A conference was held within the Nicosia Initiative, promoted by the European Committee of the Regions in support of Libyan municipalities. A partnership among local authorities of the two shores of the Mediterranean aims to identify with determination new ways towards a unitary vision of local development
On Monday 14 September 2020 a two-hour video conference was held between representatives of ten Libyan municipalities and universities (Ghariyan, Zintan, Az-Zawiya, Tripoli, Beni Walid, Zliten, Sirte, Benghazi, Toubruk) and the autonomous Province of Trento, the autonomous region Friuli Venezia Giulia, the CCI Trento and CIEDEL in Lyon (France).
This meeting is the result of an already consolidated partnership within the Nicosia Initiative, promoted by the European Committee of the Regions in support of Libyan local governance (https://CoR.europa.eu/our-work/Pages/Libya.aspx).
In fact, in the past three years, work has been done jointly on the development of a decentralized system of continuous learning for local Libyan administrators, establishing structured cooperation between local governments and universities in the country.
The activities carried out in the past have led to the development of a composite strategy that aims at the efficiency of Libyan local administrations through knowledge applied to sustainable local development. This strategy is the subject of a project recently presented to the European Union to obtain its financial support.
During the video conference attended by 25 people, the Libyan partners praised the technical effort in composing the proposal in all its complexity and saw in it the natural evolution of the work done in the past.
They particularly appreciated the concept of Community of Practices which manages to systematize and articulate the exchange of experiences on a regular basis between Libyan municipalities / universities at national level and between these and their counterparts in Europe and in the MENA region.
Sharing experiences certainly helps disseminating approaches and methods aiming at efficiency improvement.
During the meeting, the issue of sustainability, risk analysis and any related countermeasures as well as the financial resources needed to implement the action plan were also discussed. The project strategy provides for its sustainability but does not yet define the methods that will be identified jointly in the course of work to better reflect the complexity of the Libyan context and respond more adequately to its real needs. With regard to the potential risks that would hinder the execution of the project, considering both the instability in the country and the global emergency linked to the COVID pandemic, the necessary measures have been identified to mitigate the possible difficulties also based on past experience and valuable resources have been devoted to remote activities that may be necessary to avoid any kind of interruption of planned actions. The requested funding also makes it possible to adequately cover all the components of the project.
Libyan partners have called for the use of local structures existing in the country in order to optimize the resources deployed. In addition, everyone welcomed the attention dedicated to the use of renewable energy applied to waste management, which will require further investigation to avoid making past mistakes.
The proposed project led by the autonomous Province of Trento, flanked by the consolidated experience of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, the CCI and the French colleagues of CIEDEL, provides for a governance mechanism that sees the Libyan partners as co-protagonists both in political and strategic orientation of the planned activities and their execution. This mechanism will allow a full sharing of the choices and any adjustments that a vulnerable context such as the Libyan one will certainly require. The friendship, the respect and the trust at the base of this partnership will allow navigating easily through any unforeseen events that the current situation suggests.
At the end of the meeting there was a unanimous request to periodically maintain this virtual appointment regardless of the fate related to the approval of the project. This will allow to identify with determination new ways towards a unitary vision of local development, rooted between the two shores of the Mediterranean.