'Exciting months are ahead of us...' - Interview with DELGOSEA Project Manager Susanne Stephan

'Exciting months are ahead of us...' - Interview with DELGOSEA Project Manager Susanne Stephan
15/03/2012

Philippines

DELGOSEA is entering a busy phase with just a few more months to go until the end of the project - a perfect moment for Project Manager Susanne Stephan to share some details on the activities that are planned before the end of October this year.

During the next months, all our efforts will go towards sustaining the DELGOSEA network beyond the official funding period by the European Commission and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. On the transnational level, we are working towards a stronger cooperation with ASEAN and the setting up of a permanent dialogue platform on local governance involving all actors. Ideas for a continuation and extension of the DELGOSEA network have been developed already and a proposal was submitted to the European Union in February 2012. On the national level, we are working on the policies to allow for better local governance in the future. Since this can only be achieved by a strong network and through the joint effort of all stakeholders, such as the local government associations (LGAs), the local governments, civil society and academia, we are constantly trying to deepen our national networks. With regard to implementing activities of the current project, we will continue to train, consult and monitor our pilot cities in best practice replication. At the end of the project they should have the capacities and the networks to progress with their projects as well as sustain and extent their ideas. We are, of course, very concerned with developing strategies for sustainability. Country strategies will therefore be drafted within the next few months to be presented during the final conference. These strategies will definitely contain concrete proposals for a continuation of DELGOSEA activities on both the national as well as the transnational level.


Upcoming activities:

1. National Workshops

Between March and May 2012 the second round of national workshops will be held. The aim of these workshops is threefold: 1. to update the already existing drafts for policy recommendations in the light of the experiences of the pilot cities that are all currently being monitored and evaluated. The final draft that will emerge at the end of each workshop will be submitted to representatives of the respective national governments; 2. to develop strategies on how to lobby/advocate for the policy recommendations, and 3. to brainstorm about country strategies and the role of the different partners involved.

The national workshops will involve the strategic partners of DELGOSEA in each country as well as representatives from civil society organisations and academia. Dates: 28th March Philippines, 17th April Indonesia, 19th April Thailand, 26th April Vietnam, 2-3 May Cambodia.


2. Regional Conference on Policy Recommendations

The regional conference, taking place from 3-4 May 2012 in Phnom Penh, will bring together the national policy recommendations and encourage a permanent dialogue among LGAs, government representatives, ASEAN and CSOs. As a first step, we aim to reach a consensus amongst stakeholders to work with national governments, ASEAN and international institutions for adopting new policies on decentralisation and good local governance through a multi-stakeholder approach. At the end of the conference it is hoped that a declaration is produced that reflects common views and initiatives among participants to support decentralization and good local governance on a more permanent basis.

The conference will itself be an exercise in regional cooperation, since it is jointly organised with another EU-funded project from UCLG. We are targeting high-ranking decision-makers from eight countries as well as representatives from the LGAs, CSOs and media. From DELGOSEA the partner directors and key consulting expert will participate. Such a conference will of course also strengthen the already existing network of LGAs and deepen the regional cooperation on issues of good local governance.


3. Final Conference

To stay on the topic of conferences, there will of course be a final conference, which we have moved to early August so that it can take place in one of our pilot cities in Thailand, either Pakkret or Chiang Rai. The discussions will be based on the final evaluation as well as the monitoring reports from the 16 pilot cities and internal reports from each of the partners involved in the project. Apart from sharing the results, there will also be a specific session on the lessons learnt along the way and how sustainability of the project results can be achieved. The two-day conference will gather the DELGOSEA project teams, partner and LGA representatives, representatives of the pilot cities, academia, media, national governments and CSOs who have been involved in the project from the beginning. How this informal network can go on growing and continue with the promotion of democratic local governance in the region will be another important aspect to be discussed.


4. Consulting and Monitoring of Pilot Cities

Still going on is the second round of monitoring and consulting of the pilot cities that has begun in October 2011 and is expected to continue until June 2012. All the cities are progressing well according to their individual schedules, having received feedback from the monitoring visits. For some this has led to slight adaptations of their implementation plans, others have received further training to overcome capacity deficits that were identified by the monitoring teams. The cities appreciate the close attention that is paid to each individual project and are keen to finish their replication successfully and on time.


5. DELGOSEA Publications

We at DELGOSEA have also been pressing ahead with publications. Newly available is a little brochure called ‘Best Practices at a Glance,’ which gives the main information on each best practice city on one page. This is a very easy and convenient way to introduce these cities and might be used to provide some first information on DELGOSEA’s concept to new and interested cities. Please get in touch with us if you need hardcopies: Communications-Office@delgosea.eu

We are also working on a handbook for best practice replication to provide more extensive guidance for cities on how to replicate best practices. Not longer than 20 pages, this booklet will be a general guide based on our experiences replicating best practices, i.e. it will not focus on individual cities. The guide is currently being reviewed by the LGAs and our partners; the publication is planned for late March.

Another set of publications in due in April. The reader and leaflets of this set of publications deal with sustainability of local governance projects in general and the DELGOSEA network in particular. We will announce the release of all our publications on the project website, Facebook, Twitter and in our monthly e-newsletter. To sign up for it, just send an empty email with the subject ‘subscribe’ to: Communications-Office@delgosea.eu


“Exciting months are ahead of us. Life in the DELGOSEA family means reflection, adaptation and development, reaching beyond individual cultures and backgrounds. We are diverse, but united in our aims and visions”, Susanne Stephan - DELGOSEA Project Manager