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CONNECT: it’s all about sharing local expertise

1 June 2016
There was a massive interest for the new CONNECT project, presented for the first time at the European Development Days 2016 (EDD) mid-June in Brussels. This new mechanism developed by PLATFORMA & VNG International – to be launched next spring – will allow towns and regions in developing countries to find partners in Europe, and beyond, with relevant expertise to support their actions and their development.
Thanks to CONNECT, local and regional governments struggling with a specific problem will easily find people who have the solution. An expert assignment or meeting, a temporary work placement or a group visit will be organised to solve the problem.
There is no doubt that towns and regions around the world will have to play a significant role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their experience and practical knowledge on fighting climate change, strengthening good governance and fostering sustainable urbanisation must be mobilized worldwide as a valuable tool for global development!
PLATFORMA at EDD sessions
This idea was also reflected in EDD sessions at which PLATFORMA took part. Representing PLATFORMA, CEMR Secretary General Frédéric Vallier delivered an introductory speech during a workshop on “New cooperation models for cities in the age of the Sustainable Development Goals: How to develop true reciprocity in international cooperation between cities?”. He especially insisted on the notion of “reciprocity” in development partnerships: the partnership should concern a field of cooperation where both partners have a certain level of expertise, to avoid a donor-recipient relationship. He also highlighted the benefits of multilateral networks: “you can learn from one partner while another learns from you”. Furthermore, to address the universal character of SDGs, he assured the audience that partnerships can make the interconnectedness between territories very evident.
Juana López, Director of International and Development Cooperation in FEMP (the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces) spoke on behalf of PLATFORMA at another session on the importance of involving the civil society in local implementation of SDGs. She criticized the fact that for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), local and regional governments were not treated as real actors. She underlined the need to recognize the work of UCLG and the Global Taskforce (GTF) in the advocacy of the crucial role of the local and regional authorities and their association in the SDGs process. She also stressed that developing a roadmap and a toolkit to localize the SDGs was essential.
References were made to the importance of local action at many other sessions but – sadly – without including the voice of local and regional governments.
More about CONNECT in video.
The huge interest for CONNECT and PLATFORMA stand at EDD 2016 in pictures.
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