UCLG/ UCLGA , the Cities Alliance / Metropolis created an event on peer learning in cities. Chaired by KubeshneeGovender Jones, strategic advisor to the Cities Alliance and UCLGA, the event turned its spotlight on learning methodologies.
Peer Learning is a useful model for cities, as it focuses on challenges and tasks of the leaders. In this sense, includes several possibilities for performance and management of change, such as coaching, reviewing, advising or mentoring.
Porto Allegre, São Paulo, Gualrulhos, Bilbao, eThekwini, and Mozambican cities shared their insights and lessons learned, while the associations UCLG and UCLGA as well as the local government Associations: LGA-United Kingomand MozambicanANAMM emphasized on the necessary construction of an agenda to endorse peer learning.
Passionate architects AndileNcapai and Marcelo Rebelo from eThekwini and San Paulo respectively captivated participants attention as they reflected on their experiences in a pilot project in Welbedacht which is distilling the best of São Paulo's human settlements interventions and planning to implement it in a more integrated and participatory way. This mentoring has been set up in 2011 and is supported by UCLG and Metropolis initiative programme.
This experience overcomes someof the mayor challenges which arethe preparation and strategic setting in the agenda of the receiving cities, in this case Durban. As the results and lessons applied are very tangible, the impact atpolicy level is already visible inside the city government and will be carried further to national level.
The cities of Sao Paulo and Guarulhos expressed their continuous support to the UCLG agenda and are working on making city partnerships with Mozambique cities a “city agenda approach” rather than collaboration between departments. They bring expertise and experience in networking into the city partnerships with Mozambique that will be enabled through a project funded by the European Union to be implemented between 2013 and 2014.
The city of Bilbao told the story of their transformation that today stands out, exemplifiedby good management and zero debt of the administration. Focusing in the past on European and Latin American partnerships, the city is open to more collaborationwith African cities, especially in sharing their management experiences.
Although in a different context, eThekwini/ Durban is building an international knowledge agenda as the city is a recognized best practice on urban management. With the Municipal Institute of Learning, MILE, the city opens doors for practitioners and city leaders to learn around tangible practices, in Durban or other cities. Much of this agenda is embedded in the UCLG agenda for planning as well as the UCLG/ Cities Alliance peer learning programs.
At this session, Charles Patsika, Programme manager from UCLG Africa commended the learning and knowledge management approach employed by MILE, and urged to upscale so that other cities in Africa are able to benefit from the lessons learned. Metropolis is already supporting the process of dissemination and promotion of the Sao Paulo Durban initiative.
Nevertheless, Sara Hoeflich, UCLG Programme Manager urged African cities to recognize that peer learning requires hard work, and must be driven by African cities themselves. Rather than becoming obsessed with the amountof learning interventions, she noted that we should support the quality of our learning in order to have lasting impacts and sustainable approaches. Cities from the audience of Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Senegal showed interest to involve actively and connect to the learning process.