I’ve just returned from having been invited to speak at a workshop “Local democracy today and tomorrow – Learning from global knowledge and practices” that the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) held at its premises in Stockholm, Sweden, on 5-6 November 2014.
The purpose of the trip was to share our approach to participatory local democracy (and, particularly, our 2014 report) at a gathering of representatives from some of the leading organizations in the field. I also hoped to gain some insight into future funding sources for our work in this area.
See my photos at http://bit.ly/jcidea.
International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization of 29 member nations. Most of IDEA’s work focuses on national democracy, but it has provided numerous handbooks and assessment guides on local democracy, and is exploring what to do next. It is headquartered in a lovely old building that sits on its own island.
Other key organizations at the meeting included the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, the Varieties of Democracy project, ICLD – the SIDA-funded International Center for Local Democracy, Forum Syd and two groups I’ve worked closely with, UCLG and ALDA. There were delegates from Tunisia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Botswana, Bolivia, UK, US, Sweden and all are now on our mailing list.
THP was well received and appreciated – I had the opportunity to present our work, distribute and discuss our report, and serve on a panel. What seemed to be most appreciated was the positive spirit of THP in an otherwise fairly academic discussion.
A primary outcome was the establishment of new working relationships, particularly in the intergovernmental sphere. The opportunity going forward with this network may be to share specific THP empowerment methodologies with both civil society platforms and ministries of local governments.
(Group photo courtesy International IDEA)
On the day after the meeting, I had the opportunity for private meetings at IDEA and ForumSyd – where I met their secretary-general – to get their thoughts on partnership opportunities that we will follow-up. I also had the pleasure of presenting an update on THP’s role with the Post-2015 agenda to THP investors and visit our Stockholm office and staff.