Press Contact

Maria Jansson     +46 (0)498-29 91 57     maria.jansson@icld.se  


Champion of Local Democracy: Malin Atieno

“I am inspired by the success of women and children in our community. When I look back and see where I have come from, and then I see where I am now, I am motivated to work harder to help others just like I was helped”. We are honored to present Malin Atieno, in our series of personal portraits of people who are playing a significant role in the development of local democracy where they live.

ICLD’s Fieldwork Grant

ICLD offers up to 20,000 SEK to master’s students in Sweden carrying out field research overseas.

Municipal Partnerships second round of application 2019 is now open!

The second 2019 Municipal Partnership application round is now open until October 15th. Municipal Partnerships are Sida-financed and designed to contribute to the development of well, and efficiently functioning, democratic local authorities in both the partner countries and Sweden.

The opportunity to work at ICLD is a privilege!

Karin Melin is, since a couple of weeks ago, the new Programme Director for ICLD’s International Training Programmes. She succeeds Lars Lööf who has retired. Karin most recently comes from Save the Children, where she was responsible for planning, implementing and following-up about 100 humanitarian and long-term development projects around the world.

Call for mentor in Georgia for the training programme on human rights

The responsibility of an ICLD ITP Mentor is to support the participating teams in the work on their change projects during the ICLD training programme. The teams will be trained in the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) and encouraged to use this in the planning and execution of the change project. Deadline for applications: September 15th 2019

Local Democracy Academy 2019

In June 2019 researchers from around the world gathered for the first Local Democracy Academy organized by the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) in Umeå, Sweden. The objective of the academy was to discuss and present the latest research in the field of local democracy, explore directions for future research and foster collaborations.

Declaration of Interest for partnership from international municipalities

Please find below a list of municipalities looking for a Swedish partner to join the Municipal Partnership Programme:

Call for papers - Rebel Cities: Local Government and Global Challenges beyond 2030

We invite participants of ICLD Local Democracy Academy as well as others researching rebel cities and local governments to contribute to an edited volume/special journal issue with the theme ‘Rebel Cities: Local Government and Global Challenges beyond 2030’.

We search for National Mentor for Gender mainstreaming in Uganda

ICLD is making a call for a national mentor Uganda to support teams that will be accepted at the next cohort of the Advanced International Training Gender Mainstreaming Local democracy.

ICLD internship programme

Are you interested in local democracy, international development or human rights? Are you a master´s student at a Swedish university or newly graduated? Apply for an internship for the spring 2020 semester at our head office in Visby.

Internship opportunity

Are you interested in local democracy, international development or human rights? Are you a master´s student at a Swedish university or newly graduated? Apply for an internship for the spring 2020 semester at our head office in Visby.

Call for Policy Relevant Research Proposals on Local Democracy

ICLD is issuing a call for policy relevant research proposals on local democracy. The aim of the call is to better understand the role of local governments and local democratic institutions in addressing global challenges.

18 approved applications for the Municipal Partnership Programme

- The work to strengthen democracy at the local level is more important today than ever before. I would therefore like to congratulate all local governments approved for Municipal Partnerships in this round of application. Your dedicated efforts will make a true difference! Johan Lilja, Secretary General at ICLD.

Actions for Gender Equality in municipal partnerships

Robertsfors municipality and Machakos County in Kenya have made some pretty impressive progress on their Actions for Gender Equality municipal partnership project.

Champion of Local Democracy: Jenifer Wakhugu

"My mother used to be a rural woman with no exposure, but in the last 30 years she was able to join the local political leadership as a woman councillor at the district level and her life drastically changed. This inspired me to support any efforts that promote local democracy and women’s economic empowerment." We are honered to present Jenifer Wakhugu, in our series of personal portraits of people who are playing a significant role in the development of local democracy where they live.

Director of Research – one year employment

We are looking for a Director of Research – one year employment 50% (distance) to 100% (in Visby)

Igor Marsenic - politician and artist

– My commitment to local democracy comes from the belief that we can prosper only if we are tightly connected with the wider community. Those are the words of Igor Marsenic who is a politician in the Šabac City Council but also an artist. Igor is the third feature within our series of personal portraits of people who are playing a significant role in the development of local democracy where they live. We call them Champions of local democracy!​​​

Champion of Local Democracy: Restituta Kanoni

"- My focus is to help the community, especially to support women and promote women entrepreneurs and empower youth." These are the words of Restituta Kanoni. We are honered to present her in our series of personal portraits of people who are playing a significant role in the development of local democracy where they live. We call them Champions of local democracy!

What does inclusion really mean?

- For all people to have a place in a society, one must find a way in which everyone becomes visible and where everyone gets the opportunity to get their voice heard, says Sophia Alexandersson, artistic director at ShareMusic & Performing Arts.

Rajka Vujovic - Gender Champion

"- In the next five years I see myself working with young people and encouraging them to take responsability for themselves by becoming political leaders in the community!". These are the words of Rajka Vujovic - a true champion of local democracy! Through a series of personal portraits, we highlight people who are playing a significant role in the development of local democracy where they live.

Local Democracy Academy Umeå Sweden June 10 - 14 2019

The Local Democracy Academy brings together an international group of leading scholars, post-doctoral scholars, junior researchers, doctoral students, local policy makers and government officials for an intensive week of mutual learning, critical thinking and joint exploration of new ideas and approaches to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Findings from new ICLD studies – Sahelian emigration predominantly ‘south-south’ in nature.

This study is part of a series of four review papers that provide background for the research project  “Political Representation under a Changing Sky”, financed by ICLD. The project seeks to understand the multiple causes of climate-related migration from the Sahel towards Europe and the role of local political representation by local government in facilitating or moderating this migration. The study is titled "Trans-Saharan labour emigration from Niger".

Accountability - A Focus on Accountability and the role of local politicians

How do you address complex issues such as Accountability? ICLD visited two partnerships and were inspired by approaches such as working in political coalitions and clarifying the mandates of local - versus provincial levels.

Apply for Local Governance with a Rights Based Approach

The application for the advanced International Training Programme "Local Governance with a Rights Based Approach 2019–2020" is now open. This training aims to empower local and regional governments and administrations in Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.

Apply for Inclusive Political Leadership

Closing date for the applications to the advanced International Training Programme is February 28th 2019.

Updated: Guidelines and budget guidelines for the Municipal Partnership programme

The guidelines for the Municipal Partnership programme, as well as its budget guidelines, have been updated and have undergone some changes and improvements after dialogue with active municipalities.

Lodwar and Borlänge are facing similar challenges

Lodwar, Kenya and Borlänge, Sweden. Two different municipalities approximately 6000km apart facing similar challenges: how to successfully integrate refugees into their communities and set them on the path for fulfilling and productive lives.

The Role of Social Norms in Fighting Corruption in Local Governments

Regional Focus: Vietnam
Sustainable Development Goals #16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Time: December 2018 – December 2020

Eight international Master's students awarded ICLD fieldwork grants

Eight international Master's students studying at Swedish universities were recently awarded ICLD fieldwork grants. The 20,000 SEK grant enables students to conduct fieldwork research for their degree project for fiveweeks in a low- and middle-income country.

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.

Russian and Swedish cities face similar challenges

How can Swedish urban planning in Kiruna be relevant in the Russian town of Kostomuksha, 800 km to the east?
“We saw more similarities than differences,” says architect, Anne Faurskov, of AFARkitektur in Copenhagen.
And if you add Gällivare to the equation, the result is still the same.

Study says: Obstacles to reach gender equality

For the last seventeen years, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have been striving to institutionalize gender equity and equality.
This has been achieved by developing legal and policy frameworks, establishing institutional gender mainstreaming mechanisms and engendering national statistical institutions.
“Despite the advanced institutionalization of gender issues, the lives of women have not significantly improved during this period,” says professor Annika Björkdahl and Lejla S

Sustainable procurement – a beneficial partnership

The Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) has entered into a partnership with the German Development Institute (DIE) in order to learn about and be inspired by their work with sustainable procurement.
After a dialogue forum held in Bremen by DIE, ICLD’s Municipal Partnership Programme Director, Karin Norlin Bogren, had this to say:
“I’m pleased that Ale municipality took advantage of the opportunity to attend and I believe the foundations have been laid for a strong, m

Gender equality report launched with Advisory Group-meeting

On 6 November, the Advisory Group will meet and discuss ICLD's most recent research report, "Global talk - local walk: Sustainable Development Goal #5 on gender equality".

For ICLD:s new secretary general the mission is bigger than the operation

He might be new to the job, but he brings with him a lifetime’s commitment to democratic issues and a desire to develop.
“Democracy must be defended, but it also needs to be developed. Running an organisation that provides evidence- and research-based support for local democracy feels like one of the most important contributions one can make to combatting poverty and reducing conflict,” says Johan Lilja, the new Secretary General of the International Centre for Local Democracy.

Conference in Homa Bay on latest TI Kenya-survey

During ICLD’s “International Municipal Partnership Conference – Transparency in Local Government” Transparency International Kenya presented key findings from a survey conducted in 2016.
The survey established that there are low levels of awareness of the role of elected leaders among citizens.
“I think civic education, both before and after elections can create more awareness on the roles and responsibilities of the elected leaders,” says Yvonne Anyango.

Training programme inspired interactions

Twenty four participants from five African countries spent two weeks in Sweden in September as part of the 18-month long “Municipal Financing” training programme.
The programme entailed both training and experience-sharing in the areas of urban development, corporate partnerships, and innovation, and also addressed financial development outside of major conurbations.

Does local democracy impact emigration from the Sahel?

What are the reasons behind the wave of European-bound emigration from the Sahel? Why are so many people – young men in particular – leaving their homes, families and villages behind to undertake a perilous journey to an unknown future?

Partnership for better health care

Challenges and a knowledge gap exist at varying levels when it comes to recruiting and retaining healthcare workers in the most rural parts of the county.
Homa Bay and Västerbotten County share commonalities which led to an ICLD-course on how to successfully apply for a municipal partnership.
“It has been most helpful – the team was taken through the logical framework approach (LFA) for the plan and gained a greater understanding of what can be funded through ICLD,” says Gordonn Okomo,

Governing through development narrative in the era of 'Africa Rising'

Interrogating the county integrated development plan of Kisumu, Kenya.

The findings of the study indicate that ‘mosaic’ planning, public participation and narratives of devolution are the mechanisms by which power operates in the field of development in Kisumu county.

In the eye of the storm

A gendered study on climate change adaptation in small-scale farming in Thái Bình, Vietnam.

Vietnam is one of the countries in the world that is projected to be most impacted by climate change.

Exploring coordination in a multi-agency partnership approach to prevention of gender-based violence in Zambia

Lessons from the agencies' perception of the one-stop centre model of providing coordinated psycho-social and medical support to the victims.

Added value working with advisory experts

The Agenda 2030 sustainability goals does not need not be adapted to a local level. Rather, challenges at local level should be adapted to the global level. A workshop organized by the ICLD highlighted the importance of allowing local development projects to address local challenges.

Strengthen your brand by municipal funding

More than 130 people participated when ICLD organized two workshops with the theme "Municipal funding". The event took place in Cape Town, South Africa and Harare, Zimbabwe and addressed local and regional officials. The aim was to increase knowledge, create opportunities for networking between municipalities and also to offer an environment where experiences can be exchanged.

"Life Without Borders" break up isolation

"Life Without Borders" is an ICLD-funded project in Russian Karelia aimed at breaking the social isolation of persons with functional variability. This is done by increasing their participation in the social and economic life of the municipalities.

Kommunal finansiering bygger varumärket

Över 130 personer deltog när ICLD i juli arrangerade två workshops under temat ”Kommunal finansiering”. Eventen ägde rum i Kapstaden, Sydafrika och Harare, Zimbabwe och vände sig till kommunala och regionala tjänstemän.

In Borlänge differences strengthen global goals

“We like challenges” is one of Borlänge Municipality’s core principles. The Chairman of the Municipal Executive Committee, Jan Bohman (Soc. Dem.), is looking to Kenya to build a partnership that will support the town’s numerous Somali refugees.

“It’s controversial, given the ongoing integration debate in Sweden, but we need to think outside the box. I believe differences enrich and promote creativity, and my hope is that our approach and their expertise will enrich Borlänge,” says Jan.

ICLD söker vikarierande kommunikationsstrateg

Vi söker nu en vikarierande kommunikationsstrateg med lång erfarenhet som kan arbeta såväl strategiskt som operativt på ICLD, Internationellt Centrum för Lokal Demokrati, med arbetsplats i Visby. Läs mer i pdf nedan. Ansök senast 13 augusti.

ICLD is looking for a Research Coordinator

Are you a creative and innovative person with a good knowledge of current development research? Do you have a good ability to connect research and practice in an environment that works with global development issues? For you, we can offer an exciting work opportunity in an organization that works in an international environment.

Partnerships as Development Cooperation

The study explores the relation between policy and practice within a 12 years and counting SIDA funded municipal partnership between Växjö Municipality, Region Kronoberg in Sweden and JB Marks Municipality in South Africa. In investigating challenges and opportunities in the South African municipality – the study gains understanding on the processes of framing, anchoring and muddling through within the local government.

Talk about local democracy focusing on women's participation

Earlier this spring we received a question from the Lottapodden who was curious about what the ICLD does to engage women in democracy development around the world.

ICLD invites to events in Cape Town and Harare on Municipal Financing

Are you connected to local government in South Africa or Zimbabwe, and interested in Municipal Financing?

Application open for International Training on Municipal Financing

The International Training Programme on Municipal Financing is now open for application.

ICLD has the tools for working with 2030 Agenda

There are numerous ways in which Swedish local authorities can work with the 2030 Agenda. One method that is particularly effective is to get involved in a partnership in order to learn more and address some of the shared challenges we face. In an analysis, ICLD provides an overview of the organisation’s activities that are linked to the 2030 Agenda.

Good learning experience for visitors from JB Marks

They’re very ambitious, they have multiple goals, and many of their challenges are shared. When Växjö and JB Marks Local Municipality from South Africa talk about municipal partnerships, the strategic objective ranges across the entire Agenda 2030 map. “We’ve created a project focus that will give us opportunities for collaboration. What we now need to do is build support for and formulate a project application,” says Annika Ström of the Institute for Local and Regional Democracy (ID).

Inspiring experience regarding municipalities’ obligations

You could call Slobodanka Boba Dekic an LGBTI-activist. And that's what she is. She is also a powerful and important educator through her work as a lecturer on LGBTI-issues. “She talked about the rights and obligations municipalities have, and what they can do to become more inclusive. It was a great lecture and she has in-depth knowledge on the subject” says Anna Hedlund, Programme Officer for International Training Programmes at ICLD.

Human rights approach in action plan for Užice

The city of Užice in Serbia has a plan to create employment opportunities and make public spaces more accessible for people who are differently abled. The process began with participants in an ICLD training programme that had a human rights-based approach. The local council and civil society organizations now work close together.

The mentor and the student - friends for life and partners

They met five years ago in the ICLD-programme ‘Local Political Leaders – Capacitating Women in Politics.’ The mentor and the student – now friends for life and partners. “Empowering women has always been a major goal for me. Through the programme I could be of great help to women in other countries who wanted to become politicians and leaders. I liked the idea that we could share and empower each other,” says Gunilla Hjelm.

Agenda 2030 a given in all of Malmö’s partnerships

Malmö has a multicultural palette with which to work, with 181 nationalities represented in a concentrated space. This has obviously influenced the city, which lies on the threshold of Europe. “Separating global from local is virtually impossible here. Things that happen globally affect us too – that’s very apparent,” says Monika Månsson, a Project Manager for the City of Malmö’s Environmental Department.

Stronger personal data protection

On 25 May, the EU-wide introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, strengthened the way in which your personal data is protected. ICLD welcomes GDPR and is keen to ensure that you have every confidence in the way we process and store your personal data.

ICLD Integrity Policy

ICLD has developed a new privacy policy due to the entry of GDPR on May 25, 2018.

Students for sustainability

On the 23rd of May, ICLD arranged a workshop together with SWEDESD at Campus Gotland. At the workshop, nine master students who have received a grant to do fieldwork in one of ICLD’s countries of cooperation presented their essays on various issues related to local democracy.

Workshop in Belgrade for sustainable urban planning

A four-day workshop in Belgrade marked the start of ICLD’s international capacity development programme for urban planning – Enabling Local Democracy and Inclusive Urban Planning through the SymbioCity Approach. Twenty participants from the Ukraine, Turkey, Macedonia, and Serbia took part. “They were very enthusiastic, and we established a good working climate around the methods we taught them. We mixed lectures with group work and headed out into the streets,” says Ana-Karin Municio.

“Anything is possible with gender mainstreaming”

During the inception workshop of the brandnew ICLD traning programme Gender Mainstreaming Local Democracy in Kampala, a study-visit to Nansana Municipality was part of the agenda. Mayor Regina Bakitte Nakazzi and Daniel Kawesi, town clerk in Nansana Municipality, are satisfied with the outcome: “I learnt that good relationship between the mayor and technical arm is an enabler in the institution development”, says Regina Bakitte Nakazzi.

‘Know Your Neighbour Project’ can bring change in Lusaka

The ‘Know Your Neighbour Project’ encourages residents of Kapwepwe Ward in Lusaka to know each other, to invite a neighbor to community meetings and to actively participate in local governance issues. “I wake up each morning feeling positive that the initiative is the right one, and it is long overdue”, says Charity Kalombo, part of ICLD’s International Training Program “Inclusive political leadership.”

Many challenges for Zimbabwe after Mugabe

The ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnagagwa took over as President when Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule came to an end after a military coup in November of last year. However, Virginia Makanza, Midlands State University in Zimbabwe, says there are few signs of improvement at the moment. “We need to understand what change means and what it enables. It took 37 years to destroy the economy and the incumbent President cannot bring about change overnight” she says.

With concrete force for real inclusion in Užice

The change project in ICLD's training programme with human rights based approach, can be a guide for people with functional variations throughout Serbia.

Strengthening local democracy through gender mainstreaming

Robertsfors, Västerbotten in Sweden, and Machakos in Kenya, have made impressive progress within their ICLD Municipal Partnership and are now kicking off their latest project: Actions for Gender Equality. Since 2007, Robertsfors has been working on various youth and education projects with Machakos, during which time questions regarding equality and gender arose.

"Migrants don´t fall from the sky"

Earlier in February, ICLD's Knowledge Centre and Municipal Partnership Programme organized a joint workshop on migration and it´s challenges. "Migrants don´t fall from the sky" was the headline at the workshop was held in Lund.

A secure environment with a democratic certainty on #MeToo issues

The #MeToo testimonies have rushed like a thought provoking wave over the world and opened people’s eyes to a societal construct. Including in workplaces. “This is an important issue for us, both internally and in all the large groups of people we meet through our programmes and courses. These are natural issues in our day-to-day work, not just something we’re pinning to our operations,” says Olov Berggren, until just recently, Secretary General of ICLD.

What could be more important than something that affects every woman and every man?

Fair distribution of power, influence and resources for women and men is the fifth of the UN’s sustainable development goals. Many regard it as one of the most important goals and it is the focus of a new ICLD training programme. “I want to see gender equality analysis skills developed at the local level, together with a toolset that enables the integration of gender equality activities by local governments into their work,” says Aggripina Mosha, gender equality expert from Tanzania.

Many common points between Alingsås and Chililabombwe

Livingstone, in Zambia, was the meeting place for an international ICLD conference on municipal partnerships attended by politicians from Zambia and Sweden in December 2017. It was also an opportunity for ICLD’s steering group to share experiences and be motivated in their roles. “It’s exciting to find we have the same goals, but are working in different situations,” says Ulf Carmesund.

ICLD took democracy issues to Visby upper secondary school

Freedom, equality, fairness and freedom of expression were at the top of the list of important democratic cornerstones when Visby’s upper secondary school students had their say. Local democracy was on the agenda when ICLD invited them to attend an educational talk that encouraged them to debate and exchange ideas. “It’s important that I get involved in democracy work and don’t just believe that adults will fix it. Our views as young people are important, too,” says Malva Thaning.

Structure change in ICLD’s steering group for politicians

Political steering groups are an important part of municipal partnerships, and ICLD aims to strengthen their role and develop their content. “We’re aiming to clarify the role of the politicians in the steering group and inspire them to play an important role in democratic development within the partnership. The aim is to do what we did in Zambia – to organise conferences for the politicians who make up the steering group,” says Myriam Chilvers, Municipal Partnerships Programme Officer.

Sustainability goals have a long way to go before they reach municipal politicians

Attitudes towards gender issues have achieved an increasingly clear role in Bosnian domestic politics over the last 10 years. There is a national action plan, the institutions are in place, laws have been drafted, and policies and strategies formulated. “What it comes down to now is using the tools that exist, because the political will and financing are still somewhat lacking,” says Annika Björkdahl.

Academic meetings lead to strong strategic tools

Colleagues from ICLD’s Knowledge Centre travelled to Yogyakarta in mid-December for the second Advisory Group meeting of 2017, the first of which was held in Lund in May. During their visit to Indonesia, the Advisory Group (AG) met with representatives of ICLD’s Municipal Partnerships (MP) and International Training Programmes (ITP) for an in-depth study of the results of projects carried out there, and a look forward to future activities in Asia.

Transparency - Partnerships on the road to strengthened democracy

The following report describes, summarises and analyses the results followed up through the Internal Quality Assessment (IQA) in 2016 in the Municipal Partnership Programme at the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD).

ICLD in event at World Urban Forum

ICLD shares experiences of local democracy development linked to Agenda 2030 in a seminar in collaboration with Mistra Urban Future at the Word Urban Forum, WUF9, in Kuala Lumpur.

Equity and Inclusion - Why we don’t live in an equitable society

As much as 85-95 per cent of respondents agree that they want to live in an equitable society. So why have we never achieved this? Well, because we live in a society that is governed and maintained by the norms that support the existing power structure.

Equity and Inclusion - ICLD-workshop in Belgrade

For the first time ICLD went to Belgrade to arrange an International Municipal Partnership workshop. One of the objectives was to exchange experiences in Eastern Europe within the field of Equity and Inclusion. “What I found the most interesting was the dedication of municipalities and their motivation. Project and project objectives are also very interesting”, says Višnja Baćanović, director at Gender Knowledge Hub.

24 new international partnerships to boost local democracy

Borlänge and Lodwar in Kenya, Gothenburg and Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa and Växjö and JB Marks in South Africa are some of the new partners that recently got approval for their mutual projects within ICLD Municipal Partnership Programme.

New fieldwork programme to increase knowledge on local democracy

The Fieldwork Grant Programme is a newly-launched programme for Masters students at Swedish universities. The first intake of students has now been accepted. “We received lots of high quality applications with a good spread of countries and subjects. Many have clear links to our global goals, which was one of the assessment criteria,” explains Erik Nilsson, Programme Coordinator at ICLD’s Knowledge Centre. Of 18 applicants, 10 students will now be able to start planning their field studies.

New perspective for a young democracy after visiting Falun

A field trip to Falun can broaden the perspective in Georgia. “We’re doing great things, but we’re not the only ones, and we can learn from others. It’s good to have a bit of perspective, to listen to how other people are working and thinking. These meetings often create a ripple effect,” says Jenny Antonsson, Democracy Navigator at Falun Municipality. The Georgian representatives left Falun with newly acquired insights and concrete ideas.

Only benefits with mixed teams in new programme

In the ICLD international training programme “Inclusive political leadership”, mixed groups of local politicians, members of NGOs and sometimes local civil servants are teamed up. The aim of the program is to explore ways different actors can work together solving important problems in service provision at the local level.

International programme with mixed teams a new approach

The method isn’t a new one, but it’s virgin territory for ICLD. Seven teams with participants from five African countries will work together as part of an international training programme. “We believe in the concept and in the teams. It’s good to work with mixed teams when you’re tackling complex social problems,” says Astrid Nunez, Programme Officer for international training programmes at ICLD.

Mentors in political leadership challenge their own abilities

Ale Municipality, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia and South Africa have a great deal in common, despite the long distances between them. In her role as mentor, Paula Örn has been inspired by female leadership and democratic challenges to push new boundaries.

Urban services in Asia examined in new ICLD research

East-West Center and the ICLD has commissioned six country monographs on access to urban services for inclusive development. In December a regional workshop in Yogyakarta will examine main conclusions and recommendation of the country monographs. “I hope this can be a forum for the partner institutions to have a dialogue on deficits in urban services and how processes of local democracy are affecting access of the poor and marginalized groups to basic services such as water and sanitation,” says

New publication: Financing small and medium towns

During a regional workshop in Yogyakarta on access to urban services for inclusive development in Asia co-arranged by the ICLD and East-West Center a new ICLD publication was officially launched. The Research Report examines financing of small and medium towns in India using Action Resarch.

IQA – Face to face, on site encounters with democratic development

Face to face, on site partnership encounters in the place where the democratic development that ICLD finances actually happens, enable ICLD to gain a deeper understanding of the results reported. And to pick up on the results not reported. – It is only by understanding our partners’ needs that we can develop the programme and provide them with the proper kind of support,” says Rikard Eduards, Municipal Partnerships Programme Officer. Now you can access the IQA 2014 and IQA 2015 reports.

Workshop start to increased influence

An ICLD-workshop in Tanzania led to a women caucus in the South African City of Tshwane. “Immediately when I came back from the ICLD workshop I engaged with our Chief Whip of Council about the possibility of starting a women's caucus”, says Jordan Griffith, Policy Advisor to the Office of the Executive Mayor at City of Tshwane Municipality. The usefulness of a caucus started a chain of events – and the process of implementing a woman caucus is now on its way.

Sustainable changes start with the individual

To change your city, you may first have to change attitudes in your own family. During a workshop hosted by ICLD:s Municipal Partnership Programme in Belgrade the participants reflected on how easy it is to be gender blind and gender unconscious. “We need to start at an individual level to create a long-lasting change in their projects and in their cities”, says, Ana Maria Vargas, Research Director of ICLD.

Thinking outside of the box was a valuable lesson

Ordinary people matter and can make important contributions to policy and local development. That, and many more conclusions, is shown in a study about empowering local governments in Zimbabwe. The study confirmed the relevance of the ITPs regarding closing leadership gaps, building networks and enhancing participatory leadership – all critical to local development.

Sustainable urban oases a green point of Vračar

Street art, citizens participating in decisions and reconstruction of public spaces where some of the most interesting insights Ana Zelenovic brought home to Vračar from Borås. “The participation of any and every kind of social group of people in making decision regarding every-day life issues is essential”, she says. She believes public areas must become more coherent with citizens needs and sustainable regarding maintenance and saving energy.

Barriers to democracy in Kenya

They love their democracy and want to elect their leaders through fair elections. But corruption, power struggles, and electoral fraud are putting a spanner in the works. For Swedish diplomat, Inga Björk-Klevby, education is an important cornerstone in building a democratic Kenya. “Educating children is vital. They need to learn to make their own minds up, to learn from other people, and not to restrict their field of view to their own family. It will take time, but I am hopeful,” she says.

Focus on Equity and Inclusion at ICLD-workshop in Belgrade

For the first time ICLD went to Belgrade to arrange an International Municipal Partnership workshop. One of the objectives was to exchange experiences in Eastern Europe within the field of Equity and Inclusion. “What I found the most interesting was the dedication of municipalities and their motivation. Project and project objectives are also very interesting”, says Višnja Baćanović, director at Gender Knowledge Hub.

Kommun sökes för ömsesidigt partnerskap - Carl Olehäll

Master's thesis in political science - Lund University Spring 2017

Education – making you see with new eyes

For Agnes Sandstedt, her job is her life. Whenever she visits a new town, she sees it through the eyes of an urban planning architect. And a visit to Borås by a group of urban planners from Macedonia and Serbia inspired her and made her see her home town with new eyes. “Talking to fellow professionals about the challenges we face and the tools with which we work – but in a totally different environment and totally different context – is both really exciting and really useful.”

New publication: Policy brief by Jesse Ribot

ICLD's new publication "Choosing Democracy: Natural Resource Management for Environmental Policy Makers, Donors and Practitioners" by Jesse Ribot is aiming to assist policy makers in making decisions related to forestry.

Holistic understanding of development goals in Härnösand

With the goal to learn about project planning, ICLDs core areas and the thematic priorities of Sida, eight municipal partnerships from six different countries gathered in Härnösand 18-20 september. The training course was well received by the participants. Several of the attendees expressed that the course ‘connects the dots’ regarding how to plan and conduct a successful project that ICLD will appreciate.

Legitimacy, urban planning and sustainability in Russia and Sweden

Regional Focus: Russia and Sweden

Sustainable Development Goals: #11 and #16

Time: August 2017 – December 2018

Partnerships as a tool to make municipalities more inclusive

Swedish municipalities are clearly eager to identify solutions to the ongoing refugee situation. “Commitment levels are high, but there is also a lack of knowledge about how ICLD can help,” says Karin Norlin Bogren, head of ICLD’s Municipal Partnerships programme. This knowledge gap was what lay behind the panel discussion and subsequent workshop hosted by ICLD this summer with the aim of providing both inspiration and information.

Cross-border network to improve water quality

Global and local water shortages have resulted in discussions of whether a higher price tag should be placed on water. Cooperation is, however, another way of ensuring we are economical with our finite resources. The Kalmar County Regional Federation, Västervik municipality, the Russian municipality of Guryevsk, and the Kaliningrad region, have initiated a cooperation project designed to find ways of guaranteeing high quality, cross-border water supplies.

Alingsås and Chililabombwe - a mutually beneficial exchange

The Swedish municipality, Alingsås, is keen to identify new ways of providing information for and initiating dialogues with newly arrived refugees. The Chililabombwe municipality in Zambia has the same need to provide information, but its target group is people living in rural communities. The two municipalities are now working hand in hand in order to learn from one another and lay the foundations for sustainable democratic processes.

Mayor appointed to top job in global parliament

Grace Mary Mugasa, Mayor of the City of Hoima in Uganda was one of the founding mayors of the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM). Now she is a member of the Steering Committee. “I got excited to receive the good news of my appointment, but I also felt humbled and challenged”, she says. As a member of the Steering Committee she is an important ambassador for the GPM to the outside world.

Transforming the city from below: Localizing Grassroots initiatives, institutional entrepreneurship and inclusive urban governance

Regional Focus: Kenya Sustainable Development Goals: 11 Time: March 2017 – March 2019

Political and Social Inclusion in Asian Cities: Cases of Indonesia, India and Vietnam

Regional Focus: Indonesia, India, Vietnam
Sustainable Development Goals: #11
Time: November, 2016 to February, 2018

Localizing the Sustainable Goal of Gender Equality - The role of local government in translating SDG # 5 Gender Equality into policies and practices

Regional Focus: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sustainable Development Goals: #5
Time: January 2017 – June 2018

Climate or Economic Migration? Local Democracy and Vulnerability Reduction in Africa: Political Representation under a Changing Sky.

Regional Focus: Senegal and Niger

Sustainable Development Goals: #13 and #16

Time: January 2017 – June 2018

Oppression and exploitation reasons behind migration

Before we invest in fixing a problem shouldn’t we try to understand its causes? Jesse Ribot and his team of scientists and researchers say climate stress is not the main reason that young men and women are fleeing Africa. “The people we are working with in the Sahelian zone are oppressed and exploited. They are victims of an economy and political environment that systematically takes away any profits they generate – leaving them continuously destitute”, he says.

Creating inclusive cities for all in Kenya

What used to be a high-tension camp where fights could erupt out of nowhere now seems to be a settlement where refugees and people from the host community can live together in harmony. – We try to learn from our history and enable an inclusive city for refugees in a manner where the host community becomes integrated instead of creating an exclusive plan for the refugees, says Mark Ewesit, Chief Officer Ministry of Lands and Urban Planning, Turkana County, Kenya

Experiences on inclusion of refugees in Uganda shared in Almedalen

Refugees bring challenges to the cities, but they also bring possibilities. During a seminar in Almedalen, ICLD focused on the role of cities as frontrunners for the democratic inclusion of refugees. “The most important aspect is to accept the refugees as a part of us, a part of humanity, as brothers and sisters”, says Joseph Ssenyonga, City Council Member, Makindye Division, Kampala, Uganda.

International training programme for gender equality seeks national mentors

The ICLD is about to launch a new International Training Programme – Gender Mainstreaming Local Democracy – based on the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal no 5 – Gender Equality. The target group is governmental officials responsible for sustainable gender equality development in their local government.

Falun and Tsumeb in joint municipal partnership project for urban planning

A municipal partnership is strengthening international democratic efforts to boost participation by and the influence of individuals. Sweden’s Falun Municipality, together with Tsumeb in Namibia, is working to solve land development issues and urban planning in both municipalities. It’s essentially an issue of democracy: “Yes, it’s important that everyone’s needs are met. Both Falun and Tsumeb are experiencing rapid growth,” says Linda Varga, international coordinator at Falun Municipality.

Almedalen: basic needs before democratic work

One of the issues that will be addressed during the ICLD seminar in Almedalen is, “How do we create inclusive cities for all?” A pretty big question with no straightforward answers, but Susanne Hedlund, Refugee Coordinator in Botkyrka Municipality, has identified an important starting point: “Housing is really important. You need something of your own to come home to before you can get to grips with the other aspects of your life,” says Susanne.

Education created respect and a platform for development

The multi-year ICLD programmes in Zimbabwe were summarised in March in Harare when 82 people were invited to a full day of swapping experiences. “They told each other about their experiences of the programme and the difference it has made to their work,” says Shannon Lövgren, one of ICLD’s Programme Officers for international training programmes.

Democratic arenas need mutual learning

Want to change the world? Talk to young people. “We have to get used to listening and asking questions. Our western perspective isn’t always the best solution. The way we think limits us, but ICLD’s focus on mutuality and reciprocity is, I believe, important, particularly when you include young people in democratic arenas,” says Ana Maria Vargas, Research Director at ICLD’s Knowledge Centre.

Local top politicians’ network grows and makes its mark

Everything from intensive media coverage to the adoption of EU treaties on equal rights for men and women is up for debate in the wake of the leadership skills training for top female politicians “Local Political Leaders – Capacitating Women in Politics”.

The Young Republic offer democratic support for young refugees

The Young Republic wants to support young refugees to take part in democratic processes. – There is always an emergency-thinking about refugees, but we often forget that the majority of refugees have long-term needs. To be included and to participate is important, says Mohammed Al-Saud, The Young Republic. He believes in the solution they are working with – non-formal education, advocacy and research, all different pieces of the same puzzle.

Inclusive Municipalities for Refugees

During Almedalen ICLD is arranging the workshop: "Inclusive Municipalities for Refugees - What can Swedish, Ugandan and Kenyan municipalities learn from each other to foster the democratic inclusion of refugees?" for local politicians and civil servants from Swedish municipalities.

Almedalen: 10 ways to create a more inclusive city for refugees - Innovations from Sweden, Kenya and Uganda

During Almedalen 2017 ICLD focused on the topic refugees and the role of cities as frontrunners for the democratic inclusion of refugees. Watch the video from the seminar from 5th of July "10 ways to create a more inclusive city for refugees - Innovations from Sweden, Kenya and Uganda".

22 new international local democracy development partnerships

A total of 22 new projects have been given the go-ahead to develop and strengthen local democracy within the framework of the development partnership.

Mutual learning strengthens local democracy

A total of 60 people with a combined total of 300 years of political experience met at Moshi in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania to take important steps forward in their country’s democratic development.

ICLD’s research has a clear focus on the new global sustainable development goals

Four research projects have received financing and will be conducted between 2017 and 2018. The new global Sustainable Development Goals were discussed during the conference “The Future of Local Government in a New Development Agenda: Cutting Edge Research, Reality Changing Policies”, in Visby, 2016. As a result of the conference, ICLD approved four research projects within the themes of migration, gender equality, inclusive cities, and transforming the city from below.

Local Governance with a Rights Based Approach

The participants of the third round of the international training program “Local Governance with a Rights Based Approach” have now been selected. Georgians are the majority in this group but there are also participants from Serbia.

Why we don’t live in an equitable society

As much as 85-95 per cent of respondents agree that they want to live in an equitable society. So why have we never achieved this? Well, because we live in a society that is governed and maintained by the norms that support the existing power structure.

Together in Zimbabwe

Civil Servants and Politicians work together in Zimbabwe reach the Sustainable Development Goals. By combining the political will with administrative authority, ICLD is able to strengthen their local working relationship.

Call for mentors - Inclusive Political Leadership

The Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) is looking for five national mentors to the International Training Programme titled Inclusive Political Leadership (IPL).

New International Training Programme - Inclusive Political Leadership

The Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) is launching a new Advanced International Training Programme titled Inclusive Political Leadership (IPL).

Municipality of Chair – An inclusive municipality

Persons with disabilities in Macedonia are frequently marginalized in society and face numerous challenges in the enjoyment of their human rights. They are marginalized by the society, by their families and in many cases by themselves. – Expressing our rights and recognizing that we are valued members of society is essential so that we feel respected as citizens, says Sefer Selimi the president of NGO Shpresa.

Uganda – Tree nurseries in Hoima municipality

According to the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics (Uganda Statistical Abstract 2015) the country’s deforestation rate was 5,4 percent per year between 2005 and 2010. The rate seems to be increasing. A team from Hoima that follow the international training program “Municipal Financing Supporting Local Development and Local Democracy” now aim to create highly productive tree nurseries.

Lusaka - Slum upgrading

70% of Lusakas approximately 1,4 million inhabitants live in slums without proper access to basic services. Sanitation is here one of the worst problems. The capital of Zambia has 37 slums and the project run by Chongo Mangiza and Mwiche Mudala within the International Training Program “Municipal Financing Supporting Local Development and Local Democracy” targets Kanyama which is one of the biggest slums. The purpose of the project is to upgrade this slum area.

New Director of Research boosts knowledge and research

ICLD’s Knowledge Centre will receive a boost starting in 2017. The unit has a number of tasks, including providing financial support for research into local democracy, assisting the development of ICLD’s partnerships and training programmes on the basis of the latest research, and bringing together theoretical researchers and practitioners.

Training activities that are changing the world

Every year, over 1,000 people take part in one of the international training programmes run by almost 20 organisations and funded by SIDA. There are some 50 rounds of training in progress right now, and with seven programmes for politicians and administrative officials alike in over 20 countries, ICLD is one of Sweden’s largest organisers of training for sustainable change and democratic development. Recently all of Sweden’s ITP organisers got together at SIDA for a day of exchanging experience.

Networking meeting for top politicians in Uganda

40 or so politicians from 11 countries met up in early December 2016 in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. The majority of them were there at the conclusion to the ICLD course, Local Political Leaders – Capacitating Women in Politics, a leadership programme aimed at elected politicians at local and regional level. A number of Swedish politicians also attended in the capacity of mentors.

New Conception of the Citizens’ Service Center

Nino Latsabidze and some of her colleagues from Tbilisi City Hall participated in ICLDs ITP program “Local Governance with a Rights Based Approach” in 2015-2016. As part of the program they worked on a change project that aimed at developing the services towards the citizens of the capital of Georgia in multiple ways. The service model the team developed turned out to be very successful and is now replicated in other municipalities of the country.

Exchange on local democracy development

Over 60 percent of the municipal partnerships are collaborations between Swedish municipalities and their counterparts in African countries. Of those, Tanzania is one of the most common. There are many reasons for both practitioners and researchers to share experiences and challenges with each other about how the development of local democracy progresses.

Equal services for all citizens of Vracar municipality

As part of the ITP: Local Government with a Rights Based Approach - Irena Lakobrija Delic, organised a project addressing inequalities in how persons with any form of disability were treated. Irena presented her experiences at Sida's day for ITP-organisers in Stockholm on the 26th of January.

Theory meets practice in our Advisory Group

All of ICLD’s operations are based on facts and knowledge. Linking an Advisory Group made up of international and Swedish researchers to the Knowledge Centre allows ICLD to keep up to date with the latest research findings in the fields of local democracy and decentralisation.

17th N-AERUS Conference in Gothenburg

17th N-AERUS Conference: 2016 in Gothenburg. Governing, Planning and Managing the City in an Uncertain World. Cooperative Perspectives on Everyday Practices.

Programmes focusing on sustainable urban development

Town planners from Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine are taking part in a new training programme focusing on holistic and inclusive urban development through the SymbioCity Approach.

Tbilisi - Planning of city centre using SymbioCity Approach

A team from Tbilisi City Hall - the department of urban planning, participated in the first round of International Training Programme: Enabling Local Democracy and Holistic Urban Development through the SymbioCity Approach. During the training the team developed a plan for the development of one central area in Tbilisi.

New insights when partners take MP training courses together

Clearly defined problems are critical to the projects’ success and it is vital to involve all stakeholders in the process. These are just some of the key insights that the participants in ICLD’s…

Focusing on human rights

In November, 25 participants in ICLD’s international training programme focusing on human rights spent three weeks in Sweden in order to further their understanding of the four target areas, namely equality, participation, transparency, and accountability.

Agents for change, focusing on human rights

26 participants from 5 countries in Eastern Europe are currently visiting ICLD in Visby as part of our international training programme that focuses on local governance with a rights-based approach.

Democracies need strong women

Visby hosted the fourth round of the popular and much discussed training programme, organised by ICLD and aimed at leading female politicians from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

32 new international partnerships for municipalities and county councils

Hörby and Peja in Kosovo are developing a citizen dialogue on the subject of refuse collection. Västerås and Gabarone in Botswana are working with citizen dialogues and collaborations with trade and industry. These are just two of 32 new ICLD partnership projects.

Participation - Västerbotten and Yogyakarta – saving lives through citizen dialogues

Citizen dialogues have enabled the partnership between Västerbotten and Yogyakarta in Indonesia to identify ways of predicting outbreaks of dengue fever.

Participation - Why SKL invests in citizen dialogues and Municipal partnerships

Lena Langlet is responsible for citizen dialogues at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, SKL. She has identified a number of reasons why citizen dialogues are vital to Swedish municipalities and county councils.

Participation - A deeper understanding of the past builds a better future

Kalmar County Museum has developed a time travel methodology used by the Kalmar County regional federation and the Cape Winelands District in South Africa as part of their municipal partnership.

Participation - Criticism paved the way for dialogue

Hörby municipality’s partnership project with Peja municipality in Kosovo taught them the value of citizen dialogue.

Participation - Ale and Ghanzi are keen to see increased public involvement

Ale municipality already has a tradition of citizen dialogues, but has entered into a partnership with Ghanzi District Council in Botswana in order to further develop this approach.

Participation - Citizen dialogues are a must in handling today’s societal problems

Hans Abrahamsson on why globalisation, migration, and urbanisation require new democratic structures.

Applications for research support is now closed

Swedish and Russian researchers were encouraged to apply for funding of research into Swedish and Russian local government. This call is now closed.

Theory meets practice in our Advisory Group

All of ICLD’s operations are based on facts and knowledge. Linking an Advisory Group made up of international and Swedish researchers to the Knowledge Centre allows ICLD to keep up to date with the latest research findings in the fields of local democracy and decentralisation.

24 new international partnerships for Swedish municipalities

Växjö and Tlokwe in South Africa are working to improve ways in which measures targeting vulnerable families are coordinated. A partnership between three municipalities – Ale in Sweden, Budesti in Moldova, and Ghanzi in Botswana – will involve working together to improve young people’s participation potential, not only in schools but across society as a whole.

Well, to whom DOES the budget process belong?

For a change agent there are a lot of challenges. Especially when it comes to trying to change well-cemented structures like the budget processes in a patriarchal society. Someone who has had her fair share of meeting these challenges, is Rozeta Aleksov. One of the 25 participants in the second round of the International Training Programme “Local Democracy and Social Sustainability with a Gender Perspective”.

Effective Solid Waste management in Haldwani

A solid waste management system in Haldwani, state of Uttrakhand in India, started off as a project for change by Neeraj Joshi. Neeraj attended the ICLD international training programme Decentralization and Good Governance with a Gender Perspective in 2012-2013. Now it is the only one project sanctioned in Uttrakhand by the government of India.

Helping left-behind children

All over the world, people from rural areas are moving into the cities to build a future for themselves. In China, the escalating level of urbanisation has resulted in children being left in the countryside when their parents move to the city to work and make a living. These children are the focus of a project in which Vara municipality in Sweden and Huangshan in eastern China have developed methods of helping the children left behind handle the position in which they find themselves.

Building something that lasts

Long before there was a formal partnership between Vushtrri in Kosovo and the Swedish town of Växjö, the two towns had a connection. Around 1,000 Kosovo Albanians live in Växjö and in 2012, Vushtrri’s mayor paid a visit to the town. It was then that the plans for a joint project were hatched.

A toolbox for success

The first partnership between Gothenburg in Sweden and Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa was formed in 1999, since when a number of instructive projects have been conducted. In 2012, the two municipalities decided to take their partnership much further than ever before.