DeLoG - Decentralisation and Local Governance, an informal network of 29 bi- and multilateral development partners in the field of decentralization and local governance (DLG), held its 12th Annual Meeting in Brussels, on May 16-18, 2017, hosted by the Belgian Development Agency (BTC). As usual, the Meeting was an excellent opportunity for DeLoG members and partners to catch up on the work that the network has put in place in the last year, as well as to coordinate on next steps and strategic issues. UCLG took part in the meeting alongside other global institutional partners such as UNDP, UNICEF, UNCDF and the European Commission.
The agenda was structured in two key segments: two keynote presentations followed by more thematic and technical working groups that moved the conversation to more practical and applied aspects. Day one was dedicated to SDG Localization, with presentations by the Flemish association of local governments (VVSG, represented by Betty De Wachter) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI, with Paula Lucci). Both interventions were extremely clear in presenting key accomplishments and useful best-practices in local implementation of the agendas on the one hand, and the challenges of adequately monitor and assess this process on the other.
The second day tackled the issue decentralization and local governance, with specific attention to the specificities of politically fragile contexts. A keynote lecture by Prof. Seth Kaplan (Johns Hopkins) was followed, in the afternoon, by the intervention of Carlos de Freitas from FMDV on local financing and local revenue mobilization and a presentation by UCLG, an opportunity to present both the findings and results of the GOLD IV Report published in 2016 and the strategic toolkit elaborated for the new challenges of monitoring, reporting and implementing the agendas at the local level. The debate that ensued in the working groups provided excellent insight on how the community of cooperation agencies and donors is addressing the issues of localization and co-ownership of the local agendas.
Especially in the working group on governance and territorial development – moderated by Kurt Petit from BTC – UCLG’s strategy to engage actively in the monitoring and reporting phase has been welcomed with support. As the discussion approached the new strategic options for the network, the participants committed to share with UCLG relevant first-hand information they could gather from their activities on the ground and their direct contact with local authorities around the world, so as to improve available data on the localization of the global goals and assist UCLG in the analysis and interpretation of this process.
The third day of the meeting was dedicated to outlining the agenda for the next future, sorting out the statutory issues, as well as presenting the outcomes of the learn4dev initiatives. The Annual Meeting – following the tradition of previous meetings and activities under the aegis of DeLoG – proved again to be a fruitful opportunity for knowledge sharing, collaborating and pooling resources together on the way to more effective and decisive implementation of the global development goals.
More information about DeLoG is available on their website.
The event was accompanied by an extremely useful Storify feed, which collected all the information on the fly and made it all constantly available to both participants and partners.
Photo credits: @UCLG/Andrea Ciambra