CG Meeting Reports

Berlin Meeting Report
First Meeting of the Cities Alliance Consultative Group
December 17, 1999
Berlin, Germany

Summary of Discussion on Draft Charter

There was fundamental agreement to most elements of the Draft Charter. The text of the Charter has now been modified in accordance to the conclusions of the meeting and it is attached herewith as Annex 3 (draft dated January 15, 2000).

Discussion and decisions on the Charter are summarized below. The paragraph numbers in reference refer to the text of the Draft Charter dated December 17, 1999.

1. Governance and Organizational Structure (Section E of the Draft Charter)
While in general agreement with the proposed governance arrangements, the meeting wanted a less heavy structure. The meeting agreed to eliminate the Advisory Committees from the draft Charter, and suggested reducing the size of the Policy Advisory Board, supporting a leaner structure and a less prescriptive, more flexible text. Several partners also expressed the opinion that the Consultative Group (CG) should meet more frequently than once a year, at least during the initial years.

It was also felt that the CG's dual roles of governance and as a global public policy forum on urban issues should be separated. It was decided that the meetings of the Cities Alliance Consultative Group should be preceded by a one-day global public policy forum which would include strong regional representation from client countries.

As in the case of CGAP, a common understanding of key issues should develop within the Cities Alliance Consultative Group through shared language and parallel programs, manuals, software, training and exchanging staff. The Alliance will also facilitate access to expertise and best practices for scaling up urban upgrading and city development strategies through the establishment of a database of ongoing projects.

Para 21 Reference to Advisory Committees to be dropped.

Para 22 The minimum cash contribution of $ 250,000 to the core resources of the Alliance as a prerequisite for membership in the CG was endorsed.

Para 23 The International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), Metropolis, the United Towns Organization (UTO), and the World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC) will represent local authorities in the CG.

Para 24 The concept of associate membership for the first year for partners that were considering, but not yet able, to make financial contributions was also agreed upon. This will be a subject of further consideration at next meeting of the CG.

Para 25 The CG will have a governance role and meet, at least during the initial period, more often than once a year. The frequency of its meetings should not be rigidly prescribed in the Charter, but decided as needed. Next meeting will take place within six months at a venue to be decided.

A one-day global public policy forum involving CG members, client countries and cities, NGOs, and the private sector, should take place immediately before each CG meeting and provide substance for its discussion. This forum should be organized by the Secretariat in consultation with the PAB.

Paras 28-29 The PAB needs to be as agile and focused as possible. The Charter has to give specific indication on the reporting of the PAB to the CG - e.g. written report two weeks before each CG meeting.

Paras 30-31 Deleted - The Charter should not contain any specific proposal about Advisory Committees.

Paras 32-34 The Secretariat should not be exclusively a World Bank/Habitat entity (specific text in this regard was suggested at the meeting which is now incorporated in para. 32). While it was recognized and appreciated that Habitat and the World Bank have provided initial contributions to establish the Secretariat, it was agreed that these arrangements would be reviewed by the CG for its endorsement after one year.

2. Activity Identification and Selection (Section D of the Charter)
Criteria to evaluate proposals for Cities Alliance assistance should include specific language on poverty reduction, on participation and ownership by local communities, and on cooperation between cities.

The definition of parallel activities needs to be clearer and more inclusive than the proposed wording in the Charter.

Para 14 Additional thought has to be given to regional and global activities referred to in this paragraph of the Charter, including details on their preparation and budget.

Para 16(a) Introduce language on reduction of urban poverty as an objective of the Alliance.

Para 16(d) Specific language on participation of, and ownership by local communities was agreed on and it has been introduced in the text of the Charter.

Para 16(e) The 50% target for co-financing of projects should be lowered to 20% and include contributions in kind.

Para 16(j) Some concern was expressed about the difficulty of delivering programs within 24 months. It was suggested to replace the word "priority" with "special attention."

Para 18 Consistent with the approach of other multi-donor programs of this kind, the Cities Alliance may contract the services of the staff of implementing organizations for those activities up to a limit of 20% of the aggregate amount of the Cities Alliance Trust Fund.

Para 19 Non-core activities to be approved on a "no-objection" basis.

3. Financial Structure (Section F of the Draft Charter):
A section on parallel funding has to be included in the text of the Charter. Parallel activities must be relevant to the Cities Alliance objectives. However, CG endorsement or approval would not be required for those activities. The revised Charter reflects the members' commitment to implementing a shared vision of urban development. The USA and Germany agreed to develop further recommendations in this regard.

Para 38 Contributions of in-kind resources to the Core Fund may be considered with the approval of the CG.

Para 39 The Charter has to quantify the administrative charge due to the World Bank as 3%. In this context, a distinction should appear between core, non-core, and parallel funding.

4. Procurement (Section G of the Draft Charter):

Para 41 To ensure speed in the execution of procurement functions, it was suggested that the idea of framework contracts be explored.

5. Accounting and Reporting Requirements (Annex II of the Draft Charter):

The quarterly report to the Patron of the Cities Without Slums Initiative should be added to this annex.

6. Proposal Evaluation and Approval Process (Annex I of the Draft Charter):

Paras 8-10 It was felt that the text of these paragraphs in Annex I was too prescriptive in specifying the role of the World Bank and Habitat. This language has now been modified to correspond to the procedures adopted by PPIAF.

7. Initial Cities Alliance Work Program and Budget:

It was decided that the members of the CG will give their feedback to the Secretariat by mid-January on donor coordination or other issues related to the proposed work program. Proposals would then be subjected to the evaluation process and sent back to the members by end of January for approval on a no-objection basis.

Japan expressed interest in hosting the Asian CDS Workshop in Fukuoka, that is described in one of the proposals submitted to the Cities Alliance for funding. Japan offered to contribute to the organization of the workshop, also with the support of INEX, the association of Japanese local authorities.

8. Next Steps:

  • Contributing partners to inform the Secretariat as soon as possible of the date when their pledged funds will be available.
  • Secretariat to send a reminder to partners to obtain information on their relevant activities that should be included in the Cities Alliance database.
  • Partners to suggest names to the Secretariat for the technical assessors mentioned in para 8. of Annex 1 of the Charter, along the PPIAF model.
  • Revised Charter to be distributed by end of second week in January. Comments to be received from partners by end of January.
  • Trust Fund agreements to be pursued bilaterally.
  • The Secretariat to e-mail three options for suggested dates and venues of next meeting of the CG to partners for their immediate feedback, so that an early decision can be based upon the option preferred by CG members.

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