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Looking Back on an Important Year for DELGOSEA

Looking Back on an Important Year for DELGOSEA

From our big conference in January in Bangkok debating ‘5 years ASEAN charter’ to the set-up of new decision-making structures for the network – 2014 was an eventful year for DELGOSEA.

The opening event of the year was the first big conference organised by the DELGOSEA II network: Nearly 80 participants from 10 countries gathered in Bangkok on 15 and 16 January 2014 to discuss ASEAN as a value-based community of nations in Southeast Asia. The participants enjoyed two intensive days, with speeches and panel discussions on topics such as administrative and financial decentralisation in the ASEAN states, people participation in local decision-making and an assessment of good local governance in the region.

While this conference gave much needed impetus to the debate on local governance, its role and its function in ASEAN, the DELGOSEA network was also busy with re-inventing itself. The process of transformation from a EU-supported project to an independent network continued throughout 2014 with the set-up of new decision-making structures to reflect the changes. DELGOSEA now has National Steering Boards in each partner country with responsibility for activities and communication flows in their countries; these Steering Boards elect representative for the DELGOSEA Network Council that coordinates the network on the regional level. Marisa Lerias from the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) was elected as the Network Coordinator and Sokhany Prak of the Cambodian Civil Society Partnership as Deputy Coordinator.

During a workshop in Laos in July DELGOSEA said farewell to Peter Koeppinger who retired from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS). First as the project director, later than as network director, he was instrumental in shaping the nature of the network, giving policy impetus and suggesting the direction in which DELGOSEA could develop. His successor as country director for the KAS Philippine office, Benedikt Seemann, enthusiastically embraced his new role as treasurer in the new Network Council, keen to see the network grow and prosper.

On the international front, DELGOSEA was invited to share its experiences at numerous events throughout the year, including at the 5th High Level Seminar on Environmentally Sustainable Cities which took place in Surabaya, Indonesia, in late February. Organised by UCLG-ASPAC, the seminar gave four original DELGOSEA pilot cities the chance to explain what good local governance meant for them. DELGOSEA's best practices and pilot cities also dominated the discussion at this year's Policy Innovation Festival that took part at Singapore's Lee Kuan School of Public Policy from 5 to 8 August 2014.

The experiences of DELGOSEA’s member cities in implementing policies to deal with climate change on a local level featured prominently in the most recent EU-Asia Dialogue meeting, held in Yangon from 4th to 5th September 2014. The network’s experiences even proved inspirational for South Asia: During a high level symposium to promote regional cooperation and local economic development, organised by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) on 29th and 30th September 2014, DELGOSEA was presented as a model for cooperation of local governments across a region.

Thematically, the network was, of course, concerned with the new ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and a workshop organized in Hanoi towards the end of the year, looked more closely at the consequences this would have for local government. 

The AEC will be an even more important issue in 2015, and we at DELGOSEA are looking forward to working with our partners and the wider network on how best to prepare local governments for its introduction.