UCLG-MEWA held its meeting of Committee on Local Governance on 4th-5th March 2016, hosted by Nilüfer Municipality. A great number of mayors and other high-ranking representatives from Turkey, Palestine, Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait and Jordan participated in the meeting .
The meeting was started with the opening speech of Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General. Remarking that the works done by UCLG-MEWA will continue in order to institutionalize local governance in the Middle East and West Asia Region, Mr. Duman said “Strengthening the local governance is one of the reasons for existence of UCLG-MEWA”. The UCLG-MEWA Committee on Local Governance assumes a challenging mission to encourage the best practices in the areas of transparency, financial management and participative democracy. “Within this context, we will start the first meeting of our committee and strengthen it” Mr Duman added. Stating that the roots of the people in the region come from the culture of consultation, Mr. Duman stressed that the city must be governed with common mind.
After Mehmet Duman’s words, Mustafa Bozbey, Mayor of Nilüfer took the floor, pointing out the importance of democracy by saying “bringing the democracy from local to the general level is the duty of the local governments.
As you know, the concept of “governance” takes an important place at the area of local governance. And non-governmental organizations and city councils are important parts of governance. By taking this a step further, we included the neighborhood committees into the decision-making mechanisms. In Nilüfer, we include locals in our decisions through our neighborhood committees which we structured under the framework of the City Council. Neighborhood committees have a voice in all the future services in Nilüfer. We work with our all effort to perpetuate this practice”.
“We can play an active role in this area by exchanging our experiences and knowledge”
After the opening speeches, the first meeting of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Governance took place and the committee was structured. Within this framework, Zeytinburnu Municipality was elected to the presidency of the committee and Union of Dannieh Municipalities and Nilüfer Municipality was elected to the co-presidencies. The next meeting of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Local Governance was decided to be carried out in Lebanon, hosted by Union of Dannieh Municipalities.
Murat Aydın, Mayor of Zeytinburnu, who was elected as the president of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Local Governance said “We can actively work by gathering up and sharing our experience and knowledge to discuss about transparency and local governance, which we call experience sharing”.
In the other section of the meeting which took place in the afternoon, two panels were arranged during which local governments had the chance to exchange experience and information about two headings “Global and Local Enterprises in Strengthening the Local Financing’’ and “Transparency – Strategic Planning and Participation”. Panelists who are the experts in their fields and local representatives were brought together in these panels to determine a road map concerning how to strengthen the local governments about governance and finance.
Denmat: “Habitat is a great chance for us”
On the second day of the meeting, a workshop was organized on HABITAT III and “The importance of Local Governments in Habitat III” and “Turkey’s National Report of Habitat III” were discussed within the framework of this workshop.
Nathalie Le Denmat, Representative of the Committee on Local Finance of UCLG said “Habitat is a great chance for us, because we give financial support to make real the cities people dream of” during the session”. The importance of local governments in Habitat III’’ was moderated by Adrien Licha, UCLG-MEWA Project Coordinator. “It is highly important to diversify the structural resources of local governments. There’s a return in local government investments in city finances. Access to external sources is also an important step to empower investments. Global savings should be canalized into the local governments as well” Nathalie Le Denmat added to her words.
Salim Korkmaz, UCLG-MEWA Coordinator of Relations with International Organizations moderated the session “Turkey’s National Report of Habitat III”. Welcoming opportunity of being together with various actors from Turkey,Turkey’s National Report of HABITAT III was evaluated in detail during the session which was moderated by Mr. Korkmaz. Ebru Ölmez, Senior City Planner at Republic of Turkey Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Directorate General of Spatial Planning, touched upon the effect of Habitat III on urbanization and the effects of Habitat II on today’s world. Prof. Dr. Gülden Erkut, Habitat III Policy Unit Expert, R. Ünal Sayman, Director of Regional Environment Center (REC Turkey) and Çiğdem Çörek Öztaş representing WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities, made their presentation.