Municipal Partnerships for Human Rights

To support municipalities in improving their protection of Human Rights (HR) at the local level, the ICLD has launched a new format for Municipal Partnerships. Selected municipalities in Sweden and the Southern Africa region will be matched by ICLD and conduct a three-year project on a topic of their choice related to Human Rights. The municipalities will receive support from ICLD and be able to network and exchange experiences with each other to reach both individual and joint goals.

Human Rights at the local level

Human Rights and democracy are facing new sets of challenges across the world. Many local authorities have become aware of the important role they play in their local areas of authority to forward and protect the Human Rights of their citizens. In Sweden, important steps have been taken by The Swedish Association for Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR/SKR) and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute through their HR-plattform.

From the ICLD’s perspective of strengthening local democracy, a pressing need to increase knowledge, experience, and exchanges on Human Rights at the local level has been identified. Therefore, ICLD has developed a new form of collaboration for municipalities and regions to enter results-oriented partnerships based on projects that will improve their ability to protect the Human Rights of their inhabitants. In the three-year pilot project, Municipal Partnerships for Human Rights will be granted access to expertise, valuable exchanges of experience, and support resources to take their organisation’s capabilities in the Human Rights-area to the next level.

More partnerships – Greater exchanges

In the Human Rights partnerships, a few selected Swedish municipalities are matched with a partner from Southern Africa, primarily from Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. The ICLD will be able to support you in finding the right partner. Together, the partners will plan and conduct a project on a topic related to Human Rights, such as accessibility, gender equality, minorities’ rights or inclusions of youths in accordance with the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The participants will strive to achieve results in their specific project area, while also contributing to overall results that are set for all Human Rights-partnerships in dialogue between ICLD and the participants. All partnerships will have exchanges with each other during joint training sessions, activities and through a digital platform. Funds from the Swedish Development Aid Agency (Sida) cover expenses such as travel, board and lodging, interpreting, auditing and wages for Swedish participants. International partners will be expected to meet their own wage costs.

Through cooperation in the same region, around similar topics, participation in joint activities and being in the same phase of their partnerships, we expect it to be easier for the partners to get started with their projects and to get a rich exchange of experience. It also provides ICLD an opportunity to provide more support resources to the municipalities in order to create the best possible preconditions for achieving successful sustainable results. The purpose is to support the integration of Human Rights within the organisations, so that protection of citizens’ rights will become a natural part of the municipalities operation.

Municipal Partnerships for Human Rights operate within the program framework of the Municipal Partnership Programme. More information on how regular Municipal Partnerships are conducted and the rules around issues such as financing can be found onour webpage and in the program guidelines.

Supporting resources from ICLD

In the Human Rights partnerships, the ICLD will take an even more active role in supporting the municipalities in their project planning, training, communication and inclusion of research. A project coordinator from the ICLD will be tied to the partnerships and act as support for the participants to plan and implement their activities. A Knowledge and Research Advisor will also work to tie a network of experts within Human Rights issues to the partnerships. In addition, a communication assistant will support the participants in external and internal communication. Between the activities, digital tools will be used for the participants to keep in touch with each other and the ICLD, for instance through the user-friendly digital platform Howspace.

The participants will be able to determine their own planning, besides the joint activities, and the overall timeline will be set in dialogue with all participants. ICLD are working to ensure that exchanges across borders between local authorities that strengthens Human Rights and local democracy will continue after Covid-19. Based on current restrictions, the ICLD will apply a flexible approach to the timeline and planning, so that all participants will be able to conduct all parts of their partnership, even if additional travel restrictions are put in place.

Declaration of Interest and Contact

Municipalities that are interested can submit their declaration of interest to ICLD by e-mail ICLD will then support the participants in finding a partner, setting a project plan and submitting a formal application for the program later this autumn. To be able to submit a declaration of interest, political support is needed among both the political majority and the opposition, as well as among high level public officials within the organisation.

ICLD will be happy to answer questions about the declaration of interest or the HR-partnerships in general, our project coordinator Myriam Chilvers can be reached by e-mail or by telephone 0046765430122.