[24 October 2016] -- Cities Alliance, together with United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have launched a new initiative to support local governments in the Asia-Pacific region in achieving sustainable urban development.
The City and Local Government Enabling Environment (CEE) initiative will support 30 countries in the region to identify and address gaps in policy, legal and institutional frameworks that are impacting the efficiency of local governments.
The initiative is a timely one. Urbanisation levels in region are expected to top 50 per cent by 2018, and cities in the region will need to adopt and implement sustainable urban development policies and actions to effectively harness the growth potential of the demographic change.
Local governments are expected to play a crucial role in this urbanisation process going forward as a result of decentralisation laws enacted throughout the region in recent years. The effectiveness of local governments, however, depends largely on the national policy, legal and institutional framework for city governments and the level of autonomy given to them by higher tier(s) of government.
This is where the CEE Ratings comes in. A rating will be assigned to each country based on in-depth quantitative and qualitative assessment using 12 criteria. The process will provide a situational analysis, highlighting the progress and constraints to effective decentralisation. It will outlines potential ways to improve implementation of decentralisation – helping local governments manage their effectiveness in the area of sustainable development.
The rating system also allows countries to draw lessons from better-rated countries and identify areas for urban reforms, and it will help local governments advocate with higher tiers of government for legislative reforms.
The initiative in Asia-Pacific draws on a very successful CEE Rating activity undertaken by Cities Alliance and UCLG in Africa from 2012 – 2015. It is also a key component of the Cities Alliance Asia Strategy, which aims to assess existing local capacities and legal and institutional framework for cities to deliver the intended impacts of ongoing major urban programmes.
Kicking off the CEE Ratings for Asia in Gunsan, Korea
The CEE Rating of countries in the Asia-Pacific region kicked off at an inception workshop organised by UCLG ASPAC 4 September 2016 in Gunsan, Republic of Korea. Sixteen Local Government Associations joined experts from UNDP and Cities Alliance to discuss the CEE rating process.
The participants also discussed changes to the proposed criteria and indicators within the context of various countries. At the conclusion of the workshop, the local government associations who will be undertaking the country-level assessments had a shared understanding of the objectives, assessment criteria, indicators, timeline, and outputs.
In addition to co-financing the initiative, Cities Alliance is also mobilising members for peer review of the country and regional assessments, sharing knowledge from the CEE Ratings process in Africa, and providing technical support.
The CEE Rating of countries in the Asia-Pacific region kicked off at a workshop 4 September 2016 in Gunsan, Republic of Korea. Photo: Ajay Suri/Cities Alliance
“The Local Government Associations found the CEE criteria to be an excellent diagnostic and advocacy tool for reforms in the national legal, institutional and policy environment for local governments.” -Ajay Suri, Cities Alliance Regional Adviser for Asia