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Edegem (Belgium)-San Jerónimo (Peru): Town twinning, strengthening governance

30 January 2018

PLATFORMA has decided to reward the best city to city and region to region international cooperation projects. Twelve projects have been shortlisted out of 25 applications. This is how Edegem (Belgium) is presenting its project with San Jerónimo (Peru):

The town twinning project of strengthening governance between Edegem and San Jerónimo has three main outlines: good governance, social development and environment. Since 2004, both municipalities have been working very hard on those outlines. In the latest cooperation agreement between Edegem and San Jerónimo the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN are also included. Both municipalities are engaged to work on those goals by 2030 (SDG 16, 17).

Edegem and San Jerónimo are both ambitious municipalities. They want to be pioneers in the stated outlines. They spent a lot of time and energy in innovation (SDG 9). To work on such a goal they have worked out a system of strong communication. The two coordinators of the town twinning project know how to reach other by mail and social media. So, they can quickly suggest improvements within the running projects of the different policy areas.

The town twinning projects are profound sustainable, based on a mutual respect. Between both twinning partners there is a strong knowledge exchange (SDG 17). San Jerónimo has installed a new system of waste management with special attention for recycling plastic and composting organic waste (SDG 11). Further on there is special attention for biological agriculture as a full economy. That in a relation to a just system of regional planning and both rural as urban development (SDG 11, 13 and 14).

Edegem has been inspired by the profound and spontaneous solidarity of the citizens of San Jerónimo (SDG 3). An answer to the missing link in Edegem’s quest to stimulate that kind of solidarity between its own citizens. Also, there is special attention for vulnerable groups in Peruvian society like the Pututeros. An ancient group of indigenous people (SDG 10). Both municipalities acknowledge that there has to be a direct dialogue with their citizens to make their towns, and in general the world, a better place to live in. Strong people have strong communities with politicians that show authentic leadership. With administrations that do care for their citizens.

Another challenge is the implementation of digital governance. To maintain good governance ICT is necessary. Not only for the staff of the municipalities but also for their populations as a whole. The municipalities invest a great deal of time and resources in digital education (SDG 4). After a great deal of discussion, a mutual plan of action was approved by both parties. The town twinning projects are constantly monitored. Therefore, a profound evaluation is possible. Not only at the end of the projects but in between them as well. Therefore, we can present a strong partnership between Edegem and San Jerónimo both in the interest of their populations. Pioneers in good governance and improving the world.

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