Through donor-funded international development work, ICMA has been providing local government leaders, staff, and community stakeholders the tools that they need to build more inclusive, engaged, resilient, and sustainable communities throughout the world. Hundreds of ICMA members have contributed their time and knowledge on those projects, sharing with and learning from counterparts throughout the world. This is certainly true in Asia, where ICMA has been active since the first Philippines U.S.-government-funded grant as far back as 1977.
In 2024, ICMA is looking forward to an exciting year of funded programs, several of which are in Asia, as well as the launch of another round of the Tranter-Leong Fellowship that offers two fellowships, one for an ICMA member seeking an experience in Asia. Many members may not be familiar with our extensive connections in Asia, so we are providing some key information. This information will also be a great resource for members interested in applying for the Tranter-Leong Fellowship and John Garvey Scholarship, as well as for those who would like to get involved in ICMA funded programs.
Many of the opportunities for members came through the Resource Cities Program, which became the flagship program of ICMA. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), based on the premise that cities learn best from one another, the program paired ICMA members and their staff with counterparts in developing and decentralizing countries to improve local government management. This program eventually became known as CityLinks™ and involved hundreds of partnerships that spanned the globe, including many in Asia (India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand). ICMA members and their staff donated hundreds of thousands of hours of their time to help their peers improve municipal operations in all sectors. Several current and past members of ICMA’s International Committee have participated in CityLinks™ exchanges. To connect with those members, contact Jeanette Gass at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICMA has maintained relationships with many local government organizations in Asia, including in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Representatives from these International Affiliates have attended ICMA annual conferences over the years and provided global content to ICMA. As ICMA is implementing its global engagement strategy, staff are looking for ways to re-engage with relationships around the world and invite members to be involved. For more information on our relationships and how to connect with our partners in Asia and other parts of the world, contact Jeanette Gass at email@example.com.
ICMA members have also provided peer-to-peer engagement and technical assistance outside of the city partnerships to our long-term USAID-funded initiatives in Asia. Below is information on ongoing projects and activities that can be supported through one of the fellowships and other opportunities.
Central Tibetan Administration
In partnership with the National Democratic Institute, ICMA is implementing a program to help the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) build modern management systems to increase the efficiency of their responsiveness and support economic development initiatives to promote investment in Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal. On Central Tibetan Administration Capacity Building and Sustainability Initiative (CTA-CBSI), ICMA is leading the institutional strengthening component of the project focused on improving human resource, data management, and financial management systems. ICMA is partnering with the Urban Management Center, a woman-led organization based in India that is providing support in the areas of data management and drafting of global information systems maps of Tibetan settlements. For more information on the CTA program, contact David Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICMA’s engagement in India started in 1997 when, with funding from the United States Asian Environment Partnership (USAEP), ICMA began to conduct workshops with urban managers to create city manager associations. ICMA helped to create 13 city manager associations throughout India and implemented donor-funded activities in post-tsunami recovery, financial institutions reform, and sustainable urban management. The ICMA staff on these projects eventually started their own organization, the Urban Management Center (UMC) ,which has nearly 100 staff providing technical assistance to national, state, and local governments to build resilient systems for inclusive and equitable development. For more information about UMC, contact Manvita Baradi at email@example.com or Meghna Malhotra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICMA has supported decentralization processes and local governance strengthening in Indonesia since the early days of Indonesian decentralization in 2001, starting with several Resource Cities Partnerships. Over the years, with USAID funding, ICMA has helped to build up local government associations like the Association of Indonesian Municipalities (APEKSI), which is still active today, and provided core management and finance/budgeting skills to Indonesian local government staff. ICMA’s engagement continues with a project awarded in 2021 to the Asia Foundation as a subcontractor. The Effective, Efficient, and Strong Governance (ERAT) program improves subnational-level service delivery in Indonesia, supports national policy implementation, and develops smart city/e-governance solutions. ICMA’s 30+ staff throughout Indonesia have developed the capacity of over 1,000 government officials and facilitated the issuance of over a dozen policy regulations in support of social and other initiatives. For more information on ERAT and how you can get involved, contact Katie Bartels at email@example.com.
In the Philippines, ICMA has had two USAID-funded projects that have benefited from member support. The first project, Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE), was ICMA’s largest project by far, spanning six and a half years, ending in December 2021. The eight secondary cities that received assistance through SURGE demonstrated that they could improve their capacity for inclusive and resilient urban development, economic growth, and connectivity. The cities faced similar challenges to those facing cities in the United States and elsewhere–how to attract investment and trade, promote tourism, enhance revenues, create jobs, and become more resilient. The success of SURGE allowed ICMA to position itself to receive another large five-year award from USAID in July 2021. This award, called CHANGE–Cities for Enhanced Engagement and Governance–seeks to create more transparent, accountable, and responsive local governance. The project has already made significant progress in policy reforms, helped local government units improve service delivery, engaged citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs), and provided support to CSOs to better contribute to local government decision-making. ICMA has 25+ local staff members in the Philippines spread throughout Manila and the project-assisted cities. For more information on CHANGE and how to get involved, contact Katie Bartels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clean Cities, Blue Oceans
Through the Clean Cities, Blue Ocean project (CCBO), ICMA has been providing capacity development and governance support to local governments in Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic to help increase their capacity for and effective governance of solid waste management and recycling systems, and help reach the goal of plastics removal directly at their source in rapidly growing cities and towns. For more information on CCBO and to contact local partners in the CCBO-assisted countries, contact Lori Scozzafava at email@example.com.
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Professional Fellows Program (YSEALI PFP)
ICMA has had the privilege of hosting 500 young professionals and bringing them into ICMA’s network over the past 10 years through the State Department-funded Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Professional Fellows Program (YSEALI PFP). Hundreds of ICMA members have hosted these young professionals in their communities. To facilitate the selection of applicants to the fellows program, ICMA has partnered with a number of local institutions throughout Southeast Asia, in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. To connect with some of the local institutions or get in touch with alumni fellows, contact Alaina Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to participate in a global knowledge exchange opportunity in Asia or other area outside of your home country? Applications for the first 2024 cycle of the Tranter-Leong Fellowship and John Garvey Scholarship are open from January 22 through February 22. The ICMA International Committee administers these awards and plans to announce the selected recipients in April 2024. The Tranter-Leong Fellowship is a $5,000 award, and the John Garvey Scholarship provides $3,500 in support. Learn more about these opportunities and apply today!
ICMA is dedicated to emphasizing the "I" in ICMA by being the home for local government professionals worldwide and fostering an environment of global knowledge exchange. Learn more about the global future of ICMA, and contact us at email@example.com for more information about our global efforts.
New, Reduced Membership Dues
A new, reduced dues rate is available for CAOs/ACAOs, along with additional discounts for those in smaller communities, has been implemented. Learn more and be sure to join or renew today!