13 Dec 2018
Australian City Partnerships Capacity Building week

On the 12th of November, the cohort of Australian municipal leaders undertaking the City Partnerships came together for the 2nd week of Capacity Building of the program.

Since the beginning of the year, development leaders from the city councils of Ballarat, Hobsons Bay, Port Phillip, Knox, Maroondah and Yarra Ranges in Victoria, and Newcastle in New South Wales have been involved in the pilot of the City Partnerships Challenge in Australia. This process, developed to assist partnership formation, enabling project development and financing to support the implementation of integrated sustainable urban development solutions, is divided in two main stages.

A key element of the first stage of the City Partnerships was the 1st week of Capacity Building, which was held in mid-April. Following this initial face-to-face training, the development leaders have been working within their city councils, refining their project scope and establishing task forces comprised of representatives of different departments of the municipalities and key stakeholders from the private sector and civil society.

The second stage of the Australian CityPartnerships process commenced with the 2nd week of Capacity Building aimed at developing the business case with support from potential partners and students, in order to advance to a partnered proposal.

During the week, participants engaged in a series of discussions, presentations and exercises designed to develop partnerships across the government, private sector and civil society stakeholders, exploring partnership governance structures that would ensure ethical practice sand transparency in project delivery. The objective of attaining self-sustaining revenue streams and the task of creating an environment conducive to attract finance and partners, were also core to the week’s activities.

Monday was entirely dedicated to the Innovation Sprint. Partners from local and state governments came together with private sector and civil society representatives, along with students to engage in a world café type discussion with city leaders about their projects. This enabling environment allowed the participants to test and refine the business case with a broader audience. Everyone in the room engaged in open brainstorm type processes and explored innovate solutions to the key challenges that city leaders have encountered along the process. This was widely considered an intensive but fun day.

Coached by RESA – RMITEntrepreneurship & Startup Association – students participated in the Innovation Sprint and conducted a two-day exercise aimed at developing solutions to the challenges that each city has been facing with their projects.The students presented back to the cities on Thursday, showcasing innovative solutions and recommendations that helped city participants progress their action plan.

Tuesday to Thursday involved presentations from different UN Global Compact – Cities Programme partners providing examples and sharing their knowledge around key themes such as governance of partnerships, how to approach partners, and mechanisms to attract funding and finance. These presentations were followed by world café advisor sessions, allowing in-depth discussion and coaching between city leaders and presenters. Once a gain, on-going partners of the City Partnerships – RMIT University, GCNAEAROPHICLEI, AECOM, DELWP and GNBK – came together with Climate KIC, Green Collect and Winya to mentor, inspire and support the development of these city led partnered proposals.

The last day of the CapacityBuilding week focused on how the impact of the projects being developed could best be measured and communicated in light of the Ten Principles of the UN and theUN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cities were advised to review the results of their City Scan, and use this review to guide how the Ten Principles and the SDGs are embedded into design and evaluation of the project.

The day concluded with presentations by the city leaders of their Action Plans to a panel comprised of representatives of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, RMIT University and Victorian State Government.

In the coming months, city leaders will continue to continue to work on securing partners, developing terms of reference and governance structures with support from the UN Global Compact –Cities Programme team and partners, in order to progress their projects within each municipality while finalising partnership agreements.