DELGOSEA’s Spider Web: The Importance of Being Connected

DELGOSEA’s Spider Web: The Importance of Being Connected
21/09/2011

DELGOSEA is all about creating connections, about bringing cities and people in Southeast Asia together - it is, therefore, not surprising that networks and networking play a big role in the project.

In the web that DELGOSEA is weaving across five countries, the networks of DELGOSEA’s national partners are starting to come into their own: the Philippine Consortium on Good Local Governance (PCGLG), the loose network of the Association of Cities in Vietnam (ACVN), the Decentralization and Disconcentration Working Groups (D&D) in Cambodia, and the networks and country representations of the United Cities and Local Governments for Asia and Pacific (UCLG-ASPAC) and the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI).

Not all of these groups are formally organised, in Vietnam for example, ACVN’s network consists of a loose collection of nearly 100 people who meet regularly in different combinations, all involved in urban planning and community development. PCGLG in the Philippines, which has been formally established by the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF), can be found at the other end of the spectrum. The consortium brings together more than 80 organizations and institutions from different sectors with the common aim of working for good governance in order to lobby for a better local governance framework.

Many of the local coaches and experts, which have the crucial task of assisting the pilot cities in their implementation of the best practices, come from the national networks of the DELGOSEA partners. Another example of the increasing involvements of national networks comes from Cambodia, where some members of the D&D network have agreed to become contact points for questions on local governance in their country.

The Thailand Environment Institute involves its partners in academia directly into to process of the Best Practice replication. The replication process in the pilot cities for example will be closely monitored and supported by partner universities of TEI, such as Prince Songkhla University. A closely connected partner for the exchange of information and support of projects is the Municipality League of Thailand (MLT). The annual TEI conference gives the opportunity to meet in person while communications throughout the year are handled via the exchange within email groups.

UCLG ASPAC Secretariat is in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the organization maintains sub-regional offices in Bangkok, Thailand and New Delhi, India. With a network of more than 7,000 members comprising local government associations and local governments accross AsiaPacific, UCLG ASPAC bears a large share in DELGOSEA’s web of local governance. UCLG ASPAC organizes regular regional and international events as to strengthen its ties with members and various partners, in particular UN organizations, Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA), International Urban Training Center (IUTC) and The Global Network of International Training Centers for Local Actors – CIFAL Network. UCLG ASPAC has also membership with The United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA). Furthermore, UCLG ASPAC maintains a Financial Network (FiNet) in the region.

The networks help our DELGOSEA teams to spread information about the project further and deeper into the country, which can, for example, alert other potential pilot cities to the project and the possibility of copying best practices from other cities. In the long run, it is very much hoped that the networks take on some responsibility for sustaining the project results and for expanding the idea of best practice replication. DELGOSEA will rely on them to keep the spirit of the project alive!