the local level, you can see the concrete results of something that you have built or implemented and have the tangible expression of the global discussions. We cannot afford NOT to learn from someone else’s mistake : capacity building and knowledge exchange are therefore an inseparable part of development”.
Global debates on effective development cooperation
In November, the 2nd High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation will take place in Nairobi. UCLG is preparing input through various ways:
Contributing to the outcome document of the meeting
Contributing to discussions on the future rounds of monitoring of the effective development cooperation commitments and principles
Identifying concrete recommendations from the local government sector and elaborating specific cases that illustrate the recommendations