New Governance Empowers Cities Alliance
At its Annual Meetings in Ethiopia in November, the Cities Alliance adopted a new governance structure, empowering the the partnership and setting it up for a strong future.
The new governance structure includes a Cities Alliance Assembly, a Management Board, and the Secretariat. It also opens up the partnership to a range of new members in order to better represent the changing framework of international development aid.
In addition, the Cities Alliance activities will no longer be limited to countries on the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee list of aid recipients. The partnership will continue to make specific efforts to increase the focus on least developed countries and secondary cities, while mobilising the expertise of middle and higher income countries.
The new governance structure is the culmination of a series of reforms undertaken by members that began with a new business model in 2009, followed by a revised Charter in 2010 and a move to UNOPS as hosting platform in 2013.
“Having the governance structure approved is critical to empowering Cities Alliance to operate as effectively as it can in this crucial time for the urban community,” noted Alioune Badiane, Director of Programme Division at UN-Habitat, which chaired the final Consultative Group meeting in Addis. “UN-Habitat welcomes the new governance structure, and looks forward to an even stronger engagement as we move into this new chapter of the partnership.”
The Cities Alliance Assembly
The original governing body of the Cities Alliance, the Consultative Group held its final meeting on 7 November 2014. It will be replaced by the Cities Alliance Assembly, whose main function will be to serve as an effective global platform where a broad range of Cities Alliance members and partners will meet to engage on the main urban development issues.
The Assembly will be open to new constituencies, including the private sector, foundations, universities and knowledge institutions – potentially bringing important new stakeholders into the partnership to better represent the changing dynamics of international aid. This process will be managed through the creation of a standing Membership Committee.
In addition, there will be no more distinctions between national government members. While governments had previously been divided into “developed and developing” or, more recently, “urbanising or supporting” governments, they now will constitute a single constituency: national governments.
The Assembly will be chaired by an individual of global standing, to be selected by the members. It will also take over the function of the Policy Advisory Forum (PAF), which has been abolished. Instead, the Assembly may appoint Sr. Policy Advisors to advise the Assembly, Board and Secretariat for a mandate of three years, renewable once.
The Management Board
The Cities Alliance Executive Committee will be replaced by a new Management Board, which will be responsible for decision making for the partnership. The board will have a three-year term and will comprise a maximum of 15 members. It will be chaired by an independent and neutral chair, who can be selected from amongst Cities Alliance members or – for the first time – from outside of the Cities Alliance membership.
The new Management Board will be finalised at the first meeting of the Assembly, which is planned for 2015. Until then, the Addis meeting elected an interim management Board, comprising UCLG, Brazil, Ethiopia, UK, Germany, Sweden, Habitat for Humanity and UN-Habitat. Jean-Pierre Elong M’Bassi, Secretary General of UCLGA, was elected Chair of the interim Management Board, acting in his personal capacity.
The role of the Secretariat remains unchanged under the new structure. It will continue to implement the Cities Alliance work programme, manage day-to-day operations, and facilitate member participation in the partnership.