December 18, 2020     cib    

On the 15th of December, 50 participants joined the last CIB activity of 2021: the work session on the CIB work plan 2021. Members gathered to discuss the latest developments and priorities for next year.

Looking back on 2020

In the opening of the meeting, Peter Knip, director of VNG International and chair of CIB, looked back on 2020, mentioning that this has been a tough year for all. He praised everyone’s resilience throughout this year and applauded the fact that the local government development sector has done a lot to adapt and innovate ongoing international capacity programmes, to make sure that we could still support our partners abroad, despite the changed context. Peter also mentioned some highlights of the CIB work in 2020:

  • CIB managed to organize a large digital CIB annual meeting in June, which was entirely dedicated to the topic ‘impact of COVID-19 on local government development cooperation’. Break-out sessions at this event discussed how we can build a common narrative in times of crisis and beyond, how we should adapt our ongoing international programmes and how we make sure that we support the most vulnerable populations, also in times of COVID-19.
  • The outcome of the online CIB annual meeting was a draft CIB joint position on the continued need for local government development cooperation in times of COVID and beyond, linked to the UCLG Decalogue for the post-COVID-era. This position includes recommendations to our own network, to national governments and to the international donor community, and was validated by members throughout the Summer – making it a true CIB position paper.
  • This paper also served as a basis for the high-level conversation between implementers and donors which took place on the 8th of December; a rich and interesting conversation with representatives from Ministries of Foreign Affairs and international donor organisations, which will see follow-up next year.
  • Aside from the COVID-19 related activities, CIB also continued the structural exchange on advancing gender equality through our capacity programmes, in 2 important webinars (see here and here) and co-organized three webinars on SDG reporting for Local Government Associations. Furthermore, we published a publication on SDGs and decentralised cooperation with the support Region of Catalonia, which served as important input to the UCLG SDG module 4 on SDGs and decentralised cooperation which will be launched soonest. Last but not least, we provided input to various UCLG events, policy work and modules and strengthened our communication towards the membership, to make sure we stay connected.

After mentioning these highlights, Peter invited CIB members Elena Pierce (FCM), Bert Janssens (VVSG), Jordi Cortés (City of Barcelona) and Lance Joel (SALGA) to look back on their year ánd mentions which CIB activities they most look forward to in 2021, based on the draft CIB work plan 2021 which had been circulated prior to the meeting.

Reflections by Emilia Saiz on the work and priorities of CIB

Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, closed to plenary opening, underlining how nice it is that the CIB members truly feel part of a community and that CIB is in fact one of the policy shaping mechanisms of the bigger UCLG organisation. She also mentioned that CIB and UCLG should maintain their eyes on the bigger objective : the role of local government in development cooperation. “The discussion between donors and implementers on the 8th of December was a great start – we need to to advance this dialogue, among which through the development of your renewed version of the policy paper on Development Cooperation & Local Govenrments, in 2021”.

In-depth sessions on gender, SDG learning and reporting and COVID-19 response

Members then separated into three break-out sessions, to exchange ideas on and give suggestions to the CIB work plan 2021, around the following three topics:

  • Gender in international programming – a conversation amongst CIB members on capacity development needs (moderated by: Stephanie Hoey, FCM) – (EN)
  • Working on the SDGs at local level – learning and reporting towards the HLPF 2021 and discussion on the role of the CIB Secretariat (moderated by Jessie Post, CIB secretariat) – (with interpretation: EN/FR/ES)
  • COVID-19 response in our international programmes and activities – and the effects on our own organisations in the past and coming year (moderated by Eline Vermeer, Project Manager, VNG International) – (EN)

CIB member organisations validated the draft work plan and came up with great additional ideas for activities and priorities.

Next steps

The CIB secretariat will make sure that your ideas and suggestions enter into the final work plan 2021 as much as possible, which will be distributed to all members in January 2021. If you see opportunities for financial support to our Working Group, this allows us to be even more ambitious. Please get in touch about this by emailing