In the Philippines, ICMA has provided training, facilitated partnerships, and assisted a municipal league in its advocacy initiatives. Most recently, ICMA projects have focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation, the legislative process and governance, and municipal financial management.
Through ICMA’s CityLinks program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Legazpi, Philippines, is partnering with Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to share climate change adaptation strategies designed to strengthen urban resiliency, particularly related to the challenge of sea level rise. The ASEAN Cities Climate Change Partnership, established in collaboration with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, creates peer-to-peer learning opportunities through interactive training, knowledge-sharing conferences, exchange trips, and virtual advice from climate specialists about developing climate-resilient approaches.
ICMA has been awarded a Legislative Process and Governance Professional Fellows Program that will bring professionals from ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, to the United States in 2015-2016 to learn practical skills focusing on local governments’ role and responsibility in civic engagement, promoting transparency while also fostering interaction with leaders from the federal, state, and local organizations.
The program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, seeks to create long-term, institutionalized partnerships that support emerging leaders and their institutions in the ASEAN countries and the United States to inspire change in creating responsive, open, and accountable governance. ICMA is working with League of Cities of the Philippines and other international organizations to implement the program.
ICMA developed and delivered an intensive Municipal Finance Training Certification Program for East Asian and Southeast Asian officials in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The objective of the training, funded by the World Bank, was to increase the capacity of local governments to secure bond financing necessary for infrastructure improvement. ICMA partnered with the World Bank’s Global Development Learning Network (GDLN), an interactive videoconferencing system, which allowed participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to attend sessions.
ICMA also facilitated a USAID-funded U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership between the League of Cities Philippines and the Florida League of Cities with the goal of increasing the league’s capacity to provide services to its members, especially its efforts to establish an environmental unit to help enforce national policies related to cleaner air, water quality, solid waste, and other environmental issues.
Earlier, ICMA facilitated a partnership between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Cebu City to address its comprehensive Solid Waste Management plan, recycling, composting, and public education and outreach. The goal was to further the life of Cebu's over-stretched landfill by reducing the amount of waste transported to the site each day. In addition, the cities created awareness among the general public of the advantages—both economic and environmental—of recycling and composting.
ICMA and the Urban Management Centre (ICMA’s representative in South Asia, based in Ahmedabad, India) prepared ten case studies on the use of geographic information systems (GIS), also known as geospatial information technologies, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The cases were developed to complement a session co-facilitated by ICMA and USAID at the World Urban Forum in Nanjing, China, in November 2008. One of the cases addressed GIS applications in Ormoc City, Philippines.
Energy Efficiency Training for Municipal Associations
Under the Sustainable Urban Management (SUM) project, the Energy Office of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contracted with ICMA to develop and deliver the course “Cities Matter: Energy Efficiency in the Water Sector” in Bangalore, India, for participants from the Philippines and other Asian countries. The five-day course included energy efficiency techniques for concrete results coupled with tools for management, operations, and decision making at the local and state level.
The objectives of the course were to:
- Develop an understanding of the role of energy and energy efficiency in the context of local government and municipal management
- Raise awareness of and competence in the application of energy-efficient techniques among municipal managers and practitioners at the local level
- Establish a forum for discussion and dissemination of appropriate tools and best practices
- Establish new networks of local practitioners based on memberships in municipal associations to encourage ongoing dissemination and sharing of information as well as institutionalization of tools and other resources.
At the end of the course, participants worked in small groups to develop strategies to facilitate a broader adaptation of energy efficiency in the water sector in their countries. On the final day the groups presented their strategies for taking action to increase energy efficiency in the water sector in their communities or municipalities.
Then, through guided discussions and small group sessions, they each identified a policy objective that could be achieved through better energy efficiency in the water sector, then articulated an action plan to meet the selected objective. In developing their strategies, the groups focused on reduction of energy consumption, calculation of payback, accounting for payback, long-term sustainability of project implementation, and targeting and informing decision makers.
Regional Seminar on Urban Infrastructure Finance in Asia
The Fourth Regional Seminar on Urban Infrastructure Finance in Asia convened in Manila in 2000, sponsored by the two Regional Urban Development Offices for South and Central Asia and Southeast Asia, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to the Philippines. The seminar, conducted under the Sustainable Urban Management (SUM) project, was designed to provide opportunities for exchanging lessons learned about promoting sustainable approaches to urban environmental infrastructure service delivery in the cities of South and Southeast Asia.
Representatives of national and local government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private enterprises, and internal donor agencies in the region assembled to: (1) Analyze issues related to the implementation, sustainability, and transferability of infrastructure finance and service delivery; (2) identify enabling as well as hindering factors in achieving universal access to urban infrastructure and basic services, including those related to public-private partnerships, capital market financing, and engendering commercially viable projects; (3) provide space for increased networking between and among actors from local and national governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental institutions.
Seven case studies of successful projects in urban infrastructure and service delivery shaped the trajectory of discussions in the two-and-a-half-day seminar. These cases illustrated a variety of approaches to urban infrastructure and service delivery, with particular focus on engendering private sector participation and achieving commercially viable infrastructure projects. Panel discussions enabled case writers to present salient aspects of their respective cases, and gave the other participants an opportunity to delve deeper into, and learn from, the experiences of their colleagues.
Association Capacity-Building Program
Under the International Union of Local Authorities’ Association Capacity Building Programme, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, ICMA provided technical expertise and grant funds to the League of Cities and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines. For the pilot project, ICMA coordinated a multinational pool of experts, managed the budget allocation, and monitored the project’s development.
ICMA organized the delivery of training and technical assistance around six major issues: (1) institutional strengthening, (2) improving communications infrastructure and systems, (3) enhancing information exchange opportunity, (4) entrepreneurship and income generation, (5) training, education, and research, and (6) improving gender representation in local government.
Under the program, the Leagues instituted the process of strategic planning, developed business plans, completed a personnel manual, trained staff on financial and budget administration, institutionalized an innovative practices program, developed a strategy for income generation, received funds to manage international donor agency funded projects, and developed a strategy for the greater inclusion of women in local government and League decision-making structures.