June 25, 2020     cib    

On the 17th of June, the CIB secretariat facilitated a first online CIB annual meeting, with more than 150 participants from all around the world. Practitioners working on international programmes at local government associations and individual cities gathered to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on local government development cooperation. outputs from the meeting will be assembled in a joint position, aligned to the UCLG Decalogue.

Financial, economic and social consequences of the crisis
During the opening of the CIB annual meeting 2020, CIB chairs Peter Knip (Director of VNG International) and Sebastien Hamel (Executive Director of FCM programs) underlined that the COVID-19 outbreak is having large consequences for local governments all around the world. Peter Knip: “The impact on local governments in partner countries is huge. In financial terms, but also in terms of social impact: we witness an increase in domestic violence, sexual abuse etc. and human rights and local democracy are at stake. Last but not least, we also see the economic impact already: lacking or decrease of income, the impact on the informal sector, which is huge in developing countries, and the first signs of collapse of the (local) economy“.

Building a new narrative
The CIB chairs emphasised that the CIB network should build a case for local government development cooperation, also in this context. “We should avoid that all development budget will be channelled to emergency response, humanitarian assistance and multilateral organisations, thereby bypassing local institutions”. In an earlier discussion with a group of directors of CIB member organizations, it was decided that we should build a new, common narrative as a sector, and make this available to national governments and the international donor organisations. Emilia Sáiz, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments, welcomed this initiative, while underlining that this narrative is not new, it just needs to be repeated in a different context. Sáiz welcomed that CIB plans to link the joint position to the UCLG Decalogue on the post-COVID era.

6 break-out sessions, 6 challenges

The break-out sessions of the CIB annual meeting facilitated discussions around six challenges which COVID-19 poses to our field of work:

  • Showcasing the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations (including women and girls) in local communities (led by: CILG & the city of eThekwini)
  • Building a common narrative: dialoguing with the international donor community and national governments on role of local governments in the crisis response and aftermath (led by: VNG International, CUF)
  • Adapting your ongoing international programmes between local governments: from international travel to distant technical assistance (led by: ALGA, ICLD)
  • Stimulating local economies – how to enhance local economic development in the post-COVID-19 context (led by: FCM, SALGA, FAMSI, FCM Colombia, city of Xi’an)
  • Building back better: how to build resilience, while safeguarding local democracy and inclusive public governance? (led by: UCLG, UMT, UCLG ASPAC, VNG International)
  • Exploring new options for financing international cooperation between local governments and how to access those (led by: FCM, UCLG)

Various CIB members made a large contribution to the sessions, based on their own experiences and lessons learned. The moderators of the sessions identified follow-up actions and possible input for the joint position. These will figure in the final report of the meeting, which will be made available at the beginning of July.

Next steps
The outcomes of the break-out sessions will be used to formulate a joint position on COVID-19 and local government development cooperation in the weeks to come. A draft will be shared with CIB members in July.

The CIB secretariat is also exploring options for co-organising a UCLG Live Learning Event on this topic, for more visibility for the joint position and space for further discussion. Stay tuned for more information on this, by following our Twitter (@UCLG_CIB) or registering for the CIB newsletter here.