The city of UMEA; an intermediary city in the north of Sweden with a large internatonal Univesity was the host of the International Academy on local democracy, that takes place every 3 years. For the first time, UCLG was the institutional partner.
The International Center for Local Democracy, ICLD is part of the Swedish development cooperation, funded by SIDA. The Knowledge Center supports the entire organization and contributes to ensuring the municipal partnership programs and training programs are developed with up-to-date knowledge.
In order to ensure and foster the development cooperation around decentralization and local democracy, ICLD Academy supports 60 individual researcher projects from Swedish and International Universities granting punctual research around Local democracy, such as participation, rights, gender mainstreaming, peace, migration and the SDGs.
Further, the city Umea is a reference in feminist policy making, and the mayor Marie Louse Ronmark explained that Gender is considered in all decisions, institutionalized by a standing Gender committee. Participants could learn about the variety of policies during a peer visit to public policy higlights, such as a pedestrian tunnel, a public space meeting point for girls, the train station and the management of the football club.
The academy meeting allowed peer review of research papers, mentoring, new key knowledge inputs, methods as well as outlook for new approaches, in particular building on the UCLG experience of localization of SDG and local leadership. It also counted on the participation of the Commonwealth Local government forum, CLGF.
As a first milestone of collaboration, The UCLG learning team and the social inclusion committee, managed 2 of the 4 policy labs that look for new research ideas, and cooperated in the design through a methodology of Problem Based Learning (PBL).
The one-week academy meeting that was very interactive, fostered the research network and reminded us that the important challenge of knowledge management need partnership between academia and local government. More collaboration and information between the UCLG observatories (in particular OIDP) and the research communities seems a good way ahead.