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Parallel Event

The Future of City-to-City Cooperation

Today, Thursday, 7 June 2001, more than 100 mayors and representatives of associations of local authorities and international development support organisations met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss the Future of City-to-City Cooperation. The meeting was organised by the United Towns Organisation (UTO/FMCU) on behalf of the World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC) in collaboration with United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat).

Mr. Joan Clos, Mayor of Barcelona, Spain, and President, World Association of Cities and Local Authorities Co-ordination (WACLAC) chaired the meeting which was opened with an address presented on behalf of Mrs. Annna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Executive Director, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat). Other panellists included Mr. Reinhart Helmke, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS); Mr. Carlos Zeferino Torreblanca, Mayor of Acapulco, Mexico, and President of Association of Local Authorities of Mexico (AALMAC); Mr. Christian Feuillet, Deputy President of Ile de France, France; Mrs. Mary Jane C. Ortega, Mayor of San Fernando, Philippines; Mr. Peter Anthony Mavunde, Mayor of Dodoma Municipality, Tanzania and Chairman, Alliance of Mayors in Tanzania and Alliance of Mayors in Africa for HIV/AIDS; and Mr. Yves Ducharme, Mayor of Hull, Canada. Mr. Marcelo Nowersztern, United Towns Organisation (UTO/FMCU) served as facilitator.

The panellists reviewed the realities of city-to-city cooperation in light of their own practical experiences and highlighted the many benefits to be attained and critical bottlenecks to be removed. Each in their respective area of experience drew practical, forward looking conclusions as a contribution to concrete joint follow-up. Many interventions from the floor added to a diverse range the experiences but, in the end, arrived at very similar conclusions to those contributed earlier by the panellists. The time of the meeting was approximately equally divided between statements from the panel and interventions from the floor. In the end, there was general agreement that city-to-city cooperation results in tangible benefits for local authorities and their citizens through peer-to-peer exchange of operationally relevant information and experience. There was also agreement that many opportunities remain for further developing the potentials of both city cooperation practice and of the support available to cities for this cooperation - especially by more fully exploiting the convergence of development practice and the new partnership between the associations of local authorities and the United Nations.

Many interventions commended UTO/WACLAC and UNCHS (Habitat) on the publication entitled "City-to-City Cooperation: Issues Arising from Experience" which was launched during the meeting. The approach taken by the report was endorsed by both panellists and speakers from the floor, as was the way forward recommended in the final section of the report. Accordingly, participants from cities, associations of local authorities and international support programmes agreed to work towards launching a standing forum on city-to-city cooperation, which will bring together city representatives, support organisations and donors on a regular basis. As the next practical step, and in order to prepare for the first meeting of this forum, Habitat and WACLAC/UTO will organise a round table meeting during the next International Forum on Urban Poverty (IFUP) hosted by the city of Marrakech, Morocco, in October 2001. The round table will also address the development and maintenance of an authoritative inventory of the state of the art of city-to-city cooperation within a structure which will allow continuous updating and refinement of information and which will serve as a reference framework for future policy development by all relevant actors.

 

2001 UNCHS