As part of on-going efforts to support India’s Peer Exchange and Reflective Learning (PEARL) network, the Cities Alliance, World Bank Institute (WBI), and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) conducted an International Workshop on Strengthening Peer Learning Networks in the Indian Urban Sector in Goa from 22-25 July 2010.
The workshop helped participants understand how peer networks function successfully in other countries and identify lessons that could be applied directly to PEARL. The Cities Alliance Secretariat and the WBI provided input to NIUA on designing the workshop, identifying global good practices and preparing briefs for the presenters.
Participants included officials from the Indian Ministry of Urban Development, state governments and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) cities, as well as representatives of PEARL Knowledge Managers, NGOs, Asian Development Bank, GTZ, the World Bank, the Cities Development Initiative for Asia, and the Water and Sanitation Program – South Asia.
The Cities Alliance has supported the PEARL network since early 2010 through a three-year grant facility. In collaboration with WBI, Cities Alliance is providing the technical know-how to transform PEARL into an effective horizontal learning network by strengthening the process of information exchange and developing need-based knowledge products.
Participants at the workshop discussed relevant case studies from the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), South African Cities Network (SACN), city consortiums in Brazil and horizontal learning in Bangladesh.
Tim Campbell of the Urban Age Institute provided an international overview of horizontal learning, and Andre Herzog and Sheila Jagannathan of the WBI conducted a session on the concepts, tools and techniques for effective horizontal learning.
The government of India initiated JNNURM in 2005 with the aim of encouraging urban reforms and fast-tracking planned development of identified cities. JNNURM‘s focus is on achieving efficiency in urban infrastructure and service delivery mechanisms, encouraging community participation and increasing accountability of Urban Local Bodies towards citizens. The PEARL network was established in 2007 to help the 65 cities participating in JNNURM implement the required reforms and infrastructure projects.