City to City Cooperation

With over half of the world's population now living in cities and towns, the United Nations has prioritised sustainable urbanization. During the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in September 2002, the Political Declaration and the Implementation Plan endorsed the need for adequate shelter alongside other priorities such as Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity. At Istanbul + 5, in June 2001, the Special Session of the General Assembly, Governments issued a Declaration on Cities and other Human Settlements in the New Millennium which also endorsed the specific Millennium Declaration target of making a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. UN-Habitat's challenge is to promote partnerships to deliver the millennium development goals and further encourage the exchange of skills and lessons learned between cities.

Cities and local authorities have been fostering international cooperation since the foundation of the first international association of local authorities in 1913. Early exchange among cities in developed countries was followed by links with cities in developing countries. Today, C2C may take place between cities in neighbouring countries or between cities at opposite ends of the globe. Town twinning is one of the earliest examples of C2C. In recent years the scope of C2C has widened considerably, on the initiative of city leaders with the encouragement and assistance of international associations and networks of local authorities. Moreover, there are an increasing number of community to community exchanges taking place between cities in the developing world.

The following briefs although featured elsewhere under different rubrics showcase ongoing forms of cooperation and/or all possible forms of relationship between local authorities at any level in two or more countries which are collaborating together over matters of mutual interest, whether with or without external support. City to city cooperation connotes decentralisation where policies are based upon the principle of partnership and joint working between public authorities, non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, cooperatives, the private sector, and the informal sector.

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Kitakyushu's International Environmental Co-operation Programme, Japan

While growing into a major industrial zone as the birthplace of Japan's modern steelworks, Kitakyushu suffered severe pollution. The City tackled this menace through partnerships between local government, citizens, academia and private companies and through developing cutting edge technologies. Those efforts made the city regenerate from polluted city into the "environmental city".

The international environmental co-operation of Kitakyushu was initiated to share the city's experience in overcoming pollution and to support environmental improvement and sustainable development in developing countries. The goals of the international environmental co-operation are to conserve a clean environment and achieve sustainable environmental development for future generations. By forging strong partnerships with the private sector, educational institutions, NGOs involved in environmental issues and other stakeholders, focus was on human resource development and technology transfer to local government initiatives. More than 200 local private companies and civil-based organizations in Kitakyushu are supporting implementation of international co-operative training courses. Kitakyushu recommends initiatives to donor communities for environmental improvement. To gain experience, co-operation with donor funded projects were initiated and Kitakyushu-City employees became trainers in environmental management. Institutes specialised in environmental international co-operation were later established and a framework developed to contribute to environmental improvement effectively and efficiently.

The first project was initiated in Dalian City, China, which was awarded the UNEP Global 500 for significant achievement by co-operative projects with Kitakyushu. In Vietnam, co-operative projects on cleaner production (CP) with Kitakyushu achieved a 30-40% reduction of wastewater in the model factories in Ho Chi Minh City. In Metro Cebu, Philippines, after starting an international environmental training course through JICA programme, staff in charge of environmental management adopted a series of "action plans". Based on the action plans, projects have been initiated in cleaner production and solid waste management. Kitakyushu also supports a youth groups where citizens are trained and gain experience in environmental issues and are encouraged to promote their own activities.

The projects initiated utilized resources from the donor community and national and international systems of subsidy since the policy of local governments in Japan is to provide public welfare for the municipal communities. Kitakyushu is willing to share their technology and experiences with other cities interested in co-operation for environmental improvement.

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Housing Association of East London (HAEL), East London, South Africa

East London faced an enormous housing backlog, which was estimated at approximately 26,000 households. In addition to this large demand for quality and affordable housing for low and moderate income households, the city, like most South African cities, was characterised by urban sprawl and racial segregation patterns. The Housing Association of East London (HAEL) was established as a non-profit social housing company in 1998 and is a joint initiative between the Netherlands based housing association in South Africa (HASA) and the Buffalo city municipality. HAEL aims at providing quality and affordable rental accommodation to low and moderate-income households in East London.

HAEL embarked on its first social housing project in late 1999. To date, some 438 apartments have been completed at Belgravia Valley comprising of up to two bedroom units varying between 35 and 67 m2 in size. Rent for these units range from US$ 66 to US$ 96 per month. The multi-racial project is located within 15 kilometres of the East London CBD. In time, it will contribute greatly towards integrating the whole city into the programme.

A substantial part of the contract was given to a local, previously disadvantaged contractor, with local manufacturers and suppliers participating in the project. Thus, the US$ 3,412,308 project provided a substantial boost for the "struggling" East London economy.

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Southeast Asia Local Solid Waste Improvement Project (SEALSWIP), Vancouver

The goal was to demonstrate an integrated approach to urban sustainable development by addressing social, economic and environmental issues related to solid waste, and to involve all sectors as partners in a participatory decision-making process. Six cities in South East Asia were chosen: Hat Yai and Udon Thani in Thailand; Rantepao and Makale in Indonesia; and Iloilo and Bacolod in the Philippines. The objectives were: to address garbage issues across the entire spectrum of the community - to improve the quality of life and livelihoods of the scavengers and their children living on the dumpsites and that of the junkers who buy and sell recyclable material; to help the cities move from uncontrolled dumps to sanitary landfills; to establish solid waste management plans; to introduce recycling and composting programs; to introduce a multi-stakeholder decision making process involving the private, public and civil sectors; and to engage citizens and school children through public awareness campaigns. The achievements reported here celebrate the success of four cities (Bacolod, Udon Thani, Rantepao and Makale) that by 2002 had implemented the project.

The results were practical - reducing and managing solid waste; and profound - changing people's lives. Many of the outlined objectives were met and the lessons were shared among participating cities and others in the field in the three countries. The successful inclusion of the complete range of economic, social and environmental aspects in an integrated approach is the unique contribution of this project. The practice improved governance, built local capacity and improved solid waste management. This initiative has demonstrated that the approach is widely replicable in cities in developing countries.

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Global Integration through Housing and Jobs, Brussels, Belgium

A large proportion of the population residing in the European Union is faced with unemployment, inadequate housing and lack of access to urban services such as health care. Social housing providers were faced with difficulties in providing sustainable housing with a large number of people who lacked financial resources, skills and jobs. There was a need to find partners to work with them on issues such as debt mediation, training, job search and social support as they are not in a position to provide all of these services alone. The need for multidimensional and simultaneous responses to the problems faced in housing, employment, skills training health and social support prompted the establishment of IGLOO (Global Integration through Housing and Jobs).

The objective of IGLOO is to encourage concerted action between the relevant bodies for the adoption of efficient institutional and legislative solutions at regional, national and European levels, which are both economically viable and socially productive. The main strategy was to integrate housing provision, social support services, training and employment. IGLOO projects dovetail with local employment initiatives in partnership with local authorities who want to use house renovation and building contracts as an opportunity to generate local jobs and act on social exclusion, homelessness and substandard housing conditions. This is done by including a social clause in the contract conditions of companies being awarded public procurement contracts. The basic principle is that contractors are required to hire local labour to carry out the contract works. Social support and training are provided for the long-term unemployed.

The practice has been replicated in many cities around the world including Catalonia, the U.K., Madrid, and Sainte Marguerite-sur-Duclair creating jobs for many and providing shelter for those previously homeless. With a permanent residence, seeking for employment was easier with the assistance of the social support programmes.

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Mother Centre International Network /AG International, Stuttgart, Germany

The Mother Centres International Network is the result of a grassroots women's movement that started in Germany as a consequence of a research project at the German Youth Institute in Munich. Following the economic transition and war that was occuring in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the role of civil society has been systematically dismantled and family and neighbourhood networks destroyed. Unemployment, war trauma and unprecedented poverty often led to disorientation and retreat into depression and apathy.

Mother centres were created to address the needs of women and children and recreate family and neighbourhod structures in the community where modernisation in the West and totalitarian systems and war in the East have destroyed them. They empower mothers and create new channels for female participation and leadership in communities and local governance. They are an innovative model on how to strengthen civil society and democracy by revitalising neighborhoods and community culture. They are melting pots in the community for women of diverse class and ethnic backgrounds to meet and join forces to deal with everyday life issues, to create community services and to rechannel resources to the grassroots level. Mother centres are consulted regularly by municipal agencies as well as by local, regional and national governments. They advocate on gender and family issues and have had impact on national legislation and urban planning .

The first three model Mother Centres were funded by the German Government Department for Family Affairs. Following the transition in Central and Eastern Europe Mother Centres were created from the bottom up as self help initiatives in the Czech and Slovac Republics, in Bulgaria, Russia, Georgia and Bosnia Herzegowina. World wide there are now some 700 mother centers, including Africa and North America. The centres operate as a switchboard for information, skills, support and resources for every day life and survival issues. Depending on their size and how long they have been working, mother centres reach between 50 and 500 families in their neighbourhood and have proven to be successful with training and job re-entry programmes as well as creating new businesses and income generating opportunities.

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SYSLAB - Systems Laboratory for Innovation and Employment, Norway

Prior to 1991, hundreds of highly qualified people living in Norway were unemployed due to lack of job openings in the market place and redundancy following restructuring processes. They were often without any public or private means of assistance. SYSLAB (Systems Laboratory of Innovation and Employment) prototyped at the Bergen High-Technology Center, Norway was initially developed as a "workplace" for unemployed academics. The Norwegian Ministry of Labour, the Labour Authority in Hordaland County and the Municipality of Bergen were consulted and contributed to the mobilization of resources for 30 candidates who started a small "model company". Formal training is provided in team building, communication, presentation techniques, project development and entrepreneurship enhancing the candidates' knowledge base and competence. The candidates are selected from a multi-disciplinary, multi racial and gender balanced background - including emigrants and refugees. They are given tasks to be executed within the shortest time possible earning themselves work experience. Meetings are arranged with company managers within the region, initiating contact and forming relationships and in many cases, interviews being carried out.

Since its inception in 1992, 400 projects have been initiated and 91% of the candidates in Norway obtained permanent employment within 4 months. In 1996, SYSLAB was licensed to CESI in France, in 1998 to SIF, Sweden, and UNDP/MRES in Moscow Oblast. Currently, preparations are made for establishing SYSLAB in Lithuania. More than 1,500 people have participated in SYSLABs throughout Europe. Of these more than 80 % have obtained permanent jobs within a 6-month period at SYSLAB. SYSLAB candidates have to date started 100 new businesses.

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SODIS, Solar Water Disinfection, Dubendorf, Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG) challenged by the alarming statistics of disease infection and death rates due to the lack of access to safe drinking water, developed a very simple but extremely effective low-cost device for water purification that can be applied worldwide. The priorities were outlined with the rural population in developing countries in mind. The new method for water purification had to produce safe drinking water, be applicable at the household level, be simple in application, rely on local resources and renewable energy and be replicable with low investment costs.

Researchers carried out comprehensive laboratory and field-tests to develop and test the effectiveness of SODIS - the device developed for the purification of drinking water using solar energy. The principle behind SODIS is that radiation in the spectrum of UV/A and increased water temperature destroy pathogens that cause disease. A solar radiation intensity of at least 500W/m2 is required over a period of 5 hours for SODIS to be effective. To do this, all that is required is a simple plastic container such as disposable mineral water bottles with one side painted black and a cover to reduce the risk of re-contamination. Through a massive publicity campaign, including demonstrations, SODIS is in use in many developing countries where assessments have shown a decrease in infection rates and drastic improvements in children's nutritional status. Time and fuel consumption have been saved and less effort is required in purifying water using traditional means such as boiling. A survey carried out indicates that 84% of current users appreciate the new technology and will continue to use it in future. SODIS promotion and dissemination initiatives and activities are in progress or have been initiated in Latin America, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Kenya, Liberia, Angola, Mexico, Brazil amongst other developing nations.

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Solidarity in Literacy Programme, Brazil

The Solidarity in Literacy Programme was created in 1997 by the Solidarity Community Council, a national forum for the development of social actions based on partnerships between central government, private organisations and civil society. The programme is managed by a non-governmental organisation, the Association for the Support of the Solidarity in Literacy Programme. The programme's objective is to provide education to the illiterate at national level targeting the regions with highest illiteracy rates and adopting a model to meet the specific characteristics of each region.

The Programme's model is based on modules of semester literacy training that take place through a simple alliance between the government, civil society and the academic community that runs for 6 months. One month is dedicated to the training of the literacy trainers who are selected from within the community that will be served. The other five months are used to offer classes to the illiterate community.

By the end of 2001, 70% of the municipalities involved had increased the number of student enrolment by 114%. The programme qualified over 100,000 literacy trainers. The programme began in 38 municipalities is currently working in 2,010 municipalities, which corresponds to 45% of the Brazilian municipalities. The programme is being replicated in East Timor, Sao Tome and Principe, and Mozambique.

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The Mangaung Municipality Experience, Bloemfontein, South Africa

The Mangaung Local Municipality has implemented a system of participatory governance through ward planning. The system of participatory governance has assisted in the development of closer relationship with the community. The plans were implemented in 43 wards of MLM and are incorporated into the IDP, which is the strategic planning instrument.

The ward planning used by the municipality is yielding immense results, particularly in the area of local economic development. The planning assisted in collecting data on the levels, types and numbers of economic activities, existing opportunities, and priorities of the communities. The adapted version of the ward planning methodology has been developed in Uganda and they have adopted it as national policy.

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Livable Region Strategic Plan (LRSP) for the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Canada

The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) had been experiencing population growth from 750,000 in 1980 to 2,030,000 in 2002 increasing pressure on green space, traffic congestion and resulting in declining air quality. The 21 member municipalities of the Greater Vancouver region brought various stakeholders together in a series of workshops to develop the Livable Region Strategic Plan (LRSP). The LRSP provides the framework for making regional land use and transportation decisions in partnership with the GVRD's 21 member municipalities, the provincial government and other agencies. The plan led to the establishment of four goals: to protect the green zone; build complete communities; achieve a compact metropolitan area; and increase transportation choice and a regionally controlled and operated transit authority (Greater Vancouver Regional Transit Authority) incorporating previously independent entities. Implementation of the plan is integrated into the budgets of the member municipalities through their official community plans. As a result of this initiative, the protected green zone has increased by approximately 60,000 hectares since 1991. Air quality improvements have been significant as a result of reductions in emissions from industry and vehicles. A key-contributing factor to the success has been the formulation of a shared vision that guides the development.

Through the Vancouver-based International Centre for Sustainable Cities, established in 1993 as one of Canada's first Agenda 21 actions, Canadian expertise and technology is being applied in practical urban sustainability demonstration projects in the developing world, notably China, Southeast Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.

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Local Agenda 21 Model Communities Program in Jinja, (LA 21 MCP), Uganda

Jinja is the second largest urban centre in Uganda and serves as the principle urban centre and market for the Districts of Jinja, Iganga, Kamuli, Mukono and Pallisa, which together accommodate over 2.0 million people. The existing Municipality of Jinja encompasses an area of approximately 28 km square (2,800 hectares), and is strategically located at the point where the River Nile flows out of Lake Victoria. The town serves a catchment area of about 3.0 million people. The increasing urbanization and development resulted in corresponding demand and pressure on the environment that led to deterioration in environmental conditions. The LA 21 MCP was initiated in 1995 to improve services to residents while protecting and improving the natural environment in 14 select municipalities world-wide. This programme involved the active participation of community members and other stakeholders in problem identification, priority setting, analysis and activation processes. Partnership building was one of the main objectives of the programme and it began with the municipal management identifying and inviting interested groups and institutions in the Town. ICLEI, Canada played a major role in the initiation and execution of the programme. Project appraisal contributed to the planning process by assessing progress and putting in place corrective measures. ICLEI provided technical guidance and feedback on the activities such as community consultation, issue identification and priority setting.

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Regional Network of Local Authorities for Management of Human Settlements, Japan

Fast economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region in recent decades has created huge metropolitan centers that are confronting both national and local authorities with the challenge to adequately provide services for their rapidly growing urban populations. In order for local authorities to cope with this challenge, CITYNET was created through an initiative of UN-ESCAP and several local authorities in Asia and the Pacific.

CITYNET is a multi-actor network of urban local governments, development authorities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Asia-Pacific region. CITYNET acts as a facilitator at the regional level to promote the exchange of expertise, information, and experiences among its members based on TCDC (Technical Cooperation among Developing Cities).

CITYNET's mission is to act as a facilitator at the regional level to promote the exchange of expertise, information, and experiences among its members. The objectives of CITYNET are to strengthen the capacities of local governments to effectively manage the urban development process and to develop partnerships between various actors at the local level for the success of participatory local governance. CITYNET's ultimate goal is to help create people-friendly cities that are socially just, ecologically sustainable, politically participatory, economically productive, and culturally vibrant. CITYNET attempts to build organisational self-reliance through its members, consisting of 47 cities in Asia and the Pacific and 47 associate members, who all contribute financially to the Network. It conducts regional workshops, seminars and training, documents and disseminates urban development experiences, and develops regional databank on members and their projects

Membership fees cover the organizational budget and bilateral and multilateral donors such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provide the programme funding. The strategy employed to make CITYNET a success includes three key components: decentralization, 'bottom-up' approach and the empowerment of developing urban communities which result in strengthening the local authorities and building partnerships at local level for sustainable urban management.

CITYNET has grown from being an ESCAP's project whose existence depended on funds provided by bilateral donors to becoming an independent and viable institution. Its membership has grown from an initial number of 12 members in 1987 to 94, with more than half of them being local authorities from 17 countries. The number of activities implemented doubled between 1987 and 1995, averaging 20 per year.

One of the main lessons learnt is that building partnerships between local governments and communities changes the way decisions are made hence contributing to sustainability of the initiative. For instance, the involvement of various actors in local decision-making was demonstrated by the case of Songkhla City, Thailand, where the local government has set up an advisory board comprising various stakeholders to make policy suggestions to the Mayor.

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ECOPROFIT, Graz, Austria

The ECOPROFIT programme was developed in Graz by the joint collaboration of Environmental Department and the Technical University of the city of Graz. Cleaner Production Centre Austria (CPC Austria) was founded to promote exchange of experiences and lessons learned. The main task of the production centre is the further development and quality assurance of ECOPROFIT. ECOPROFIT, public private partnership programme for sustainable development, has as its main areas of activities finding measures for reducing environment hazards and achieving cost-effectiveness within these measures.

The objective of the initiative is to transfer of ECOPROFIT's ideology to other cities so that the cities can benefit from the success of ECOPROFIT. The CPC Austria disseminates and trains companies on ECOPROFIT's concepts, ensures quality and runs the international ECOPROFIT network. The transfer of knowledge is carried out by experts who train consultants and representatives of the municipality in the ECOPROFIT academy of the CPC Austria. The human resource is mobilized from the companies and the municipality to assist in project management. Consultants train representatives of the companies and offer consultancy services within participating companies. The financial resources, which are estimated to be about US$ 100,000 for consultants, project management, training and quality assurance for an ECOPROFIT project, come from the municipality and other companies.

The strategies used for replicating ECOPROFIT were the compilation of a document with examples to make the programme transferable for the regional adaptation of these papers. In addition, the ECOPROFIT's concept is marketed worldwide through the mass media and partners' network. One of the strategies that have made ECOPROFIT so successful is that consultants, authorities and companies work together as partners.

ECOPROFIT has shown remarkable results in reduction of emissions and increase of resource-efficiency with company-measures that lead to cost-effectiveness. Currently, there are more than 1,000 companies in about 50 cities around the world participating in the programme. In 2001, CPC Austria started a promotion tour in central and eastern European countries with about 200 contacts to national, regional and local governments. All these institutions are implementing ECOPROFIT as a best practice model for sustainable development. In addition, 105 companies in 38 different branches that participated in the last 10 years achieved cost effectiveness of 22 million Euros and an economic growth of up to 15% per year with municipal assistance of about 1.5 million Euros and company costs of about 0.75 million Euros. They achieved a reduction of eco-related expenses for energy, water, waste, emissions of up to 70%. In Graz, 53 companies from 30 different branches with a total of 18,500 employees and a turnover of US$ 3 billion have participated in the project. ECOPROFIT contributed substantially to elimination of smog.

Consultants and representatives of local authorities are trained on the job at the ECOPROFIT academy and workshops are organised for companies to transfer knowledge in cooperation with the consultants. Simultaneously these qualified employees of the companies form an internal ECOPROFIT team to plan and implement action plans in their respective companies in partnership with consultants. ECOPROFIT helps municipalities as a control mechanism for the implementation of sustainable structures, supports the realization of Local Agenda 21 objectives to realize Kyoto targets and helps to secure the compliance of the OECD guidelines and the "Global Compact" of the UN secretary general office. ECOPROFIT stimulates a change in technology and production patterns towards sustainability in the companies.

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The Sustainable Dar-es-Salaam Project, Tanzania

Dar-es-Salaam is the industrial and commercial centre for Tanzania with an estimated population of 2.5 million people and growing at approximately 8% per annum. The development of the city had not been coordinated despite the preparation of a number of master plans. As a result the city faced environmental deterioration due to inadequate urban infrastructure and services. The aim of SDP therefore was to manage the growth and development of Dar-es-Salaam by strengthening local capacity to plan, coordinate and manage environment/development interactions and preparing a long term dynamic and integrated development plan and investment strategy. It is sponsored by the UNDP and implemented by the Dar-es-Salaam City Council.

Some of the great impacts of the initiatives include increased collection of solid waste from 30 to 300 tonnes /day, regular and faster emptying of pit latrines has benefited 24,000 people in a neighborhood, which consequently dried up 80% of the roads. Some 1,115 meters of stormwater drainage and 690 m. of murram have been constructed in an unplanned neighborhood. Living conditions of some 5000 people has improved. The Initiative has coordinated a reorganization of bus routes and city center bus terminals to improve public transport, benefiting 40,000 passengers and lastly, 120,000 people benefited from community redevelopment and management of open spaces.

The SDP project attracts funds from other sources to implement action plans. Operation and maintenance costs of the project are being integrated into the annual budget cycles for financial sustainability. All the projects within the SDP are geared towards revenue generation within the city council increasing the council's financial capacity. Working groups proposals and strategies are integrated into routine council functions to ensure institutional sustainability while investment proposals on environmental issues are encouraging greater environmental sustainability.

The Government of Tanzania initiated a programme to extend to nine other cities the successful experience of the Sustainable Dar es Salaam Project (SDP), which had been implemented as part of the Sustainable Cities Programme (SCP) of UNCHS. National replication was seen as a city-to-city exercise, using staff with experience in the SDP to help support similar SCP activities in the other cities. The replication programme has progressed steadily with most of the nine cities having also attracted additional international support. The ability of the replication cities to learn from the prior experience of Dar es Salaam was seen as a considerable advantage, especially in the early stages. The manpower resources available from Dar es Salaam were insufficient for the task of supporting nine cities and had to be supplemented with a national-level support unit. The building up of direct links among the nine cities helped as well, by providing a direct peer-to-peer C2C network for information exchange and comparison of experience.

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Sustainable Development and Local Agenda-21 in Panevezys, Lithuania

The city of Panevezys has adopted a series of concomitant action plans aimed at improving the social, economic and environmental aspects of the city. One of the programme involves a city-to-city collaboration between Panevezys and sister cities in Sweden and Germany. Exchange programmes include transfer of technical expertise and knowledge by local authorities. This exchange also includes awareness building and campaign on good urban governance.

The Panevezys Municipality sought and developed tools for co-operation and networking with local businesses, recognising the important role that the private sector plays in global, national and local economies and the opportunities this provides for a more sustainable future. The Agenda-21 campaign encourages consumers to pay more for environmentally less harmful goods. This in turn increases their demand and companies start producing them at cheaper prices.

The Local AGENDA-21 process is inclusive taking into account the views of the minority groups. The unemployed young people and have since expressed interest to participate in the campaign. The Youth of Panevezys were active stakeholders of the city's AGENDA-21. A number of initiatives were launched and followed through in partnership with youth from Kalmar and Nacka in Sweden.

A one-stop information center has been established to cater for the city's residents. The center is host to a number of information booths which showcase environmental friendly technologies, alternative energy sources and usage, programmes for youth activities and crime prevention strategies and methods. The youth, residents, private, and public sector can now access important information about Local AGENDA-21 activities, projects and programmes. This has spurn interest in all sectors and there is increased stakeholder participation in Local AGENDA-21 activities.

The sustainability and clean technologies thrust of the AGENDA-21 campaign focuses on the major companies in the city. The largest companies namely Heating Company, JS Company "Ekranas", "The glass factory", JSC "Pieno zvaigzdes", the companies - producers of furniture, and food industries have formulated their own local AGENDA-21 by embracing cleaner production technologies (by establishing latest ISO and EMAS standards).

The city has also introduced a car-free day that is commemorated monthly. This was a follow-up campaign after establishing 120 km for the bicycle tracks, more open spaces and improved parking lots for the bicycles. In addition infrastructure provision has improved considerably with most residents being connected to water supply and a corresponding improvement in drainage and sewerage systems. The pre-sorting and composting of organic waste has greatly boosted the environmental management aspect of the Local AGENDA-21 campaign. The resulting compost is used to create "green islands" in the city.

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