Brussels, 4 May 2021 - The Belgian development agency Enabel and the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) are signing a cooperation agreement to enable the structural exchange of expertise with a view to efficient local governance.
In 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in cities. Urbanisation is therefore one of the pressing global challenges to which Enabel's partner countries are trying to provide solutions. Cities and towns are at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus, both in terms of health aspects and social and economic consequences. Future-oriented urban development on a human scale, inclusive and efficient local governance, result-oriented public services, people-friendly spatial planning, waste policy, safety policy, citizen participation... The range of solutions to achieve sustainable, resilient cities and municipalities is very broad. The Belgian development agency Enabel is always looking for the best solution for the many global challenges and the most experienced specialists in the field. Therefore, the agency is very pleased to conclude this partnership with the VVSG.
Minister of Development Cooperation and Metropolitan Policy Meryame Kitir welcomes the partnership: “I am proud of the new partnership that VVSG and Enabel are entering into today. This cooperation will use the valuable expertise from our cities and municipalities for more sustainable urban development and local governance here and in our partner countries.”
Managing Director of Enabel Jean Van Wetter sees the benefits of the agreement: "Good local governance is a conditio sine qua non for inclusive development, and it is the cities and towns that play a frontline role in this. The expertise of the VVSG will therefore be of great benefit to our projects."
The VVSG is an umbrella organisation that supports the three hundred local governments in the Flemish cities and municipalities through knowledge sharing, networking and advocacy for the fulfilment of their policy objectives and missions. VVSG supports Flemish cities and municipalities in the development and implementation of their global policy, including international cooperation with local governments in Europe and beyond. For the VVSG, it is interesting to be able to benefit from Enabel's many years of experience in Africa and the Middle East, while the VVSG offers Enabel a beacon of knowledge on municipal policy.
Kris Snijkers, General Director of the VVSG: “The cooperation with Enabel is the piece of the puzzle that completes our international activities. Through concrete and punctual exchange worldwide around themes such as waste policy or digitalisation, employees of local governments can learn from each other and improve the services for their citizens. That can be a step towards the further internationalisation of local policy.”
Enabel and the VVSG know each other because they have worked together occasionally in the past. Both organisations recognise that a more structured approach offers more advantages. The cross-fertilisation between the experience of the VVSG and that of Enabel can only benefit the local governments in Belgium and in the partner countries in Africa and the Middle East. With this partnership, Enabel and VVSG build a bridge between cities and municipalities here and elsewhere, paving the way for international networks in which local governments support each other.
Both organisations are considering a first concrete pilot project on 'smart cities' in Rwanda, where Enabel is applying new participatory forms of urban development in three secondary cities (Rwamagana, Rubavu and Muzanze).
The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG vzw
) is the membership organisation of local authorities: cities and municipalities, social centres, police districts, autonomous municipal companies and other independent agencies, intermunicipal companies and other interlocal partnerships. The central tasks of the VVSG are providing services to its members, representing the interests of local government and developing a vision of local government.