TÜRKİYE BELEDİYELER BİRLİĞİ

 

Components of the Project

Institutional and Organisational Capacity of UMT

The Union of Municipalities of Turkey (UMT) has constantly strengthened its capacity to serve its members and has grown significantly in terms of staff, services provided to its members and influence in national decision making process of importance to Turkish municipalities.

 

The compass for further institutional development is the Strategic Plan that UMT adopted in 2010 and which forms the basis for all TUSELOG interventions.

 

The activities under this component focus on issues like the strengthening of the political decision making structures of the union -executive board and assembly- and the way these structures interact with the secretariat. Further, the communicative capacity of UMT, highlighted in the Sub-strategy on Communication, is strengthened through training programmes and exchange with the communication department of SALAR.

 

Under this component, TUSELOG activities so far included;

  • Study visit to Stockholm for political and legal staff of UMT to enhance knowledge on committee structures, to study the work of committees and board, the formulation of SALAR positions and how the secretariat prepares and later implements the issues decided upon by the political structure.
  • A training on member surveying and a concept for member surveys that will allow UMT to follow to what extent its membership appreciate the work of the Union in different fields of action.
  • Report on methods for networking with membership.

Lobbying and Service Capacity of UMT

Among duties of Union of Municipalities of Turkey (UMT), which has been working on municipal issues since its establishment, there are representation of municipalities in national and international platforms, protecting interests of municipalities and providing legal opinion on municipal legislations. Being the only Union that represents municipalities nationwide, UMT included in its vision and mission statements the goal for being an organisation which performs independent lobbying activities and delivers service in the field for Turkish Municipalities.

 

UMT has made significant steps in the area of lobbying and advocacy in the recent years. However, the establishment of effective structures and approaches requires support in the form of exposure and mentoring. Therefore TUSELOG supports UMT -on the way of being a Union who has a voice at national and international platforms about all matters that affect its members- in the following fields; (i) the development of a lobbying model, (ii) specific studies as input to proactive lobbying, (iii) the development of their own research capacity based on both internal and external experts and (iv) the development of institutionalised arenas for exchange between local and central government.

 

Under this component, TUSELOG activities so far included;

  • Study visit to Poland, focusing on systems for intergovernmental consultations to learn from the institutionalized interaction between local and central government.
  • Report describing the Polish system and comparing it with intergovernmental consultation practises in Sweden and Turkey.
  • Desk study on theory, methodology and international experiences of municipal amalgamation processes.
  • Report on two-tier metropolitan systems in Europe.
  • Round table on the proposal for new and extended metropolitan municipalities in Turkey with participation from UMT, Ministry of Interior and international experts.
  • Mapping of municipal statistics and building of an example database.
  • Report on how SALAR is using statistics for different purposes.
  • Report on how SALAR is working with networks of members.
  • Workshop on financing of the local government sector in Sweden, and a presentation by SALAR expert on the Forum on Financial Management of Local Authorities, organized by UMT, Undersecretariat of Treasury and Hacettepe University.

 

EU Integration Capacity of UMT

Since 2005, Turkey has entered into an intense reform process which brings with it the possibility of enhanced democratic norms in local and national decision-making. The new laws adopted in 2004-2005 have introduced a drastic shift in the relationships between central and local administration, to set them in line with the standards and criteria laid down in the European Charter of Local Self-government (art. 8). Municipalities’ need has increased for a strong organisation to represent them, as this process unfolds.

 

The EU approximation process has implications for the municipalities of Turkey that should not be underestimated. This calls for adequate preparations by UMT and its members. It also requires that UMT can position itself strategically, both in domestic and international EU-negotiations. It is important for UMT to be able to orient its members on certain policy issues of concern, upon which EU-accession will have an implication. Finally, UMT aims to provide a stronger base of support to its members in accessing EU funding opportunities.

 

Over the last few years, UMT has become increasingly active in the area of international representation, particularly concerning the EU approximation process. This is evident from its engagement in international alliance organisations like the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). UMT has also various cooperations with the Ministry of European Affairs, which has the primary role in Turkey’s EU-integration process.

In the latter stages of Tusenet, support was provided to develop a publication outlining the likely consequences of EU-integration for Turkish Municipalities. This was based on similar preparations by SALAR in the build-up to Sweden’s EU-integration in 1995, which led to a much larger Government-commissioned study. As a result of this support, the book on European Union and Local Governments in Turkey was published (EU and Local Governments in Turkey_Part 1 and EU and Local Governments in Turkey_Part 2).

 

There is a significant amount of other initiatives planned for the coming years, but the extent to which these are explored will depend to a large extent on the process of Turkey’s EU-integration.

 

Under this component, TUSELOG activities so far included;

  • Revised and updated version of “EU and Local Governments in Turkey” book in Turkish.
  • Establishment of UMT EU-working group, which will play a more central role in analysis and representation of UMT on EU-integration
  • Swedish participation in a Twinning Workshop organised by EU delegation in coordination with UMT.
  • SKL International’s participation in a consortium that is responsible for implementing the EU financed project for strengthened EU-capacity in provinces.
  • Efforts to exchange knowledge and experience between different EU related projects.

Municipal Partnership Networks

UMT and SALAR have good experiences from establishing municipal partnerships through a range of programmes, including Tusenet Project. Lessons from Tusenet and other programmes indicated that partnership building takes time. Furthermore, it is clear that outcomes will be more tangible if the right level of input is provided to the early development of partnership projects. In addition, the expectation and conditions for engagement in partnerships need to be established clearly from the outset.

 

The first year of TUSELOG Programme was therefore used to develop a clear procedure for the establishment and selection of Municipal Partnership Networks. It was also be used to arrange introductory sessions and training, so that high-quality project proposals could be developed, submitted and evaluated.

 

When selecting the Partnership Networks, two sets of criteria were used. The first set was related to capacity and clarity in formulating project ideas. The expected quality of the outputs was the centre of these criteria. The second set related to plurality. Criteria secured that a reasonable variation in geography, demography, size and political majority was achieved.

 

Municipal partnerships developed in accordance with UMT prioritized themes. This process was completed through the following steps:

  • Municipal Parterships Conference was organized for Turkish and Swedish municipalities, who wished to join a municipal partnership, for them to identify potantial cooperation areas. As a result of this conference, 5 partnership modules were established, namely Municipal Management, Ecologically Sustainable Urban Development, Social Services, Waste Management and Energy.
  • Study visits to Sweden were organized in order to strengthen the partnerships, discuss possible project ideas, share and experience the best practices.
  • Municipal Partnership Workshop was held with participation of Turkish and Swedish municipalities, who already established partnerships, for them to concretize their project ideas. Guideline for Municipal Partnerships and Project Proposals Application Form were prepared to support municipalities in the process of writing their project proposals. Project proposals were later submitted to Programme Management’s approval.

Municipal Capacity Development

While UMT has supported its members through training programmes, it recognises that more can be done to understand their needs, and support them with other specialised training in specific competence areas where Turkish municipalities are now beginning to operate. Part of the activities consists of converting the experiences and products from the earlier Tusenet Project into training programmes managed by UMT. This component aims at developing methods and materials of use for Turkish municipalities.

 

The training programmes under this component will focus on:

  • Solid Waste Management
  • Urban Planning
  • Local Arena Building

The Solid Waste Management Training aims at giving knowledge and support to municipal staff to prepare and later implement Strategic Waste Management Plans in their municipalities. The activity includes marketing activities, development of materials, training of trainers and implementations of trainings at regional level.

 

In addition to targeting municipal services, it is expected to develop projects aimed at gender equality, adopting various tools for citizen’s dialogue and participation in decision-making. The programme will also allow for a focus on organisational development of municipalities, in order to develop a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of Municipalities.

 

Under this component, TUSELOG activities so far included;

  • Analysis of the SALAR methodology for municipal organisational development reviews (Kommunkompassen).
  • Workshop on development of a training programme and workplan on solid waste management strategic planning, with participation of UMT-staff, municipal staff of former Tusenet Project pilots, and technical and didactical experts from Sweden.
  • Promotion of CEMR Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life through UMT conference with input from Swedish municipalities and through translation of SALAR handbook of implementation of the Charter.