On 21 – 25 October the delegation from Georgian local governments has visited Latvian municipalities for the study visit to exchange with the experience on development planning of local governments, work of local action groups and negotiations with the national government.
The study visit was organised by the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (LALRG) and included also such topics as performance monitoring and evaluation of local governments, urban governance innovations, networking and exchange of experience among local governments, as well as cooperation in policy formation. LALRG engages in development cooperation activities with several Eastern Partnership countries to share hands-on experience and lessons learned of Latvian local governments over recent decades of development in our country.
This study visit was organised in the framework of the project "Network building for efficiency and development" supported by the European Union. The project is implemented by the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia together with the project partners PMC - Research Centre (Georgia) and LALRG.
The Georgian delegation composed of high-level representatives of Kutaisi, Telavi, Tsageri, Lanchkhuti, Zugdidi, Ozurgeti, Kobuleti, Lagodekhi and Akhalkalaki municipalities had fruitful discussions with LALRG’s experts and members of the Parliament of Latvia, as well as Ambassador of Georgia to Latvia. Important part of the visit was several site visits to different regions of Latvia providing comprehensive and diverse overview on Latvian municipal practises in development planning and community involvement in decision making process. Representatives of Vidzeme rural partnership “Brasla” not only shared the practical information on how the organization is established and managed, but also invited to visit several LEADER projects implemented in Pārgauja and Kocēni municipalities. Also Ādaži municipality shared their experience with local development planning and involvement of different community groups (citizens, businesses, NGOs). The visiting delegation participated in the opening ceremony of a small infrastructure project established by a local NGO in Garkalne village and carried out with the support of a LEADER project. Visit to the City Development Department of Riga City Council provided good insight in the neighbourhood program as a tool for involvement of citizens in decision making and development of their neighbourhood. Practical example on how local community (citizens and business) can shape their neighbourhood was provided by a site visit to Āgenskalns neighbourhood.
As concluded by the visiting delegates, the diverse meetings, open discussions and site visits provided useful information and inspiring ideas for the leaders of Georgian local governments to be taken back home and used in their further work.
The activities of the project will last until January 31, 2021.