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DELGOSEA Proves Inspirational for South Asia

DELGOSEA Proves 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.

Gathering high-level decision-makers responsible for local government in South Asia, including ministers, presidents and secretary-generals of local government associations (LGAs) as well as representatives of UNDP and regional partners of the Commonwealth, this consultative meeting was designed to share and exchange good practices on decentralization and local economic development (LED). Identifying common regional priorities in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region was another aim.

Atik Kumala Dewi, the strategic services manager of UCLG ASPAC, one of DELGOSEA’s main institutional partners, presented the experiences of the DELGOSEA network in cooperating and exchanging best practices across borders, which was of great interest to the assembled LGAs. The forum participants were keen to explore appropriate regional mechanisms of LED as well as strategies to develop a regional local government forum in South Asia. Ms Dewi highlighted the need for twinning amongst local government and shared some of the features of the DELGOSEA network, including its advocacy activities to the ASEAN Secretariat.

While the South Asian region faces its own unique challenges, the DELGOSEA approach inspired the policy-makers present who reached the conclusion – amongst others – that local governments in the region need to set up a regional platform in SAARC to be involved in the decision-making process about local economic development. National governments should support local governments in implementing LED through establishing policies and ensure that there is a clear division of roles and responsibilities between each level of government as well as adequate funds for local governments. DELGOSEA members can only agree.