Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD)

SDG 6: Clean water and sanitationSDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

ICLD’s mission is to support democratic participation and change at the local level. With its focus on local democracy, local self-governance and decentralisation, ICLD strengthens local governments’ capacity to analyse, prioritise and implement Agenda 2030 in accordance with their own needs, priorities and resources. The unique combination of practice and theory is a major asset of ICLD. They work closely with Swedish Municipalities and Regions to address challenges in regards to the SDGs. ICLD provides funds and resources to implement SDG:s in partnership with a LDC Municipality with similar strains.

Here is one of ICLD’s ongoing municipal partnership between Växjö municipality in Sweden and An Giang province in Vietnam:

Learnings from Växjö-An Giang water development exchange project
Since 2010, An Giang province in Vietnam and Växjö municipality in Sweden have implemented several partnership projects on environmental issues. A few years back, they became aware of the mutual challenge that surface water is in abundance in both cities, yet is partially of lacking quality. A new project was therefore conceived where the partners would improve their capacity for sustainable water management, while invigorating their democratic processes to better include stakeholders in their planning. Municipal water and sanitation management is seldom top of mind in connection to democratic issues. However, these areas have a large impact on inhabitants every-day life, and therefore the democratic structures for inclusion and participation of inhabitants are important in these issues. The ICLD-funded project allowed for the water and sanitation officials in Växjö’s technical department to reflect on their own democratic processes in relation to their inhabitants.

The three-year project runs until 2021 and aims to, among other things, prepare an integrated water management plan for Long Xuyen-city in An Giang province. So far, the partners have held workshops with key-stakeholders and visited each other for education and field trips related to challenges facing the municipalities. Lectures on capacity building for public consultations with local residents have been held. Some participants have in addition taken part in workshops and case-challenges during an ICLD-training on the municipal partnership programme.

Växjö municipality in Sweden and An Giang province in Vietnam have inspired each other to new solutions through a partnership concerning water management. Their cooperation has led to improvements in the democratic processes and made staff in the water management departments reflect on how they contribute to local democracy. Already, the inspiration from An Giang has contributed to Växjö deciding to develop their own integrated water management plan. Through their partnership, Växjö and An Giang have already shown how processes for an inclusive democracy are important and how it relates to technical issues such as water and sanitation. The project has also shown how municipalities which stand far apart in specific technical solutions can learn from, and be inspired by, each other’s approaches on how to face a challenge, in order to generate mutual benefits in a municipal partnership. 

When working on technical issues, we seldom evaluate ourselves based on how we perform on issues such as participation and inclusion of citizens. But through ICLD, we have got to reflect on what our own democratic contribution in the municipality looks like. How are citizens included in the decision-making process, is the information we send out available to everyone and is our work transparent to the public? By raising those questions we can improve how we do things, says Ingrid Palmblad Örlander, coordinator and engineer at Växjö municipality.

For more information about An Giang and Växjö project, click here.

For more information about ICLD, click here.

For more information about Global Utmaning’s Sweden Local2030 Hub, click here.

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Project: Sweden Local2030 Hub