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Executive Summary

Best Practices Steering Committee
Minutes of 1997 Meeting
Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 4-6 February 1997

Day One: 4 February 1997
Day Two: 5 February 1997
Day Three: 6 February 1997
Report of Working A: Transfers
Report of Working Group B: Database
Report of Working Group C: 1998 Awards Road Map
Report of Working Group D: BLP Network and Associate Partners
List of Participants


Best Practices Steering Committee Meeting
Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
4-6 February 1997
Objective: To define roles, tasks and responsibilities of BLP partners and to agree on working modalities and a work plan for 1997-98

Day One: 4 February 1997

09h00-09h10 Welcoming Remarks:
Mr. Emiel Wegelin, Director, IHS

09h10-09h30 Explanation and Adoption of Agenda/Appointment of Rapporteurs

09h30-10h20 Plenary Session I: Best Practices Progress Report
Nicholas You and Szilard Fricska
Background Paper: Best Practices Progress Report

10h20-10h30 Question period for clarifications

10h30-10h45 Coffee Break

10h45-Plenary Session II: Partners' Progress Reports
a/ Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
Mr. Ed Frank

b/ Dubai Municipality
Mr. Mohammed A. K. Julfar, Head of Administrative Development Office
Mr. Munther A. Juma, Head of Foreign Relations and Organisations Office

c/ Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)
Mr. Kioe Sheng Yap

d/ Brazilian Institute of Municipal Administration (IBAM)
Ms. Deise Fernandes, Information Technology Officer, IBAM

12h05-13h15 Lunch Break

13h15-Partners' Progress Reports (continued)
e/ Harvard Graduate School of Design
Dr. Mona Serageldin, Associate Director, Unit for Housing and Urbanization

f/ International Union of Local Authorities (IULA)
Ms. Andrea Connell (IULA), representing WACLAC

g/ Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities
Mr. W. Cecil Steward, Dean, Professor of Architecture

h/ Ministry of Development, Government of Spain
Mr. Felix Arias

i/ Together Foundation
Mr. Bill Sims

15h00-15h15 Coffee Break

15h15-15h45 Open Floor for Other Presentations

Plenary Session III: Discussions
15h45-17h30 Discussion 1: Regional and Thematic Centres: Roles, Tasks and Responsibilities
• identification, submission and dissemination of best practices
• role viz. National Committees and Governments
• coordination between centres and with UNCHS
• consistency of databases and Internet home pages
• training programmes, capacity building, workshops, exchanges/transfer
• profiles of each centre

Output: Constitution of a Working Group and its TOR

09h00-09h30 Open Floor for Late Arrivals

Plenary Session III: Discussions (continued)
09h30-10h00 Discussion 2: Financial Arrangements

fundraising strategy
use of Partners' fees
Associate Partners' fees
Output: Agreement on Principles for Fundraising
10h00-10h30 Discussion 3: 1998 Awards for Excellence
Background Document: "Regulations and Proceedures for Dubai Awards for Best Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment"
lessons learned from 1996
1998 Awards for Excellence
Media campaign
Output: Constitution of a Working Group
10h30-10h40 Coffee Break
10h45-11h15 Discussion 4: Communication and Dissemination

Background Paper: "Information and Media Strategy" by BLP
roles of regional/thematic centres: appointment of media focal points
Dissemination of submission guidelines and nomination diskettes
translation into other languages (including non-UN)
creating a BP logo (competition)
Internet Newsletter
exhibitions and development of a portable BP exhibit
media award for BP-related journalism
Output: Communication and Media Strategy
11h15-11h45 Discussion 5: Existing Cases and New Submissions
corrections to existing submissions
review process for new submissions
posting on Internet and format
Output: Constitution of a working group
11h45-12h15 Discussion 6: Nomination Diskette
Background Papers: Revised Reporting Format and Keyword List
draft revised reporting format for diskette
improvement of user-interface
addition of examples and guidelines for writing case-studies
improvement of keywords
Output: Constitution of a Working Group
12h15-13h30 Lunch Break
IV. Parallel Sessions: Working Groups

Parallel Session 1: Reporting Format and Keyword Revision
Parallel Session 2: 1998 Awards for Excellence Process

15h00-15h15 Coffee Break

Parallel Session 3: Existing Cases and New Submissions
Parallel Session 4: Partner Coordination

Day 3, Thursday 6 February 1997
09h00-10h30 IV. Plenary Session: Reports from Working Groups
Working Group 1: Reporting Format and Keyword Revision
Working Group 2: 1998 Awards for Excellence Process

10h30-10h45 Coffee Break

10h45-12h15 Plenary Session: Reports from Working Groups (continued)
Working Group 3: Existing Cases and New Submissions
Working Group 4: Partner Coordination

12h15-13h30 Lunch Break

13h30-15h30 V. Parallel Sessions:
Parallel Session 1: Preparation of Partners Work Plan for 1997-98
Parallel Session 2: Partner Coordination
(Remaining participants meet to resolve outstanding coordination issues)

15h30-15h45 Coffee Break

15h45-16h30 VI. Plenary Session: Presentation of Work Plan for 1997-98

16h35-17h00 VII. Plenary Session: Adoption of Work Plan for 1997-98

17h00-17h30 Steering Committee Wrap-up and Adjournment


Day One: 4 February 1997
1. Emiel Wegelin, Director of IHS, welcomed participants to the meeting. He commended the decentralized structure of the BLP and identified three important levels at which the BLP operates: information exchange through the database; application of the information at local levels; and obtaining feedback to enhance further learning. He offered an overview of IHS’s evolution and current programmes before turning the floor to Nicholas You, Meeting Chairperson.
2. Following brief introductions, Mr. You provided an overview of the Agenda, explaining that it was organised into presentations, discussions and working groups and that the goal was that each substantive session would produce specific policy recommendations or documents. These would be collated on the final day, discussed and adopted, and would constitute the working modalities and work plan for the BLP for 1997-98.
3. Ms. Connell agreed to serve as rapporteur for the Partners Presentations while Mr. Fricska agreed to serve as rapporteur for Discussion Session 1.
4. Mr. You then presented the Best Practices Progress Report to the Steering Committee (see attached) and a brief question period followed.
5. Mr. Bijlmer stressed that the essence of the BLP was to capture the results of current transfers of best practices.
6. Mr. You pointed out that the existing partner network was not comprehensive enough to document all the transfers underway, particularly not in East and Southern Africa.
7. Mr. Bijlmer suggested that South Africa had such capacity, but Mr. You replied that South African institutions had no such capacity in East Africa or in Lusophone Africa.
8. Mr. Badiane added that institutions in this area had only a national focus and that there were no sub-regional organisations in East and Southern Africa comparable to ENDA in West Africa. He added that he hoped to see a coalition of existing partners, including the IULA-Africa section, working together to fill this gap.
9. Ms. Peltenburg observed that the use of the database for transfer projects was a relatively uncommon and that greater effort had to go into monitoring the regular use of the database, a point echoed by Mr. Badiane.
10. Mr. You noted that the need for effective monitoring of database use pointed to a centralized tracking system, difficult with “mirror sites”. He added that the process of monitoring database use also required the capacity to send periodic messages to users to obtain their feedback. Equally important, he said was to develop a reliable and efficient network among BLP partners to share experiences on database use.
11. Mr. Shiffman stressed the need for an evaluative component to be integrated into the transfer of best practices in order to identify and capture the obstacles to implementation.
12. Mr. You stressed that when talking about transfers, the key element was the transfer of the knowledge, experience and expertise, and not the replication of a best practices per se.
13. Mr. Badiane raised the issue of translation, observing that many case-studies were poorly written in English and asking whether there were plans to translate the database into other languages.
14. Mr. Arias stated that the complete database had already been translated into Spanish, but there was an urgent need to translate it into as many other languages as possible. Even with a Spanish database, there were calls for it to be translated into Portuguese.
15. Mr. You offered the closing reminder that the database was not an academic case-study tool, nor a management case-study tool, but principally a networking tool. Narratives were not edited to improve language; it is important to allow people to describe their initiatives in their own words. The real issue, he said, was finding means of helping people write their own submissions. The act of documenting one’s work is, in and of itself, an extremely important capacity-building exercise.

Partners’ Progress Reports

A/ Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
1. Mr. Frank made the first presentation on behalf of the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS). He described IHS’ proposal to the Dutch Ministry as containing the following elements: (i) continuing to host and act as Co-Secretariat for TAC meetings; (ii) to propose IHS as part of the core Secretariat for the Jury; (iii) to engage in the transfer of BPs to the local level through pilot transfers in Bolivia, Peru, India, and, to discuss the application of BPs at the city level; (iv) to engage in capacity-building exercises in West Africa; to serve the BLP as a thematic centre for capacity-building activities. He added that IHS would like to see greater participation at BLP-related meetings from actual database users.
2. Mr. Frank also mentioned that IHS was using the BP database in its Masters’ degree courses and in its field assignments to countries such as Romania where he explained there was great demand for new ideas and practices to be implemented on the ground.
3. Mr. Frank went on to list IHS concerns regarding the BLP: (i) while the BLP should be praised for its partnership approach, IHS had some reservations regarding the looseness of its structure; (ii) there is an urgent need to develop new incentives for submitters; (iii) the quality of the database, as the core element of the BLP, must be monitored very closely (perhaps through expert group meetings); (iv) the BLP must ensure an open and flexible system with feedback to submitters and on-going dialogue on existing cases to ensure vitality.
4. Ms. Peltenburg of IHS added that there needed to be a clear protocol for replying to new submitters.
5. The floor was then opened for questions.
6. Ms. Mueller asked about efforts to network existing databases with the BLP.
7. Mr. Frank suggested that, in his searches for information, he had not found other databases that had established a structure as clear as the BLP.
8. Mr. Bijlmer then asked whether new submissions would be limited to the existing categories.
9. Mr. Frank replied that the existing categories were broad enough to cover new submission areas.
10. Mr. Arias stressed the need to coordinate databases, so that all institutions could have access to each others’ submissions for analysis.

B/ Dubai Municipality
1. Mr. Julfar presented the background paper on Dubai Municipality’s contribution to Best Practices (see attached).
2. Mr. Juma then affirmed Dubai’s commitment to the promotion of international cooperation through the concept of best practices, highlighting the results of the Dubai International Conference on Best Practices, the Dubai Declaration and the 1996 Dubai Awards for Excellence.
3. Mr. Juma then outlined Dubai’s contributions for the 1998 Awards, indicating that the amount pledged by Dubai had been increased to US $400,000, including US $30,000 for ten selected initiatives and an additional US $100,000 for administrative expenses. He added that the same amount had been pledged for the Dubai Awards in the year 2000.
4. Mr. Juma also stated that Dubai Municipality would assume the responsibility for translating the 1998 Guide to Submitting Best Practices into Arabic and indicated Dubai’s interest in hosting a Jury meeting as well as a Steering Committee meeting.
5. Mr. Juma then expressed his concerns that an action plan be drafted to guide the BLP to the 1998 Awards, including the identification of the resources and modalities of a public relations and media campaign. He added that Dubai shared the concerns of others present regarding the monitoring of benefits derived from the use of the BP database.
6. Mr. Badiane asked what would happen to Dubai’s contribution to the Awards after the year 2000.
7. Mr. Juma replied that Dubai’s commitment was to provide for ten Awards on a biennial basis in 2002, 2012 and so on.
8. Mr. You thanked the representatives of Dubai Municipality for their continued generous support of the BLP, specifically H.E. Qassim Sultan. He noted the important contribution of the Dubai International Conference towards establishing criteria for a “best practice” through a broad-based approach.
9. Mr. Juma then presented a video on Dubai Municipality.
10. The meeting was then adjourned for lunch.
11. After lunch, Dubai offered to donate to IHS’ library, extra copies of its promotional video and its hard-cover book on Dubai Municipality. Mr. Frank thanked Dubai Municipality on behalf of IHS.

C/ Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)
1. Mr. Yap explained that Asia had been extremely active in best practices-related activities at regional meetings and through other regional organisations such as CITYNET. He explained that AIT had been actively analysing Asian submissions. AIT found that there were some submissions that were incomplete or whose credibility was dubious. AIT responded by creating a parallel collection of the submissions: removing those that were clearly dubious (10-15 submissions); rewriting the existing (non-Chinese) submissions into a case-study format (40-50 submissions); and posting them onto their website.
2. Mr. Yap added that the AIT website also contained the revised submission guidelines, the list of the first 12 recipients of the Awards for Excellence. He estimated that the site received an average of 2 hits per day from outside AIT.
3. On the use of the database’s information, he explained that the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights was freely disseminating the information in the case-studies to NGOs and that the CITYNET had organised for a TCDC programme based on the rewritten case-studies from the BP database.
4. Mr. Yap raised several concerns: (i) regarding the lack of coordination for the launch of the second round of submissions based on the revised submission guidelines; (ii) the need to respond to new submitters quickly and efficiently; and (iii), that the BLP ensure that “bad practices” were also captured and analysed to extract the lessons of their experiences.
5. A question period followed.
6. Mr. Frank asked whether AIT’s rewriting of the submissions was a separate initiative from the BLP.
7. Mr. Yap explained that AIT was simply taking the submissions to their next logical step: that of usable case-study material. He explained, using the example of the Nirmithi Kendra submission from India, that rewriting submissions could be a politically tricky process and must be done in close cooperation with the original submitters.
8. Mr. Sims added that Together’s experience during the first round had been that people generally welcomed Together’s offer to clean up the language in the submission, but that others had strongly objected to any such efforts.
9. Mr. Frank proposed that a dialogue box be opened for each submission, allowing users to provide feedback on the submission.
10. Mr. Yap added that it was his experience that concrete feedback on a submission’s merits was rare, though extremely valuable.
11. Mr. You noted that the meeting would have to discuss the relative benefits of rewriting cases versus the inclusion of a feedback loop that helps submitters improve their own submission. He asserted that there was strong potential donour support for hiring local consultants to help specific initiatives document their work.
12. Ms. Peltenburg raised the issue of verification, saying that the tendency was to assert one’s own initiative as “the” best practice.
13. Mr. Yap added that while most cases saw it was important to mention “community participation” in their submission, there would sometimes be precious little evidence of such participation on the ground.
14. Mr. Frank added that the questions posed in the narrative could help, but the barrier of language still presented a problem.
15. Mr. Sims suggested that training sessions for submitting BPs might be a valuable process.
16. Mr. You then raised the concern that the BLP wasn’t effectively monitoring the use/interest in BPs, especially when dissemination is taking place by non-electronic means.
17. Mr. Shiffman suggested that an alternative and non-threatening means of documenting submissions might be through audio-tapes, as his organisation uses in its Oral History programme.

D/ Brazilian Institute of Municipal Administration (IBAM)
1. Ms. Fernandes presented IBAM’s work as a regional centre for capacity-building and training in the South American continent. She explained that IBAM’s web-site is now linked to the BLP site, that IBAM has been actively promoting the use of BPs in all their courses and training programmes, and that IBAM is engaged in networking and media outreach in the Latin American and Caribbean Region. She added that an agreement had been reached with the Mayor of Curitiba to organise a seminar on that city’s recent work in the field of human settlements.
2. Ms. Fernandes introduced the Iberoamerican Forum on Best Practices, a joint initiative between IBAM and UNCHS with funding from the Spanish Government, tentatively scheduled for 10 April 1997.
3. Mr. Arias then explained that the purpose of the Iberoamerican Forum was to capitalize on the tremendous regional interest in best practices. He explained that efforts were underway to contact established partners such as Habitat International Coalition, the Urban Management Programme and ECLAC, as well as to identify new regional partners. The objective of this Forum would be to encourage the analysis of BP submissions and their use as case-studies for training and capacity-building programmes.
4. Mr. Arias expressed his concerns that more emphasis was required on the use of existing submissions and less on the identification of new submissions. Nevertheless, the Government of Spain was willing to contribute to the second round by translating the necessary documents into Spanish.
5. Mr. You took the opportunity to explain the value of IBAM as a model training and capacity-building institution: it was identified by UNCHS as one of two models for success in this field and has a long tradition of assistance to local government.

E/ Unit for Housing and Urbanization - Harvard Graduate School of Design
1. Ms. Serageldin explained that training and professional development for municipalities and CBOs has been an important priority for the Unit since the mid-1980s and that it would work with the BLP as a thematic centre for urban planning and management.
2. Ms. Serageldin stressed the importance of the global spirit of the BLP Awards, indicating that the inclusiveness and openness of the process differentiated it from other similar awards. She added that it was her intention to develop the network of BLP partners beyond email and Internet exchanges into the organisation of joint initiatives. Under-represented areas, she said, such as Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, required specific attention from the BLP. She urged BLP partners to take advantage of upcoming conferences and meetings, especially those impacting local, national and international policy, to promote best practices.
3. Ms. Serageldin explained that the Unit’s contribution to the BLP would involve the hosting of two visiting fellows to pursue BP-related research. She added that her team would continue to tap into the enormous network of institutions and resources available at Harvard.
4. In terms of issues the meeting should address, Ms. Serageldin highlighted the following: the use and distribution of BP information; the need to rewrite submissions into usable, case-study formats, highlighting key issues applicable across all cultures; the need to coordinate Internet home-pages and the announcement of the second round of submissions; the need to highlight new and creative approaches to old problems; and, to have a policy for responding to new submissions.
5. A brief question period followed.
6. Ms. Peltenburg reiterated her concern regarding the extra burden assumed by regional and thematic centres in the response they give to new submissions.
7. Mr. You replied that there was an urgent need to decentralize the capacity to respond to queries: the most frequently asked questions should be monitored, a common reply prepared and this circulated to BLP partners.
8. Mr. Frank noted the concern of centres taking on two potentially conflicting roles: that of assisting submitters and that of assessing submissions.
9. Mr. Steward suggested that the resources of all BLP partners be pooled for the dissemination and outreach process, while each centre would have to be responsible for verification of submissions from its particular area or theme.
10. Mr. Laconte suggested that a separate category may be created for old cities preservation.
11. Mr. You agreed that the issue required further attention.

F/ International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) representing WACLAC
1. Ms. Connell explained the evolution of the World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC) and the fact that it is composed of 10 regional associations of local authorities, but that it intended to expand this number. She added that WACLAC was establising an office Geneva in the same offices used by UNCHS.
2. Ms. Connell explained that WACLAC has three main goals: (i) to ensure that local authorities speak with a single voice; (ii) to improve the recognition of local authorities as key actors in human settlements management and sustainable development; and, (iii) to institutionalize the representation of local authorities within the UN-system.
3. Stressing the value of the BLP as a global initiative, Ms. Connell informed the group that WACLAC would like to maintain its position of observer on the BLP Steering Committee, giving policy input and working with the other partners in the promotion of the BLP database. WACLAC would like to see that the BLP continue to complement existing databases, such as ICLEI’s, and existing networks, such as IULA’s African section in East and Southern Africa or CITYNET in Asia, where gaps have been identified. She added that accessibility to the information was an important function of the BLP, noting that many municipalities were not yet connected to the Internet.
4. Ms. Connell offered the network of IULA and the other WACLAC associations as a powerful partner in the promotion and dissemination of best practices information. She added that the upcoming IULA World Congress in the Mauritius represented an excellent opportunity for promoting the BLP.

G/ Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities (JCI)
1. Mr. Steward began his presentation by announcing that JCI had recently signed the MOU with UNCHS and would be operating as a thematic centre in the area of Architecture and Urban Design, with a special focus on sustainable development.
2. Mr. Steward explained that JCI brought to the BLP its experience in organising the “Awards for Good Community Development” - which he felt were a natural fit to the Awards for Excellence - and an extremely large network of partner associations including the American Architects Association, the US Green Buildings Council and the East-West Centre for Asia-Pacific Architecture.
3. Describing current activities, Mr. Steward explained that JCI was organising two conferences this coming year and was hard at work constructing its Internet home page. He also emphasized the need to coordinate joint fund-raising activities.
4. A short slide show featuring JCI’s Nebraska headquarters followed.

H/ Government of Spain
1. Mr. Arias explained how the Government of Spain was working with the University of Madrid’s School of Architecture on the translation and analysis of submissions on the BP database. He raised a question regarding the translation of the prepared case-studies from Spanish back into English.
2. For the next call for submissions, Mr. Arias added, the Government of Spain would be willing to undertake the translation of necessary documentation (such as the Guide to Submitting BPs) into Spanish.
3. Mr. Arias then raised the concern of the role of National Committees, specifically, would continuing National Committees have an evaluative role viz. submissions?
4. Mr. Arias also noted that many Spanish Municipalities lack access to the Internet and other electronic forms of communication.
5. A brief question period followed.
6. Concerns about the role of National Committees in the identification of new submissions were expressed by Ms. Peltenburg and Ms. Serageldin, the latter noting that in regions such as Central and Eastern Europe the tradition of dialogue between local authorities and the central Government was not strongly established.
7. Mr. Shiffman pointed out that in some cases, local authorities would not recognize, for political reasons, best practices taking place in their own administrative area.
8. Mr. Arias noted that there were examples of positive experiences gained through the National Committee process.
9. Mr. Fricska pointed out that this was certainly the case in Kenya and noted that an earlier Steering Committee meeting in Istanbul had proposed that an Award be given to an outstanding example of an open and well-organised National Committee process.

I/ Together Foundation
1. Given the present surfeit of information available, Mr. Sims urged the BLP to concentrate its efforts on synthesis rather than fragmentation,.
2. Mr. Sims explained that he saw two technical questions facing the BLP: (i) the need to update and maintain a current version of the database; and (ii), the need for the Steering Committee to effectively communicate with each other. The answer to both questions, he stated, lies with World-Wide-Web (WWW). The Internet version of the database is readily updatable and the WWW provides connectivity without the costs of proprietary software licensing.
3. Mr. Sims explained that the Together Foundation had created an Intranet for the BLP which will electronically link all members of the Steering Committee. Its modular design will allow the BLP to add new features, such as video conferencing, if the demand arises, while creating a single platform to house email, chat, document storage and database management for the Steering Committee.
4. As an indication of where information technology was headed, Mr. Sims agreed to circulate the most relevant passages of a report prepared by the Together Foundation for the RIO +5 process.
5. A lengthy question period followed.
6. Mr. Steward asked whether there would be more than one network operating on the Intranet.
7. Mr. Sims replied that the original idea called for an exclusive network to link the Steering Committee, but that passwords could be used to create different levels of access to information. The more Intranets on a single platform and using a single search engine, he added, the greater the functionality: a single search engine could then be used to search all the Intranets.
8. Mr. Yap and Ms. Mueller questioned whether or not the BLP needed such technology, arguing that Email, Off-line Servers, Listservers and File Transfer Protocols (FTPs) were sufficient for the BLP’s needs.
9. Mr. You replied that these processes did not effect the same kind of reduction of staff time required for administration. Nor did they achieve the requisite transparency in the review process. Nor did they as readily facilitate the review and preparation of common documents. He added that the Chat sessions could greatly improve the process of dialogue between partners on specific issues.
10. Mr. Shiffman argued in favour of an investment in tomorrow’s technology today.
11. Mr. You added that donours were of a similar mind, noting that the Acacia Project proposed to leap-frog Africa into the future of information technology in order to ensure that the programme retained its relevance.
12. Ms. Mueller inserted the point that telephone charges and basic access to the Internet were a problem for many nations in the developing world.
13. Mr. Cisse concurred noting that in Africa, parastatal telephone companies exercised a monopoly on the provision of telephone services.
14. Mr. Shiffman noted that despite the emphasis on electronic means of communication in the BLP, special attention had to be reserved for those nations in which paper copies were the most effective outreach tools.
15. Ms. Mueller proposed that the contact addresses of submitters be included in the first layer of information available free of charge to all users of the Internet version of the database.
16. Mr. Sims said that anything was possible in the area of cost-recovery. He noted that the information on the database had a value and that it was up to the Steering Committee as a whole to decide at which point, if anywhere, user-fees were levied.
17. Mr. Bergerhoff raised the issue of archiving, arguing that it would be valuable to record the evolution of the BP database over time and to retain submissions that were originally rejected as not complying with the required criteria. He added that he was encouraged by the day’s discussions and eager for IUTP to move ahead with establishing formal ties with the BLP, perhaps as consortium of transportation organisations.
18. Mr. You explained that transportation was a theme not properly addressed in the first round of submissions. He added that the potential consortium of transportation organisations might well represent a model for bringing other consortia on board the BLP.
19. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that the day’s deliberations would adjourn immediately following brief presentations from other meeting participants.

Other Presentations

A/ Future Base Vienna
1. Ms. Mueller explained that her organisation was one of the partners of the City of Vienna (the other being “Globally Integrated Village”) exploring the possibility of establishing either a thematic centre for urban environment technologies or a regional centre for Central and Eastern Europe.
2. Ms. Mueller explained that with the recent change in Vienna’s Government, the political support for this partnership had become uncertain. Current activities in Vienna focused on rebuilding the necessary political support. She added that she would know more about their status in Vienna in four month’s time.

B/ Pratt Institute
1. Mr. Shiffman explained that 2 entities were involved in becoming BLP partners: the Graduate Planning Institute - Programme of Building and Folklore; and the Pratt Centre for Community Environmental Development. The second Programme, he explained, was involved with capacity-building programmes for community-based leaders in low-income communities.
2. Mr. Shiffman added that there are in fact three parallel activities in the Pratt Centre: education and training programmes; an advocacy and public policy unit; and, a direct technical assistance programme focusing on poverty and urban decay.

C/ ENDA Tiers Monde
1. Mr. Gaye explained that ENDA had been connected via Email and the Internet since 1991, but that the real problem faced by African NGOs was the monopoly of services retained by National telephone parastatals.
2. He raised two issues for further discussion: first, that the database had tremendous potential to be used as policy tool to attract Government attention to the work of local NGOs; and, second, that transfers in an African context relied on the face-to-face exchange of experiences between peers.
3. Mr. Soumare explained that ENDA was a large networking organisation, working at the national and sub-regional level as well as within local contexts. He urged that means be sought to disseminate the outcome of the Habitat II Conference at the local level; that there were many questions regarding the next steps after Istanbul.
4. Mr. Gaye added that in Africa, newsletters, while a costly form of dissemination, were often the most effective means to reach out to the grass-roots level.
5. Mr. Badioune suggested that the UMP-West Africa centre could take on a much larger catalytic role in the region for the activities being discussed by the Steering Committee. He reiterated, however, that communication costs were prohibitively expensive.
6. Mr. You thanked everyone for their contributions, and adjourned the meeting until 09h00 the next day.


Day Two: 5 February 1997
1. As partner presentations had carried on longer than expected the day before, Mr. You proposed that the day begin with a presentation from the newly arrived representative of ICLEI, followed by a general discussion of BLP issues and that the afternoon be devoted to working groups.
2. Mr. Konrad Otto-Zimmerman of ICLEI’s European regional office explained that its MOU with UNCHS stated that its thematic area of focus was sustainable development and environmental protection.
3. He then went on to describe ICLEI’s European Good Practices database as being comprised of three elements: first, a searchable collection of 70 case-studies (with plans to expand the collection by 200 more case-studies in 1997); second, a thematic guidance section, with expert documentation available and linkages to the collection of cases; and, finally, a searchable collection of policy documents, complete with summaries. Several new features would also be added this year, including a local environment news service, discussion boxes and room for user feedback.
4. Mr. Otto-Zimmerman indicated he would like to know how ICLEI’s database could be integrated into the existing network of BLP partners. He described the current system of “partner providers” in which ICLEI’s partners, such as the UK local authority associations, use the ICLEI search engine but ICLEI enters the data. He felt that ICLEI’s role should be facilitator and networker, but that it should not bear the full responsibility for writing all the case-studies.
5. Mr. You noted that ICLEI’s structure required explanation. As an association of 250 members, its mandate is to serve local authorities as a clearinghouse for sustainable development issues at the local level and as a provider of research and technical expertise. It is closely connected to IULA at the local level and to the UN at the international level.
6. Mr. Sims asked if ICLEI had an advocacy role.
7. Mr. Otto-Zimmerman explained that it did, but in close relationship with IULA and with a specific focus on environmental issues.
8. Ed Frank then asked how ICLEI envisioned linking its database to the BP database: restructuring it to conform to the BP database or maintaining it as a parallel database, but linked to the BLP.
9. Mr. Otto-Zimmerman replied that the two databases needed to be compared with the aim of achieving convergency.
10. Mr. Sims asked whether ICLEI desired compatibility or separateness.
11. Mr. Otto-Zimmerman asked whether the BLP was looking for a centralized or multi-node network, proposing that the databases’ formats be harmonized, but that they remain as separate nodes.
12. Mr. You observed that ICLEI’s process of identifying case-studies and its reporting format were different from the BLP, but that ICLEI could recommend selected cases for inclusion on the best practices database.
13. Mr. Sims suggested that ICLEI use the BP database’s fields to ensure the sharing of information.
14. Mr. Frank stressed as crucial that convergence between databases be extremely close.
15. Mr. Arias said that the BLP had to realize that such convergence may not happen, highlighting the work of the School of Architecture at the University of Madrid. There case-studies are being prepared from those found on the database. He stressed that this flexibility was crucial.
16. Mr. You agreed that this flexibility was important.
17. Mr. You then brought a temporary halt to the discussion, noting that the day’s programme had yet to be agreed upon. He proposed that there be an open discussion until the lunch break and during which working groups and their terms of reference would be created. He suggested a ten-minute break to allow participants to review a two-page list of issues that arose during the first day’s discussions and catalogued by UNCHS (see attached). After the break, each person would be invited to add an issue to the list or to highlight a specific issue on the list.
18. After the break, Ms. Serageldin was invited to begin discussions.
19. Ms. Serageldin focused on the role of National Committees in the submission process, observing that National Committees should not be allowed to become the sole responsible agent for the identification of new submissions. She also added that the BLP had to take advantage of upcoming conferences, particularly those with a policy-setting agenda, to promote the idea of best practices.
20. Mr. Arias observed that the BLP should nevertheless support National Committees where they exist.
21. Mr. Yap stressed that the openness of the submission process was the uppermost priority.
22. Ms. Peltenburg noted that a field might be created on the database that asked submitters to state which organisations supported their submission. Such a field might help users evaluate the credibility of a submission.
23. Mr. You explained that UNCHS would issue a guide for National Committees, local authorities, NGOs/CBOs and the private sector on the roles they can play in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. This document would be circulated to BLP partners for their feedback. He proposed that National Commitees be encouraged to work positively through the holding of exhibitions, conferences and competitions.
24. Mr. Shiffman noted that there was a real difference between a popular practice and a best practice.
25. Mr. Otto-Zimmerman brought up the issue of the name “Best” Practice, questioning who was in a position to judge what was “best”. He felt that only users of the information were in a position to decide if a practice merited the label “best”.
26. Mr. You replied that when the idea of best practices was originally proposed during the Habitat II preparatory process, Habitat had recommended the name “good practices”. The first PrepCom, however, changed this to “best practices” and then, when the second PrepCom also recommended “best practices” this was the formulation adopted by the General Assembly.
27. Ms. Peltenburg noted that there appeared to be conflicting objectives between the Award process and the use of best practices. Best practices were not being used elsewhere. The real purpose of best practices was to improve the quality of life and that the real proof of a “best” practice should be its practical transfer on the ground.
28. Mr. You replied that eight of the 12 Best Practices were currently being transferred. He added that the criteria for a best practice had not only been adopted by the General Assembly, but 900 people from 91 countries had helped develop these criteria at the Dubai International Conference on Best Practices. If the criteria for a best practice were to be modified, it should be through a broad-based process.
29. Ms. Serageldin observed that the name “best practices” was here to stay and that the transferability of an initiative should not be a pre-requisite to submission. The use of the database was much broader than transfers.
30. Mr. Shiffman called attention to an unintended consequence of the Award. The attention of receiving the Award places new burdens on the initiative: their resource base may become stretched too thin and the excellent work they’ve been doing on the ground is undermined. The failure of the recipients to maintain their quality of work may further call into question the whole best practice process itself.
31. Mr. Gaye expressed his concern that an over-reliance on National Committees would result, in some countries, in the attempt by Governments to legitimize their own initiatives.
32. Mr. Frank asked whether or not National Committees were mandated to be broad-based.
33. Mr. You confirmed this and went on to propose that, given the fact that there seemed to be consensus on the issue of the role of National Committees, UNCHS would: circulate the relevant portion of the submission guidelines dealing with National Committees to Steering Committee members for their feedback; that at the 16th Commission on Human Settlements, UNCHS would obtain a list of National Committees that would be continuing their work; and that it would be made clear that National Committees did not have a monopoly on the identification of new submissions. He pointed out that part of UNCHS’ mandate was to provide assistance to those countries that did not have National Committees in the first round.
34. Mr. Frank then pointed out the need for a media campaign to announce the second call for submissions.
35. Mr. You replied by saying that UNCHS would circulate the guidelines to the Permanent Representatives to UNCHS in Nairobi, to other UN Agencies and to major partner groups.
36. Mr. Shiffman noted the need for a close analysis of the Habitat Agenda to identify specific issue raised there. He recommended that submissions in such areas, for example youth, women and the right to housing, be encouraged.
37. Mr. You then asked Ms. Peltenburg to single out an issue for discussion.
38. Ms. Peltenburg suggested that greater attention needs to be paid to making the database information of high enough quality to allow users to work from it directly, without contacting the initiative directly.
39. Mr. Fricska noted that there was an important distinction between submissions and case-studies. While submissions were used for networking and information exchange, case-studies prepared by regional and thematic centres would provide the substantive information required by researchers and other practicing professionals.
40. Ms. Peltenburg expressed the additional concern that regional and thematic centres would come under an extra burden responding to requests for information.
41. Mr. Shiffman stated that the overall goal is to help people share their experiences. He proposed that regional and thematic centres visit and evaluate practices and prepare case-studies on them. These case-studies would help insulate initiatives from increased demand.
42. Mr. Steward observed that there were two separate stages being discussed concurrently: that of the Award; and that of transfers. While transfers were related, he suggested, too much emphasis should not be placed on them at this stage.
43. Mr. Frank explained that he was not overly worried about the Award process, noting its important public relations role. The workload of regional and thematic centres will increase and the BLP needs to ensure that these centres can handle the new demand. He added that transferability was difficult to measure and to monitor and that it was more important to record the use of submissions.
44. Mr. Sims noted that there is a certain degree of entrepreneurialism involved in making use of the database by contacting submitters for more information. He expressed his concern that UNCHS would become overloaded with responsibilities if it also took on the role of guiding transfers.
45. Mr. Yap suggested that the objective of the BLP is the tranfer of BPs.
46. Ms. Peltenburg reiterated her concern regarding the role of regional and thematic centres. If people couldn’t come up with sufficient information from the database itself, extra responsibilities would be placed on the centres.
47. Mr. Arias suggested that a working group be established on the use of the database, on dissemination, the preparation of case-studies and on transfers. He added that the whole point of best practices was to have local experiences shared at the international level.
48. Mr. You addressed three issues that had come out of the preceding discussions. First, he emphasized that the database was primarily a networking tool; the preparation of case-studies was an expensive and completely different process. The important issue was to identify how the process of networking could also serve the BLP by extracting the lessons learned and sharing them with the world.
49. Mr. You then reiterated that the BLP was not about transferring initiatives, but about empowerment through the sharing of knowledge, experience and expertise. He urged that the idea of knowledge be redefined to include two parallel aspects: the real-life experience in solving problems; and the people-skills necessary to implement solutions.
50. Mr. You also pointed out that real exchange only occurs when people get together. He noted that the BLP had the potential to transform how bilateral and multilateral agencies work. The existing model of technical cooperation involved sending in a consultant to prepare a report - a very expensive process. The preferred model, he suggested, was peer-to-peer learning: bringing together people to share ideas and experiences.
51. Mr. You suggested that David Ludlow, representing Euronet, be invited to introduce himself and his organisation.
52. Mr. Ludlow explained that Euronet was working with the European Commission and that it was committed to developing the BP initiative with ICLEI. He explained that his goal was to determine how Euronet’s research and training expertise could be brought into the BLP.
53. Mr. You then asked Mr. Sims if there were a particular issue he wished to raise.
54. Mr. Sims had two: the need for consensus on a submission process and timeframe, with procedures for feedback and verification. He also raised the issue of database dissemination. He noted that while all BLP Partners required full access to the Web version of the database, were Partners then free to disseminate the database: how would the line between costs and revenues be drawn?
55. Mr. Yap responded to Mr. Sims’ first point by expressing the need for clarification regarding the role of centres in the submission process: what assistance from centres to submitters was expected.
56. Ms. Mueller asked what evaluative role existed for regional and thematic centres.
57. Ms. Serageldin noted that the real evaluation of submissions was done by the Technical Advisory Committee.
58. Mr. Frank observed that the role of regional and thematic centres concerned the clarification and verification of submissions.
59. Ms. Peltenburg raised the issue that some existing cases did not in fact meet the required criteria. She asked whether the BLP wanted to introduce a layer of evaluation at the level of regional and thematic centres.
60. Mr. Gaye suggested expanding the network of centres to help with the analysis.
61. Mr. Yap raised the issues of consultant-written cases and those submissions with clearly fabricated information: should centres reject these submissions outright, or work with them to improve them?
62. Mr. Sims noted the need for a common procedural manual. He suggested that a submission be seconded by someone to assist in the verification process.
63. Mr. You noted the distinction between Award selection process and the submission process. There is a need to inform submitters early on whether or not they’ve met the submission criteria and for centres to engage in a minimum of verification. He explained that in the first round the 6-700 submissions received were too many to accord each proper feedback. He added that an improved reporting format, the addition of guidelines for preparing the submission and 2-3 examples of well-written submissions should help improve the next round of submissions. The idea then would be to have two centres independently review each submission.
64. Mr. You added that up to now there had been a quantitative bias in the submission process, but that the comparative advantage of regional and thematic centres lay in the qualitative area. Therefore, there should be greater emphasis placed on the quality of submissions in subsequent rounds.
65. Ms. Peltenburg noted the danger that differing quality of feedback given to submitters would create unequal chances to win an Award.
66. Mr. You noted that the working group dealing with this issue would have to achieve consensus not only on BLP policy regarding feedback, but also come up with a common framework on the kind of feedback received.
67. Mr. You suggested that two working groups had emerged: one on transfer related issues and another on database related issues.
68. A brainstorming session followed which produced the following terms of reference for the transfer issues working group: feedback on the use of the database and transfers; roles and responsibilities of centres in the development of case-studies; application of the database to training and other forms of transfer; the nature of support required; and, how lessons-learned from transfers could be shared
69. The database working group would examine the following issues: submission procedures; reporting format; review and feedback procedures; status of existing cases; and the technical aspects of using the Intranet in this process.
70. Mr. You then continued around the table to ask individuals to identify specific issues for discussion.
71. Mr. Arias suggested the role of partners in dissemination and translation required further discussion.
72. Mr. Shiffman raised the issue of the role of centres in the cross-regional knowledge transfer process.
73. Mr. Steward noted the need to clarify three issues: the nature of the workload in situations where regional and thematic centres overlap; the authority of regional and thematic centres to expand the network of partners to assist in the BP process; and, the issue of unified news releases, public relations campaigns and the development of a common logo.
74. Mr. You proposed a third working group to tackle issues related to the 1998 Awards process, including the following suggestions: developing a Road Map to 1998; dissemination; media; public relations; a calendar of events and opportunities; logos and symbol standardization; harmonization of Home Pages; use of Partner Fees; fundraising; existing gaps in the BLP network; and principles for the composition of the Technical Advisory Committee.
75. Ms. Fernandes asked how the TAC was selected.
76. Mr. You replied that it should be determined in part by the types of submissions received. If there were an overwhelming number of submissions in one particular theme, greater competency in that area would have to be a criteria.
77. Mr. Steward observed that in his experience previous winners of an Award make good judges for subsequent rounds.
78. Mr. You then proposed that the steering committee break out into its working groups. The reports of these working groups are attached below. The main points of these reports were presented at the end of Day 2 without the possibility for a detailed question period.


Day Three: 6 February 1997
Morning Plenary Session
1. Mr. You called the meeting to order to recap the outcome of yesterday’s working groups.
2. He noted that Working Group B had made an important recommendation to streamline the submission process to a one-step process. This would have important implications for the revision of the nomination diskette and the “Guide to Submitting Best Practices” for the second round of Awards. It would also affect the work of Working Group C, responsible for creating a time-line and calendar of events leading to the 1998 Awards. He noted that Mr. Sims had offered an estimate of one-month for the revision and testing of a new nomination diskette containing a new reporting format, instruction guide and examples of well-documented submissions. He suggested that this working group take within its mandate not only the revision of the reporting format, but also the revision of the “Guide to Submitting Best Practices”.
3. Mr. You added that Working Group A on Transfers had requested some additional time to clarify their presentation and report.
4. Regarding Working Group C on the 1998 Awards Process, Mr. You noted that this group had been most affected by the reports of Day 2 and would have to reconvene to adjust their schedule to the new realities.
5. A brief question period followed.
6. Ms. Perlman asked how other partners and other networks of partners could be brought within the BLP structure.
7. Mr. You suggested that an additional Working Group be formed to deal with the issue of Associate Partners.
8. Mr. Yap asked how it might be possible to ensure that rejected submissions stay within the BLP system and that any lessons-learned are properly extracted.
9. Mr. You concurred, noting that a mechanism had to be devised to enable BLP partners to share the lessons of “bad practices” among themselves and with outside parties.
10. Mr. Shiffman asked how BPs were judged, whether this was done on a thematic basis.
11. Mr. You replied that the emphasis was on the process used, not on thematic areas.
12. Mr. Steward added that the establishment of categories for Awards in advance created the danger of self-selecting only those practices.
13. Mr. Shiffman asked whether controversial submissions were automatically removed from the competition to avoid confrontation.
14. Mr. You explained that this was not the practice. He added that there had to be total independence between the TAC and the Steering Committee.
15. Mr. You then suggested that the three existing Working Groups begin their work and report back to the Plenary just before lunch. The Fourth Working Group would begin its work while the rapporteurs from the first three groups met to compile a working document to be presented to the plenary.
16. The Plenary adjourned.

Report of Working Group A: Transfers
1. Ms. Peltenburg reported that the principles to guide BLP transfers was that these were transfers of ideas, not replication; and that the global Award process be user-driven.
2. Ms. Peltenburg added that in terms of future action, the following recommendations could be offered:

themes and threads should emerge from the database and encourage meaningful dialogue;
meaningful feedback should be incorporated into the transfer process;
the enhancement and capacity-building of all BLP partners was important;
beyond the Awards lies the more important area of exchanging ideas.
3. Ms. Perlman reiterated that it was important to open access to users who can give feedback.

Report of Working Group B: The Database
1. Mr. Frank began the reconvened Plenary meeting by reporting on the activities of the working group examining the reporting format.
2. Mr. Frank stated that there remained a lot of work, but the following conclusions had been reached: first, the group reiterated the conclusion that there was a paramount need for all partners to use a single database structure and reporting format; second, that very few revisions had been proposed to the existing reporting format, though there were suggestions to add financial information to the list of questions; and, third, that the narrative required greater clarity to ensure that submissions included valuable information.
3. Mr. Fricska added that there had been a further suggestion to remove the option of searching the database by “keywords”.
4. Mr. Sims added that despite the removal of “keywords,” the ability to employ a full-text search of the narrative texts was a powerful search option currently available.
5. The group agreed to work during lunch to revise the reporting format and narrative structure.

Working Group C: 1998 Award Process
1. Mr. Steward explained that they had revised the timetables according to the recommendation that the submission process be streamlined into a one-step format. He stressed the need for a comprehensive feedback loop to submitters, especially for those not recommended for the TAC and Jury process.
2. Mr. Steward explained that regular meetings of the Steering Committee should be held to coincide with the Award Ceremony. These meetings should be partly celebratory, but also should reevaluate the past biennium’s results. Meetings should also be held in non-Award years at an event in which many BLP partners will be present.
3. In terms of fundraising, Mr. Steward reported that every proposal submitted should include costs for monitoring and evaluation and overhead costs for both UNCHS and the specific centre drafting the proposal. Additionally, the group recommended that UNCHS be informed of the nature of the request at least one month prior to the proposal’s submission.
4. Mr. You added that there should be a specific time-line for the feedback to those recommended for the TAC and Jury process. All others, the group recommended, should receive a holding letter until after the Awards had been given so that more detailed feedback could be supplied.
5. A brief question period followed.
6. Mr. Frank expressed his concerns that the monitoring and evaluation process had been unduly centralized.
7. Mr. You replied that UNCHS would not be monitoring the BLP partners, but would be using the monitoring and evaluation process to develop tools, methodologies and instruments of value to all BLP partners. He added that Partners should work together to undertake joint monitoring and evaluation missions in regions/themes of common work. To help ensure a coordinated process, he suggested that terms of reference be drafted for each monitoring and evaluation mission.
8. Mr. You then adjourned the meeting for lunch.

Final Plenary Session: Reports from Working Groups
1. Mr. You reconvened the Plenary, explaining that the proceedings would have to be adopted orally, with UNCHS taking the responsibility of circulating a draft for Partner comments and clarifications. He added that due to his impending departure, he would cede the Chair’s duties to Mr. Fricska.
2. Mr. You thanked everyone for their valuable efforts in the present meeting, stating that the Steering Committee had come a long way since the chaos of its first meeting in Istanbul. He recommended that the Steering Committee seize the opportunity presented by upcoming meetings, such as the Commission on Human Settlements and the General Assembly meeting to convene together the BLP partners.
3. Mr. Steward offered a resolution of thanks to IHS for their hospitality during the meeting.

Working Group B: Database Issues
1. Mr. Frank thanked Mr. You for chairing the meeting and began the final report of the working group responsible for database-related issues.
2. Mr. Frank explained that while there were no major revisions to the reporting format as a whole, the working group had made some suggested improvements to the report’s narrative structure (see attached). He added that there had been an addition of a section dealing with sustainability and more emphasis on lessons-learned by the practices.
3. In terms of the keywords, Mr. Frank reiterated the group’s recommendations that they be removed in favour of a full-text search.
4. Mr. Fricska added that the group had also recommended that the Guidelines be re-issued as an A4 brochure, including only the most relevant information, such as: a time-line, including deadlines, for the 1998 Awards Process; a description of the submission process (perhaps via a flow-chart); addresses of where submissions can be sent, including both BLP partners and National Committees; a brief narrative history of the BLP; a list of 1996 recipients; web-site addresses and logos; and, greater emphasis on the use of the database for learning.
5. Mr. Sims added that the productivity of the working groups recommended that more time be spent in smaller groups than in Plenary discussions.

Working Group A: Transfers
1. Ms. Peltenburg reported that transfers had received a lot of attention at the Steering Committee meeting and offered the following recommendations:

the database allow for different forms of navigation, based on themes, threads, cases, methodologies, etc.;
the database should allow for meaningful feedback;
the enhancement and capacity-building of the BLP Partners was an important priority;
the development of the Awards was good, especially for generating new submissions, but a mechanism to encourage transfers was also required;
there is a need to educate donours regarding the concept of transfers and their resource-intensive nature; and,
transfer issues demand a higher priority.
2. Ms. Peltenburg added that several unresolved issues existed:
a/ the resource implications of transfers: which methodologies are the most cost-effective?
b/ within the database there is greater need for different types of feedback, for example, on the general use of the database itself.
3. Mr. Sims replied that he would prepare a list of several options for this kind of feedback, including the costs of each, to be reviewed by the Steering Committee. He urged that carefully conceived, small steps be taken to ensure that whatever avenues for feedback were adopted, were effectively monitored and moderated.

Working Group C: 1998 Awards Process
1. Mr. Steward presented three outputs: the Action Targets; the Awards Roadmap; and the Fundraising brief (see attached).
2. The fundraising issues, Mr. Steward explained, turned out to be the most controversial. He explained that each proposal submitted to donours had to include funding for overhead costs and for monitoring and evaluation. This did not mean, however, that UNCHS would become the sole Partner responsible for monitoring and evaluation.
3. Mr. Steward added that a separate database of fundraising proposals would be created by UNCHS to record the basic parameters of each funding request submitted by partners.

Working Group D: BLP Network and Associate Partners
1. Mr. Yap reported that an additional group had met to discuss outstanding issues related to new partners (see attached report).
2. Mr. Yap explained that several issues had emerged in their discussions:

the nature of “associate partners” and their roles and responsibilities within the BLP;
the composition of the Steering Committee;
financial aspects of access to the Internet;
3. Decisions were taken, Mr. Yap explained, that UNCHS would study the gaps within the existing network and the cost-implications of “associate partners”.

Afternoon Plenary Session
Final Discussion and Adoption of Reports
1. Mr. Sims suggested that the BLP would benefit from drafting a constitution, including by-laws and procedures for its management.
2. Ms. Peltenburg remarked that the membership of the Steering Committee should be confined to those institutions able to fulfill the requirements of review, validation, etc. expected of the original members.
3. Ms. Perlman added that the addition of new criteria for Steering Committee members would be awkward.
4. Mr. Frank then reviewed the contents of Mr. Bijlmer’s fax: its request for a strong focus on the application of the database, not simply obtaining new submissions; that existing cases be consolidated and updated as necessary; that the doubts regarding the institutional framework of the BLP be addressed.
5. Ms. Peltenburg noted that the working group on transfers had, in her opinion, not only met, but exceeded the recommendations of Mr. Bijlmer.
6. Mr. Frank reiterated the need for a system to monitor the use of the database.
7. Ms. Perlman added that Mega-Cities had devised a methodology for monitoring transfers that it had been using for over a decade. Mega-Cities, she said, could be in a position to donate all this experience to the BLP.
8. Mr. Fricska then closed discussions, indicating that the proceedings would contain many issues requiring further consideration by the BLP. He recommended that the reports of the working groups be adopted as these proceedings and that they be circulated as quickly as possible for Partner comments and clarifications.
9. Mr. Sims seconded the motion and Mr. Steward also indicated his support for the motion.
10. The proceedings and working group reports were orally adopted.
11. Mr. Fricska thanked all the participants for their hard-work, IHS for its hospitality and logistical support, and brought the Steering Committee meeting to a close.


Report of Working Group A: Transfers
Day 2, Wednesday, 5 February 1997


Malick Gaye
Monique Peltenburg
Mona Serageldin
Ron Shiffman
Kioe Sheng Yap
Key Policy Recommendation: High value to be placed on transfers/ use of the database

Three Categories of Equally Important Transfers:
1. Those influencing policies or practices across cities/ regions/ cultures policy-making

only a short window of opportunity exists
need for synthesis and qualitative assessment
2. Direct contact transfers: grassroots/ exchanges of practices
see what others are doing
free others to generate new ideas
3. Facilitate/ Animate: managed transfers
extract models
self education
Therefore, the transfer of best practices becomes grounded in comparative practices, exchange of ideas, exchange of approaches for a particular subject or theme.
Other Principles to Guide Transfers Based on the Database

broad access and dissemination
respect (micro and macro-levels)
Need to avoid the cloning of cases
Importance of encouraging feedback and capturing this feedback on the database
Different types of feedback are envisioned
- on the use of submissions themselves
- on the application of submissions across a specific theme or subject area
- on the general use of the database
Note: In all cases, the BLP needs to recognize that the process of using the database imbues the submissions and the database itself with value
Need for a fundraising strategy to support the transfer process
- for transfers themselves
- for capacity building
- for dissemination
Need for alternative navigation possibilities for searching the database
- by themes: a limited number of themes such as urban management, housing, urban environmental management, urban poverty, capacity-building, etc.
- by threads, such as specific issues which have corresponding submissions providing alternative solutions
Potential Barriers in the Transfer Process
A model was developed featuring macro-level (global) and a micro-level (grassroots) action. It was agreed that barriers to effective sharing could arise either between the macro and micro levels, or, between each individual level. The UN, for example, might face barriers to effective communication with a grassroots NGO, but might also encounter barriers to effectively disseminating the results of its transfer to other organisations operating at the macro level. To cross these potential barriers, efforts had to be made to translate information, facilitate and mutually-educate each other. At the same time, a system of feedback and mutual learning, including qualitative assessments, had to be incorporated between the users and suppliers of best practices information.

Roles and Responsibilities in the Transfer Process
Need to establish a clear relationships between centres on the subject of transfers
a/ Regional Centres:

needs and concerns must be articulated
regional centres to assist local efforts
b/ Thematic Centres:
joint effort to distill information
thematic centres must establish networks to enhance their capacities
address policy issues; to change on the ground practices and to engage in a process of educating donours and other institutions.
Tasks for the Future
1. Feedback mechanisms like those described above must be designed;
2. Enhancement of existing transfer mechanisms and development of new methods, including the use of new technologies;
3. More precise working relationships between partners and the secretariat to be elaborated
4. Development of a fundraising strategy for transfers, capacity building and dissemination


Working Group B: Database and Submission Process
Day 2, Wednesday, 5 February 1997


Ed Frank
Szilard Fricska
David Ludlow
Ariane Mueller
Bill Sims
Key Policy Recommendation: One step submission process.

1. Openness: Every effort should be made to encourage submissions from as diverse a range of actors as possible;
2. Simplicity: New submitters should be able to submit their work to any of the regional or thematic partners constituting the BLP;
3. One step process: the past two-step process (executive summary and diskette) will be stream-lined to a one-step process involving DOS and Windows diskettes and the World Wide Web;
4. Assistance: To ensure that the above principles are maintained for the wide range of submitters, paper versions of the reporting format as well as technical support in the preparation of the submissions would be made available wherever possible;
5. Exploring new and innovative means of outreach: use of audio-tape and other alternative means of submission should be explored

Working Modalities:
1. Submitters may submit to any of the BLP partners, to UNCHS or via the World-Wide-Web;
2. All submissions received will be forwarded first to UNCHS;
3. UNCHS will then distribute the submission to two BLP partners (one of whom may be UNCHS itself), based on the submissions thematic area or region of origin;
4. The two partners, independently, will review the submission according to the following three criteria:

completeness (all the questions have been answered);
compliance with the guidelines for answering the questions contained on the nomination diskette; and
clarity of the responses and presentation of the initiative.
5. Verification of the submission’s information;
6. At any time during stages {4} and {5} above, the reviewer may contact the submitter to offer feedback to submitters or to verify information;
7. Each partner will make recommendations to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) based on three options:
best practice
good practice
not recommended
8. The two centres’ recommendations will be compiled in the following matrix:
best practice - best practice;
best practice - good practice;
good practice - good practice;
good practice - not recommended;
not recommended - not recommended.
9. The recommendations will result in the following outcomes:
The first two recommendations will result in the submission automatically being forwarded to the TAC for consideration in the 1998 Awards for Excellence;
The third recommendation will result in the submission being considered for inclusion in the good practices database;
The fourth recommendation will result in the submission being forwarded to an independent third reviewer for arbitration;
The last submission will be archived.
Action Required:
1. Media Campaign announcing second round of submissions;
2. Revision of the nomination diskette, including: reporting format, addition of guide to the questions and examples of well-prepared submissions;
3. Development of common feedback/review sheet.


Working Group C: Road Map for the 1998 Awards Process
Day 3, Thursday, 6 February 1997


Felix Arias
Deise Fernandes
Mohammed Julfar
Munther A. Juma
Konrad Otto-Zimmerman (on Day 2)
Cecil Steward
Nick You
Action Targets:
21 February 1997 (UNCHS)
Initiate Publication of a Brochure

15 March 1997 (Partners)
Distribute Information to Special Events Coordinators

31 March 1997
Install Guidelines on BLP database

01 September 1997
Develop Framework for Knexpert System

roster of expertise
identify gaps in knowledge, experience, capacities
21 February 1997
Inform UNCHS of Special Events (for BLP Awards Advertising)
15 March 1997
Identify Media Contacts List

2 April 1997
Identify Distribution List for Guidelines

Construct Home Page of “News” with Posting Headings:
BLP Transfers - Progress
New Practices
Developments in Existing Practices
Focus on cases/studies
(To be posted at least 1/month)

Partners Fundraising Reports
(summary information, posted at least one month prior to submission of a proposal)

NOTE: In principle, Partners Meetings should occur at least once per 12 month period:
a/ at each Award Programme site
b/ in alternate years, at an International Congress, Commission or Conference

1998 Awards Roadmap

30 April 1997 BP Net Information

1 May 1997 Revised Diskette Circulated

1 June 1997 Diskette Distribution

1 February 1998 Entry Submission (Disk)

Ongoing Feedback to Submitters
a/ not recommended status letter to those in categories 3 and 4;
b/ feedback letter to those in categories 1 and 2.

20 May 1998 Partners Recommend Themes, Projects

30 May 1998 TAC Evaluations (100 Submissions)

July 1998 Selections Jury

October 1998 Awards Ceremony (and Partners Meeting)

November 1998 Detailed Feedback (to those in categories 1 and 2)


Principle: All proposals under the BLP imprimatur should include funding for evaluation and monitoring and overhead costs.

Objective: To enhance state of the art for sustainable development (methods, tools, etc.)

UNCHS Experience:

a/ It is hard for donours to grasp BLP concept;

b/ Many potential donours at local and national levels have interest but incomplete information and no strategy for participation;

c/ UNCHS has a mandate for “evaluation and monitoring of the BLP Programmes but not budget. Financial support for these functions must be arranged through the Partners.

Partners’ Expectations:
a/ UNCHS information, support and credibility which lends strength to fundraising opportunities for Partners to support implementation and overhead costs.


Working Group D: The BLP Network and Associate Partners
Day 3, Thursday, 6 February 1997


Andrea Connell
Monique Peltenburg
Kioe Sheng Yap
Nicholas You
1. The BLP should be inclusive, however, the Steering Committee needs to remain within manageable proportions;
2. The first priority is to fill obvious gaps which include:
East and Southern Africa
Arab States
East and Central Europe
3. A second centre in Asia should also be identified.
Working Modalities:
1. To identify existing gaps within the network;
2. To identify potential organisations or institutions which can join as “full” partners;
3. In the absence of the above, to facilitate the formation of coalitions to play the role of full partners.

1. Associate Partners should sign a “letter of intent” committing themselves to facilitating at least one of the following four major functions:

Identification and validation of new submissions;
Dissemination especially through newsletters and other means;
Transfers; and,
Analysis and synthesis
2. Any full partner can suggest/ sponsor associate partners;
3. All new designations of new partners are to be approved by Steering Committee members.
4. Associate partners should contribute to the maintenance costs of the database and of the Intranet, where possible.


BPSC 1997 Participants List

Felix Arias, Ministry of Development, Government of Spain
Alioune Badiane, UNDP-UNCHS Urban Management Programme, Africa
Joachim Bergerhoff, International Union of Public Transport (UITP)
Joep Bijlmer, Government of The Netherlands
Ato Brown, SKAT, Switzerland
Omar Cisse, IAGU, Senegal
Andrea Connell, International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) and WACLAC
Deise Fernandes, Brazilian Institute for Municipal Administration (IBAM)
Ed Frank, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
Szilard Fricska, Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme, UNCHS
Malick Gaye, ENDA Tiers Monde
Mohammed Abdulkarim Julfar, Head of Administrative Development Office, Dubai Municipality
Munther Akram Juma, Head of Foreign Relations and Organizations, Dubai Municipality
Pierre Laconte, International Union of Public Transport (UITP)
Ariane Mueller, Future Base Vienna
Jose Luis Nicolas, Ministry of Development, Government of Spain
Konrad Otto-Zimmerman, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI Europe
Monique Peltenburg, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
Janice Perlman, Executive Director, Mega Cities Inc.
Mona Serageldin, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Unit for Housing and Urbanization
Ron Schiffman, Pratt Institute Centre for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED)
Bill Sims, Together Foundation
Mohammed Soumarre, ENDA Tiers Monde
W. Cecil Steward, Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities
Patrick Wakely, Development Planning Unit (DPU), University of London
Kioe Sheng Yap, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)
Nicholas You, Coordinator, Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme, UNCHS


Jo Beall, London School of Economics
Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, Member, US President’s Council on Sustainable Development
Ousseynou Eddje Diop, Mellisa, South Africa
Nicky Nzioki, East African NGO Network, Kenya
Mariko Sato, CITYNET
Sandra Smithey, USAID
Catallina Trujillo, Women in Human Settlements Development Programme, UNCHS
Diet von Broemsben, Ministry of Housing, South Africa

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