The DELGOSEA Network is up and Running Again

The DELGOSEA Network is up and Running Again

The first brainstorming and planning workshop of the DELGOSEA network (now known as DELGOSEA II) took place in Bangkok on 19 and 20 February 2013. 20 representatives of the original project partners, joined by H.E. Bagas Hapsoro, the former Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, had some intense and fruitful debates on the future of the network.

The aims of the workshop were twofold: First of all, the network members were keen to exchange information on activities initiated by the former pilot cities, LGAs and other network members since the EU co-funded phase of the network ended in October 2012. It emerged that all pilot cities are still continuing their activities, with some of them expanding their scope and becoming best practices in their own rights – an excellent development!

The second focus was on the communication and advocacy activities of the network until the end of the year. How can network communication be kept up and intensified, how can the best practice exchange be extended and facilitated, what help can the communication office in Manila offer to the network members? How can the national and regional advocacy work be continued and intensified?

The room was abuzz with ideas how to strengthen network communication and keep up the exchange of best practices. This ranged from suggestions to link DELGOSEA’s database of best practices to similar databases already in existence and to actively document new best practices, to plans for sharing new knowledge and capacity building opportunities via the DELGOSEA website/Facebook group and informing members of funding opportunities in relevant thematic areas. While the network is not able anymore to arrange study tours to best practice cities or conduct capacity building workshops, it can certainly assist with the organisational aspects and put people in touch with a wide range of expertise – that’s what networks are for! 

At least as important is, of course, the question of how to continue with DELGOSEA’s advocacy work for good local governance to be recognised on both the national and the ASEAN level. One of the challenges for the network is how to move from the micro-level (contacts between cities) onto the macro level (national and regional policy changes). DELOGSEA has already reacted to that challenge by establishing a Standing Committee within UCLG-ASPAC with the responsibility of monitoring ASEAN and conducting advocacy activities. There will also be two annual dialogue workshops with representatives of ASEAN to discuss relevant issues, such as the extension of ASEAN, climate change or decentralisation to name but a few.

Currently, the Standing Committee consists of seven members from the original five DELGOSEA countries; it is planned to extend the membership to make it representative of the whole of ASEAN. The long-term aim is to establish a formal relationship with ASEAN and to have some influence on the ASEAN agenda as far as local governance is concerned. 

For now, however, the original DELGOSEA partners were happy to see the network active again and went home with ideas of how to continue and expand the cooperation. Two network meetings are planned each year to help keep up the momentum, in addition to the two dialogue workshops with ASEAN.

For more news on DELOGOSEA II see:

Introducing DELGOSEA II - the Next Phase of the Network

The Future of the DELGOSEA Network