ICMA’s global programs promote the organization’s mission and vision worldwide by advancing professional management practices that build sustainable communities to improve lives. We consult, train, and collaborate with local government leaders in the U.S. and around the world to establish sound, innovative management and leadership practices. We do this in partnership with federal agencies, foundations, other international donors, universities, and private-sector organizations to provide research, resources, training, and technical assistance across a wide range of expertise areas and topics covering the range of local government activities.
In the United States, ICMA helps local governments create more sustainable, livable, and resilient communities by researching and sharing leading management strategies and practices.
Outside the United States, ICMA provides peer-to-peer technical assistance, training, and resources to assist municipalities in developing and decentralizing countries to develop local capacity and promote good governance.
And ICMA has a time-tested record in international development. The organization was founded in 1914 as part of a global local government reform movement and began providing international technical assistance in 1989.
How We Work
ICMA believes that cities learn best from one another.
And we have a unique ability to facilitate city-to-city learning, thanks in large part to the expertise of our membership of more than 11,000 professional local government leaders in the United States and around the world and the extensive knowledge resources developed throughout the organization.
Our approach is centered on practitioner-led technical assistance, training, and professional development, informed by our knowledge base and a toolkit of proven management practices. These are the key elements of our approach:
- Assessing the local context—current capacity, allocation of resources, and the accountability system—and then designing a project that will enhance local capacity to tackle and overcome challenges
- Facilitating results-oriented city-to-city partnerships and exchanges using our CityLinks™ model, which draws on the expertise of our members and their professional staffs
- Strengthening local institutions and developing local leaders so that they can make improvements and carry them forward
- Conducting action-oriented research, including survey research, to inform policy and management strategies and identify leading practices
- Facilitating results-oriented peer-to-peer learning opportunities, mentoring, and hands-on learning activities
- Convening local government professionals, subject-matter experts, and academics on local government topics to develop a network that can facilitate the transfer of knowledge and innovation
- Building partnerships with academic, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to expand our reach and resources.
Where We Work
ICMA has implemented international projects in more than 70 countries. Our global reach is enhanced by offices and partners around the world:
- The ICMA China Center, a partnership with the China University of Political Science and Law, based in Beijing
- ICMA México-Latinoamérica, our anchor organization in Guadalajara, Mexico
- The Urban Management Centre, our anchor organization in South Asia, based in Ahmedabad, India
- Affiliate relationships with two dozen associations of local government officials in more than 30 countries
- Field offices for all long-term international projects.