July 21, 2015     cib    

Public-private partnerships are a solution to challenges related to sustainable urbanisation. That was the conclusion of the the Responsible Cities Conference, which took place on 27 May 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey.

As the world population is undergoing rapid urbanisation, local authorities will have an increasingly important role to ensure sustainability in their territories. This touches upon a variety of other challenges, related to: sustainable urbanisation, rural-urban migration, employment as well as economic development, gender equality, access to education, and the reduction of greenhouse gases emission.

The Conference served as an important platform where representatives of local authorities and representatives of private sector could meet and work towards creating partnerships  for ‘’responsible cities.’’

Throughout the conference the importance of public-private partnerships was stressed and given substance by the presentation of various examples of such partnerships in action in several Turkish municipalities including Beylikdüzü, Karşıyaka, Pendik and Beyğolu. During these presentations, several good practices of Corporate Social Responsibility were shared.

During the opening session, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mr. Mehmet Duman underlined that the private sector should fulfill its responsibilities in becoming a partner of local authorities. UCLG-MEWA strongly believes that urbanisation trends will have large consequences for systems of governance. It is probable that local authorities will gain in importance due to their intimate connection to urban areas and their populations. A responsible local authority must be able to address the developments in their cities. However, the challenges they face due to the high pace of urban growth are too numerous and daunting for local governments to face on their own. Therefore, private sector should take responsibility to ensure, in concert with the public sector, that the needs of the urban populations are met and it is ready to do so.

Relevant funding resources and human coverage can only be achieved through this cooperation between public and private sector at local level. Thus the Responsible Cities project will continue to organise workshops to help concretize new partnerships throughout Turkey.

The conference in Istanbul was co-organised by the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey (CSR Turkey), UCLG-MEWA, and the World Academy for Local Government and Democracy (WALD).