On behalf of the members of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, VNG International wants to contribute to strong, democratic local governments, which strive to improve the living conditions of their citizens. That means that we are working in a political environment. In 2016 various relevant developments have taken place in that environment. Populist authoritarian leadership seems on the rise worldwide. Democratic (local) governments have difficulties addressing the consequences of migration, the increasing inequalities between rich and poor, and the growing mistrust against politics and public institutions.
At the same time, 2016 brought an unprecedented and promising unity in international decision-making about crucial challenges and agendas. Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, ambitious agreements have been reached about climate policies (COP21 Paris and Marrakech), disaster risk reduction (Humanitarian Summit Istanbul), the implementation of financing for development (Addis Ababa/New York), and urban development (Habitat III Quito).
Local governments are important partners in the implementation of those international agendas and in addressing the global challenges: as providers of basic services; as enablers of social and economic development; as a place for the engagement of citizens in decision-making; and as promoters of stability and cohesion at local level. In all modesty VNG International continues to strengthen these various roles of local governments, through a variety of projects and programmes in many countries. This annual report provides an overview, following more or less the mentioned roles of local governments.
We cherish the inspiring synergy between our projects portfolio and the exchange of experience and the policy developments to which we contribute through our participation in professional networks, platforms and conferences. We believe in the power of local government organisations working together. We therefore actively participate in Platforma and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), at the European and global level respectively. References to our contributions are made in each of the chapters.
For VNG International 2016 was a successful year. We have acquired important new assignments and we have received a lot of positive feedback from beneficiaries and donors for the quality of our work. A few tendencies in our portfolio will be reflected in this annual update:
• A growing part of our work is implemented in conflict affected regions, empowering local governments to be positive change agents;
• Growing attention for the importance of local resource mobilisation and the conditions therefor;
• The importance of transparency and accountability, also linked to local resource mobilisation;
• A stronger focus on integrated territorial development, with attention for urban-rural linkages and for inter-municipal cooperation.
Various measures have been taken to strengthen the organisation and to mitigate risks. Also from a financial point of view, 2016 was a healthy year.
We had a turnover of 21.990 million Euro and a positive result of 344,000 Euro. For more details see our financial report.
I am proud of the highly professional team we have, with an excellent mix of staff at the home office in The Hague, in the project offices in about 14 countries, in our three daughter companies in Prague, Pretoria and Tunis, and with a core group of long-term highly committed associated experts and a large group of equally dedicated short-term experts. That, together with our being part of the VNG and the global local government family, is a perfect basis for the quality work we want to deliver every single day.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or for further dialogue,
The Hague, May 2017
Peter Knip, Director VNG International
VNG International Annual Update 2017