ICMA implements projects worldwide to assist municipalities as they work to improve internal management and service delivery and meet other challenges that often accompany decentralization as responsibilities shift from the national to the local level.
ICMA draws on the experience of local government practitioners, researchers, and expert consultants to design, implement, and evaluate local government projects worldwide.
Program Background The ICMA CityLinks™ program was inaugurated in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1997 as a means to deliver technical assistance in urban management to cities worldwide. USAID partnered with ICMA to deliver management and strategic guidance for the program. Known at the time as Resource Cities, the program was established to respond to the impact of economic globalization, accelerated urbanization, and rapid decentralization worldwide— events that prompted USAID to view much of its assistance from an urban perspective. Based on the success of Resource Cities, USAID awarded ICMA a new five year program with the CityLinks name in 2003 and again in 2011. The CityLinks model was designed by ICMA as a way to enable municipal officials in developing and decentralizing countries to draw on the resources of their international counterparts to and sustainable solutions tailored to the real needs of their cities. the program leverages the experience and expertise of ICMA’s membership of over 11,000 local government chief administrators and their professional staffs. It is based on the premise that well-managed cities are the key to efficient service delivery, economic growth, sound management of resources, and political stability. And democratic governance is the system by which local citizens hold their elected offcials accountable for these outcomes. Why Partnerships? Cities and local governments have become a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. As economic engines of the countries in which they reside, their policies and practices have impacts far beyond their geographical borders. Now, more than ever, they have the ability to connect with, collaborate with, and learn from other cities around the world. The impacts of the most pressing global issues are felt most strongly at the local level and are simply too big to face alone. According to ICMA’s 2015 Local Government Sustainability Practices Survey, 78.1% of the local governments surveyed indicated that examples of other municipalities are an important source of information in developing sustainability strategies. In light of this, ICMA is working to create global networks through exchanges and city-to-city partnerships. This allows for technical capacity building as well as increased cultural understanding, resulting in a wealth of opportunities at the local level. The idea of city-to-city exchange is not a new idea; it has been around for many years, with serious practice beginning after World War II. Exchanges have evolved to become more complex, adding strategic and longer-term objectives. Over the years, ICMA has found that this type of peer-to-peer learning can result in lasting partnerships that go beyond the city-to-city technical exchanges and lead to signiffcant action at the local government level. Through CityLinks partnerships, individuals who are not only knowledgeable in their field, but also passionate about public service share technical expertise and resources with forward-thinkingprofessionals who seek to broaden their perspective and to learn new skills. These professionals are committed to improving the capacity of their local governments and willing to work to overcome obstacles such as lack of equipment or financial resources, pervasive pessimism, or corruption.CityLinks partnerships in the past have focused on the range of local government challenges: Improving the basic public services provided to citizens—including infrastructure development; water, sanitation, and otherenvironmental management services; and crime prevention and public safety—and putting sustainable solutions in place Enhancing local economic competitiveness by identifying opportunities, developing strategies, and planning for implementation Creating effective municipal management structures for strategic planning, financial management, performance measurement, citizen participation, and advocacy Honing the skills of local government ocials to enable them to better carry out their mandates. In addition to employing the CityLinks model in USAID-funded projects, ICMA has utilized it in programs outside the CityLinks umbrella and in projects funded by other donors. through all of these programs and projects, ICMA has sought to Use innovative and exible partnership models involving government and nongovernmental counterparts in the United States, host countries, and third countries Empower local governments, NGOs, the private sector, and citizens to effect solutions Match the skills, knowledge, and resources of the local community with the skills, knowledge, and resources that U.S. partners can share Establish substantive professional relationships between U.S. municipal governments and their counterparts in developing and transition countries. Facilitate greater understanding of the mutual benefits that can be derived when community leaders in the United States - and their international partners - achieve sustainable solutions that enhance the capacities of democratic local government. The 2011–2016 program had a three-fold purpose, addressing interrelated technical areas that are important in today’s rapidly urbanizing world, seeking to: Improve climate-related governance and systems in targeted urban areas Increase resiliency of cities in Feed the Future focus countries Improve water supply and sanitation access in urban communities in Global Health Initiative countries. At the same time, CityLinks fostered transparency and accountability in budgeting, procurement, hiring, and other municipal practices in each project. Publications CityLinks in Review: Five Years of Fostering Partnerships Eye on Climate Change: Strategies to Help Managers Confront the Challenges CityLinks Primer on Subnational Approaches for Low Emission, Climate Resilient Development Urban Intersections: Food Security, Water, and Climate Change Webinars Subnational Approaches to Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Development Urban Intersections Part 1 - Food Security, Water, and Climate Change Urban Intersections Part 2 - Climate Change and Food Security Exploring Principles and Practices of Sustainable Service Delivery Coastal Resilience Building Urban Adaptation to Climate Change Fact Sheets Dar es Salaam - Durban Climate Change Partnership Durban - Southeast Florida Climate Change Partnership La Ceiba – Somerville Climate Change Partnership Legazpi City - Fort Lauderdale Climate Change Partnership Portmore - Townsville Climate Change Partnership Semarang - Gold Coast Climate Change Partnership Shimla - Boulder Climate Change Partnership Urban Intersections pt. 1 Urban Intersections pt. 2 City Assessments Managing Shimla’s Water Challenges in an Uncertain Future A guide for adaptation to Climate Change in La Ceiba, Honduras City Assessment: Semarang City, Indonesia Assessment of Climate Change Adaptation in the Metropolitan Area of Arequipa Tools Climate Policy Matrix - Legazpi City CityLinks Climate Smart Cities Training Curriculum CityLinks Coastal Engineering Workshop Curriculum App2Action Hosting Guide
From our home base in Washington, D.C., ICMA has touched municipalities throughout the world. We have implemented projects involving more than 70 countries on six continents.
The ICMA China Center was formally established in 2011 as a partnership between ICMA and the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL). The framework agreement between the organizations was approved by the government of China through the Ministry of Education. A Chinese language website is also available. The Center is based in the university’s School of Politics and Public Administration in Beijing and draws on relevant faculty members from throughout the university. It is governed by an eight-member board representing both ICMA and CUPL, and its mission is to improve the quality of city management in China by providing information and services to Chinese city officials. Local government professionals from the United States, in turn, have an opportunity to learn from the Chinese experience with rapid, large-scale urbanization. Among the goals and objectives of the Center are to Establish cooperative relationships between ICMA and institutions and organizations in China to facilitate training, research, information sharing, conferences, and exchanges Create comprehensive, fee-based education/training forums for local government officials, administrators, academics, and other interested individuals Create a domestic and international corporate partnership program to support the organization, sponsor events, and provide additional training participation opportunities Establish a certification and recognition program for individuals and local governments participating in ICMA China Center training programs. The ICMA International Regional Summit in Yangzhou The ICMA China Center, together with ICMA and the city of Yangzhou, sponsored ICMA's first International Regional Summit in May 2014. Attended by 200 people from eight countries, the summit offered presentations, site visits, case studies, and discussions focused on the theme of "Eco-Friendly Urbanization" and the challenges of sustainable development facing cities in a rapidly urbanizing world. Highlights of the summit included Formal agreements to establish an ICMA training base in China Presentation of the results of an ICMA-funded survey of Chinese small town development and citizen satisfaction A forum on "Urban Governance in the Backdrop of China's New Urbanization," sponsored by CUPL's Center for Cooperative Innovation for Governance by Law (CCIGL) The debut of the Life, Well Run video with subtitles in Mandarin Pre- and post-summit study tours that provided an opportunity for participants to enrich their experience through interaction with Chinese local government officials and visits to some of the country’s premier historical and cultural sites The spring meeting of the ICMA International Committee. An ICMA Training Base in China At the summit, ICMA formalized two agreements that advance the organization's position as a training partner in China. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Yangzhou established that city as a training base for the ICMA China Center. ICMA will provide training for Chinese municipal officials, including those in the city of Yangzhou, and will assist the city in accessing management best practices and establishing partnerships and exchanges with cities represented by ICMA's members and international affiliates. A second agreement, with CUPL, seeks to further the Chinese government's mission to fund collaboration by leading Chinese universities with other institutions to foster innovation. Contingent on a grant to CCIGL, the partnership will provide opportunities for exchanges by professors, researchers, students, and interns from both countries as well as joint conferences and publications. ICMA has been approved as an official training partner of the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) to provide training and capacity building for Chinese local government officials in China and the U.S. An MOU with the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel (CAIEP), the training unit of SAFEA, gives ICMA an opportunity to respond to requests for technical assistance in city/county management for SAFEA and for Chinese ministries, provinces, and cities. SAFEA is the key agency to approve training programs for Chinese local governments. ICMA also has signed an MOU with the National Academy for Mayors of China (NAMC) to enhance the ICMA China Center’s training offerings. NAMC is the leading agency providing regular training opportunities to local government officials in China. The two organizations will jointly Organize training and appraisal for city managers and government officials in China Translate and publish ICMA training materials and textbooks for Chinese local government officials Organize academic conferences Conduct professional exchanges and study tours to showcase best practices and provide learning opportunities about local government in both countries. U.S.-China EcoPartnerships In May 2012 the Center was accepted into the EcoPartnerships program of the U.S. Department of State, joining 17 other partnerships in this prestigious, competitive program. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed the five newest partners at a signing ceremony in Beijing. During the summit, three U.S. cities and their Chinese counterparts formalized EcoPartnerships pledging "friendly cooperation" over an 18-month period to share best practices, exchange technical knowledge and strategies, and foster innovation in seeking solutions to environmental challenges relating to urbanization and sustainable development. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.