Jakarta Workshop – Consolidating the DELGOSEA Network

Jakarta Workshop – Consolidating the DELGOSEA Network

Both the DELGOSEA Standing Committee (SC) and the core members of the wider DELGOSEA network got together again in Jakarta from 12 – 13 November to further consolidate the network and to look ahead to 2014.

The workshop covered a wide range of issues, with the delegates discussing advocacy approaches both on the national and regional level, learning more about the structures of local government in the various member countries of DELGOSEA and catching up with best practice replications throughout the network.

The Standing Committee, meeting at the beginning of the workshop, took care of some internal administrative matters by electing a new Chair, Mr Khajohnkiat Nipatpokai, the Mayor of Lamphaya city, Thailand, and Vice-Chair, Ms Yvette Yap from the League of Cities, Philippines (LCP). The unanimous decision to adopt the Learning House for Development (LHD) from Laos as a new member without voting rights followed – and DELGOSEA is proud to have its first member from Laos officially on board! The SC proceeded to discuss the work plan and calendar of events for 2014, hoping to be able to conduct its advocacy campaign around strategic ASEAN meetings in the course of next year.

The decision to set up an Advisory Board of government representatives for the Standing Committee marks another step forward in the institutionalisation of the DELGOSEA network. This Board should ideally have two representatives from each country: one from the Ministry of Home Affairs with responsibility for local government, the other from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for relations with ASEAN. The Board would be able to offer political and technical advice to the network as well as provide a dialogue platform for national government representatives in charge of local government in their respective country, thereby further contributing to the networking efforts of DELGOSEA.

A roundup of national advocacy activities showed that DELGOSEA members had been busy in their own countries. It was noticeable that there were more structured advocacy platforms available in the countries where the decentralisation process had started some time ago, such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. There, local government associations (LGAs) were established and functioning well, with a tradition of dialogue on a variety of issues with the central government. Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos had some catching up to you, and it was interesting to hear that in both Cambodia and Laos civil society played a strong role in the advocacy process.

As part of the internal capacity building, each national points person presented the structure of local government in their country – the differences and similarities between the countries gave rise to an animated discussion and it became clearer why the exchange of best practices can only be successful if these differences in structures are taking into account and the examples carefully adjusted to fit the different circumstances. A session giving some background on the theory and practice of best practice exchange as established in the first phase of DELGOSEA and as it is now adapted to fit the second phase, helped to complete the picture.

Finally, the network discussed the preparations for the next DELGOSEA conference to be held in Bangkok in the middle of January. The theme will be “5-years ASEAN charter” and the conference will aim to promote a public discussion about ASEAN as a value-based community on nations in Southeast Asia. Since it will be a high-profile event, there is the expectation that the conference will also create awareness amongst media and political decision-makers in ASEAN member states on the importance of improvements in local governance for the future of the community.

More information on DELGOSEA activities on www.delgosea.eu:

Change at the Top of the DELGOSEA Standing Committee

New Best Practices Available on the DELGOSA Website

One Year on: An Update from DELGOSEA’s Most Successful Pilot Cities