Afghan Mayors Get Insight into Turkish Municipal Work
A local governance study tour for Afghan mayors that focused on various matters of municipal services has been implemented by Middle East Development Network [MDN] in Istanbul and Ankara, in cooperation with Marmara University. A large delegation consisting of the Afghan Deputy Minister of Municipalities, mayors of seven major cities (Kandahar, Jalalabad, Lashkar Gah, Shibirghan, Ghazni, Puli Alam and Chaharikar), officials of the ministry and members of various municipal advisory councils visited Turkey on April 10-17, 2016.
The objective of the study tour has been to introduce Afghan officials to the successful examples of local governance in Turkey. The program was designed to cover the fields of environmental management and service delivery, social and cultural services, citizen participation and international cooperation, financial management and local economic development. The participants received detailed briefings at Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Environmental Management Directorate, and visited waste management and landfill sites of its affiliate environmental management company ISTAÇ Inc. Several district municipalities such as Pendik, Tuzla, Arnavutkoy, Sultanbeyli and Sultangazi have been visited, as well as Istanbul Development Agency which deals with the local economic development and investment attraction. In Ankara the delegation paid visit to the Union of Municipalities of Turkey and the Afghan Embassy.
This activity has been designed and implemented by MDN for Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience Program (SHAHAR). SHAHAR is multiannual local governance development project funded by USAID and implemented in Afghanistan by DAI. The study tour design has been realized based on MDN’s concept of combined technical and academic consulting. Accordingly, the organizational efforts were complemented with solid academic insight and rigor that guide the selection of hosts institutions. The study tour started with an opening academic session and was concluded with a closing academic session, in addition to the presence of academic experts along the program. Thus, Prof. Dr. Recep Bozlagan, Vice-President of Marmara University and Dean of Faculty of Political Science, who is also leading local government expert in Turkey, made his presentations about the municipal system and service delivery in Turkey. President of MDN Murat Daoudov, who is also lecturer at Marmara University, presented local government association (LGA) models based on his study of transitional countries.
The study tour ended with evaluation session and certification ceremony.