New international projects strengthen local democracy
Civic dialogues, an enhanced role for women in local politics, and gender-equal access to medical care. These are just some of the themes that will be addressed by the new municipal partnerships. “Every municipality that’s interested in strengthening local democracy has a great deal to gain from getting involved in a municipal partnership,” says Johan Lilja, Secretary General of The Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy.
The Municipal Partnerships programme enables local authorities and regions to work alongside a partner to support local democratic development in a number of prioritised partner countries.
A total of 25 applications from 12 Swedish and 17 international local authorities, regions or county councils were approved. Arvidsjaur, Mariestad, Piteå, Region Gotland, Skövde, Strängnäs, Umeå, Vänersborg Västerås, Västerbotten County Council, Växjö, Åmål.
“At a time when we’re seeing a shrinking platform around democratic issues, it’s more important than ever to invest specifically in developing civic dialogue and encouraging and empowering more women to enter politics,” says Carin Jämtin, Director-General of Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
Skövde will be working with Tbilisi in Georgia in a new partnership designed to develop civic dialogue. Both municipalities currently lack both a civic dialogue structure and expertise in this area.
Region Gotland and Kibaha Town Council in Tanzania have been working together since 2011 and have been given the go-ahead for a new project on the theme of Gender Equality, focusing on boosting women’s political participation. The partnership between Piteå and Chinsali in Zambia, which was established in 2013, will also be continuing to work on the same theme – strengthening the role of women in local politics.
The partnership between Vänersborg and Chobe district in Botswana will be focusing on waste management. Växjö will also be given the opportunity to expand its partnership with An Giang in Vietnam, where the focus is currently on developing water-related infrastructure and involving the local people in the process.
Västerbotten County Council and Homa Bay in Kenya are launching a partnership on the theme of health and medical care with the goal of enabling gender-equal and fair access to medical and health care measures for the local population.
Åmål and Dunhuang City in China, who have been working together since 2014, are also focusing on the theme of health and medical care in general. The specific focus of their new project is on developing a method for the ethical review of technology-related work in the care of the elderly in order to enhance elderly people’s opportunities for independent living.