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Executive Summary

Best Practices Steering Committee
Executive Summary of the 1998 Steering Committee Meeting

Hosted by the Municipality of Dubai, U.A.E., 20-23 June 1998
The objectives of the Steering Committee convened in and hosted by the Municipality of Dubai were as follows:

1. To share and review individual partner contributions to the Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme (BLP);
2. To review the outcomes of and progress made in implementing the recommendations of the 1997 Steering Committee meeting;
3. To assess the experiences of the second round of submissions leading to the 1998 Dubai International Award (DIA) and to adopt strategies for the further development of new and existing products;
4. To determine the further development of the BLP as a partner initiative;
5. To define and agree upon the operational framework of the Steering Committee, including its Terms of Reference, its financial future and modalities of operation;
6. To develop partnership strategies and activities that contribute to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

Further to the presentation of individual partners on their respective activities and contributions to the BLP, a series of issues were identified and grouped for deliberation by working groups of the Steering Committee with a view to the formulation of policies and recommendations.
The main outcomes of these working groups can be summarised as follows:

Working Group I: 1998 DIA Submission Process and Recommendations for 2000

1. Modalities were agreed upon the improve the validation process to achieve the overall objective of improving the quality of submissions
2. No major changes will be made to the existing format for submissions;
3. A road map was established leading to the 2000 DIA;
4. Mechanisms, including the adoption of a two-stage submission process, were agreed upon to provide better feedback to submitters through both regional and thematic centres as part of the capacity-building objectives of the BLP;
5. The DIA was re-defined as a periodic incentive for a continuous process of identifying, documenting and disseminating value-added information on the impact, the processes and the application of positive experiences in improving the living environment.

Working Group II: Governance structure of the BLP
Working Group II developed draft Terms of Reference that would guide the future operations of the partnership and of the Steering Committee to be considered for adoption and/or amendment as appropriate.
Working Group II further recommended the use of the BLP Intranet as an effective means of improving communications between partners.

Working Group III: Database, case studies and transfers
The working group discussed issues related to the quality of existing and new submissions, as well as the further development of the database as a capacity-building tool.

It was decided that:

1. an ad hoc committee would be established to further develop action plans for the improvement of the existing database;

2. an ad hoc committee would be established to develop a generic tool to facilitate the production of casebooks and that case study development would be taken up in a selected manner and would be open to peer review by BLP partners. Case study development would require consent of original submitters and can take the form of individual case studies or case books;

3. to facilitate direct, peer-to-peer transfers by providing access to the Internet version of the best practice database to submitters and by empowering partners to mobilise funding for transfers;

4. the Steering Committee welcomes the establishment of the Dubai International Award Laureates’ Forum to track progress made by award-winning practices and to promote peer-to-peer transfers.

The working group decided to release the CD-ROM version of the database on 30 November 1998 in order to allow sufficient time for partners to provide feedback to submitters to improve the quality of their submissions.

The following time-line for the release of the database was adopted:
• End-July 1998: Pre-release of the Internet version of the database;
• 5 October 1998: Official release of the Internet version;
• 30 November 1998: Official release of the CD-ROM version.

Working Group IV: Fund-raising and Finances
The working group discussed issues and policies for fund-raising, partners’ fees and collection of fees.
It was recommended that:

1. Full partner fees be established at $5,000 per year for the first two years and at $3,000 per year for the first two years for associate partners;

2. All outstanding fees be collected within 60 days from this meeting barring individual case extenuating circumstances;

3. The creation of a fund-raising conference on the Intranet for the provision of UNCHS support, information and recommendations on fund-raising strategies and possibilities as well as information supplied by each partner on local and international opportunities;

4. The establishment of a regular financial reporting and budgeting process, including the in-kind and in-cash contribution of each partner;

5. The new version of the database and other products would give due acknowledgement to partners and sponsors for its development.

The Steering Committee concluded with the view at its second meeting that the BLP was firmly established as a partnership initiative. It also felt that with this perspective in mind there is a need for further clarification on the following aspects:

1. Performance and contribution of each partner to the BLP;
2. Roles and responsibilities of the regional and thematic centres;
3. Further steps to improve the quality of the database;
4. Linkages and inter-linkages with other initiatives and partners;
5. Furthering of transfers and lessons learned.

It was also of the opinion of the Steering Committee that the establishment of the BLP Internet and Intranet is an important step towards improving its operations and its internal and external communications. However, issues that remain to be clarified include the inclusion of partner logos on the database, user and author rights and other legal matters pertaining to the range of BLP products.
The Steering Committee requests the permanent Secretariat of the BLP at UNCHS to address these issues and propose future courses of action at its next session or earlier.

The Steering Committee acknowledged the need for practical tools for the transfer of best practices to communities without access to electronic means of communication.

The Steering Committee extended it heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the generous support and excellent hospitality by its partner - the Municipality of Dubai.

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