Developing Policies for Sustainability

DELGOSEA - Developing Policies for Sustainability
14/05/2012

The DELGOSEA network can and should continue - that was the core message emerging from five national workshops looking at issues of sustainability and policy recommendations to ensure that the results and lessons learnt from the DELGOSEA project would not be lost.

National workshops took place in the Philippines (28th March), Indonesia (17th April), Thailand (19th April), Vietnam (26th May) and Cambodia (2nd – 3rd May), in each case attended by representatives from various national Ministries, participants from the pilot cities, local government associations (LGAs), the EU, CSOs, media and academia.

The emphasis of these workshops was on fine-tuning the already existing drafts for policy recommendations to improve national legislation and administrative procedures to favor good governance. These had been presented at the mid-term conference last September in Batam, Indonesia. Six months on and enriched with some practical experience gained through the actual implementation of the best practices in each country, some solid and concrete ideas emerged on how to create a more conducive environment for good local governance.

In each country, the workshops focused on the experiences of the different pilot cities and brought together experts from the thematic fields that were covered in these cities to help the participants in their in-depths working group discussions. In a genuine bottom-up approach, the experiences of each city were crucial for the formulation of any recommendations. Plenary sessions, where the working group results were shared, and discussed with the representatives from the National Ministries as well as a press conference rounded off the events.

The question of how to make sure that these policy recommendations will be acted upon was discussed as well – the importance of good advocacy became apparent to all participants. The recommendations therefore include a detailed advocacy strategy, outlining in detail the changes that are desired in each country as well as who should be responsible for the lobbying work that entailed. It emerged that the key actors in the field of advocacy can only be the LGAs – DELGOSEA’s strong and reliable project partners. Issues such as introducing national policy amendments and new policies, devising a better coordination mechanism between national, provincial or local level as well as looking at local ordinances and budgetary frameworks very much fall into the LGA’s area of responsibility.

Since the policy recommendations and good advocacy for them are the vital ingredients for maximizing the sustainability of the project results, DELGOSEA has published a short guide (available on www.delgosea.eu) with some practical tips on how to conduct advocacy activities in an efficient and constructive way – and there will, of course, be support for the LGAs along the way.

Of course, the question of how to sustain the DELGOSEA network in each country after the end of the EU co-financed project formed the backdrop to much of the discussions, and it was good to see that in each country, there were ideas forthcoming both from the pilot cities and the LGAs – clearly, the commitment to continuing the concept of best practice exchanges is there.