Sharing knowledge on municipal development

Project description

Title: Sharing of knowledge between municipalities in the Maghreb and Germany
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Intérieur (Ministry of Interior) in Morocco and Tunisia, Ministère de l’Habitat, de l’Urbanisme et de la Ville (Ministry of Housing and Urban Development) in Algeria
Overall term: 2016 to 2018

Context

Countries in the southern Mediterranean region have some of the highest urbanisation rates in the world. The political situation has changed since the Arab Spring of 2011: more than ever, the population is hoping for better living conditions, more jobs and new structures which enable citizen participation.

The current reform processes are confronting municipalities in particular with increasingly complex tasks in order to meet citizens’ demands for efficient services, affordable housing, security, mobility, political participation and special support for disadvantaged groups such as young people and women.

Up to now, only large towns and cities – which are the focus of state funding and benefit from international links – have had the necessary resources and appropriate personnel for efficient, participatory and citizen-centred management. Having established partnerships with German towns and cities, they are able to avail themselves of the experience accumulated in the course of the long tradition of local self-government in Germany. Thus far, small and medium-sized towns and cities in the Maghreb have been largely excluded from international networks and the resulting transfer of knowledge.

Objective

Small and medium-sized towns and cities in the Maghreb and Germany share knowledge and experience on issues relating to municipal development.

Approach

Up to 25 towns and cities in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria are partnered with German municipalities, and also administrative districts, associations of municipalities, special purpose associations and other organisational forms of local self-government. Different areas of cooperation – such as mobility, energy efficiency, waste management and good governance – enable the participation of civil society organisations in the Maghreb and Germany which are committed to improving municipal services. Unlike traditional town twinning initiatives and local development partnerships, the aim is to promote a wide range of cooperation forms. Together, the municipal partners plan small-scale projects which they implement in the Maghreb. The resulting transfer of knowledge and establishment of cooperation arrangements at municipal level support decentralisation reforms in Morocco and Tunisia, and political liberalisation in Algeria. In the long term, the project can contribute to counteracting trends towards radicalisation.

Since the project calls for activities in Germany and close cooperation with German municipalities and their umbrella associations, it is being carried out in conjunction with the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) of Engagement Global gGmbH.

The small-scale projects are proposed by communities in the Maghreb to ensure that they are geared to their needs. Projects are selected in collaboration with the three lead executing agencies in the respective countries on the basis of criteria such as gender equality and citizen participation. They are carried out jointly by the German and Maghreb towns and cities. Examples include activities to improve the equipping of socio-cultural facilities, to enhance urban areas such as green spaces, parks and playgrounds, and to upgrade household waste disposal and municipal sanitation services. Modernisation measures such as the introduction of e-government and document management systems can also be implemented to improve the quality of municipal services.

By working together to develop solutions, the German towns and cities acquire knowledge about the challenges facing Maghreb municipalities and the resources available to them. Knowledge is shared through workshops on designing and implementing small-scale projects, specialist events, study trips and temporary placements.