The overall goal of all of the projects is to develop local democracy and thereby reduce poverty. Local governance, environmental and climate issues, and social welfare are some of the more common areas of collaboration. Kenya and China, followed by Botswana, Uganda, South Africa and Kosovo, are the countries in which the highest number of partnerships have been approved in this round of applications and acceptances. The projects are conducted within the framework of the operations of ICLD, the International Centre for Local Democracy, financed by SIDA (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).
“The UN has drawn up 17 new global sustainable development goals, and they must be achieved by everyone, everywhere. The municipal partnership programmes are an excellent way of working together across national boundaries and having a direct impact on people’s everyday lives,” says Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, SIDA’s Director General.
There are, in addition to the 32 new projects, a further 70 partnerships that have been running for several years now. Around 60 Swedish municipalities, county councils and regions are involved and have applied to the municipal partnership programme, along with their equivalents in the partner countries. The project grants range from SEK 300,000 to SEK 500,000 per year and the partnerships run for between one and three years.
A number of trends are apparent amongst the new projects awarded funding. Many of the partnerships have, for example, chosen to develop citizen dialogues as a way of improving municipal services, to focus on vulnerable groups in society and to highlight the importance of women’s involvement in development partnerships.
ICLD works with four core areas in order to promote the development of local democracy, and they are reflected well in the new projects.
“The local level is strengthened through these partnerships and we are seeing a long-term increase in inclusiveness, participation, transparency, and accountability in the participating municipalities and regions,” says Karin Norlin-Bogren, Programme Director for the Municipal Partnership Programme at ICLD.
The following municipalities, county councils and regions have been awarded funding for one or more projects: Borlänge, Borås, Falköping, Filipstad, Gävle, Hultsfred, Härryda, Hörby, Kalmar, Malmö, Sandviken, Skellefteå, Vara, Vimmerby, Västerås, Växjö, Västernorrland County Council, and Region Gotland, Region Dalarna, Region Kronoberg and Region Västerbotten.