By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 19 December 2013:
Dutch local government NGO VNG International held workshops yesterday in Tripoli to support the building of democratic . . .[restrict]local government in Libya, showing how local government could boost border security.
NGO workers from the Dutch organisation’s Middle East and North Africa branch, GLIC, in Tunisia have been looking at how their work across the region could be applied to Libya.
Opening speeches at the event, held at the Mahari Radisson Blu Hotel, were given by the Tunisian Ambassador to Libya, Ridha Boukadi, and Dutch Ambassador Ton Lansik, who emphasised the importance of good governance and the necessity of showing leadership in a vibrant Libyan society.
Seminars discussed the ways in which local government could help maintain border areas, combat smuggling and boost trade. They focused particularly on how decentralisation could better combat local problems.
The conference was told that Libya, with 85 percent of its population living in towns or cities over 100,000 people in size, had the opportunity to draw investment and boost economic competitiveness through local government in its urban centres.
The Director General of Local Municipalities in Tunsia, Mokhtar Hammami, told the Libya Herald that the conference was looking to find: “Purely Libyan solutions and not ready-made, imported ones which are foreign to the Libyan context”.
He said that, in Tripoli alone, local government needed to find solutions to the problems of illegal building, inadequate transportation systems and waste management. Hammami said there was a great deal of work to be done, which required effort from may different local groups and authorities.
VNG’s director in Tunisia, Neila Akrimi, said that her organisation was looking to: “Support all initiatives to bring people together around common interests, and to build a sound decentralised base”. She added that it was of the upmost importance to bridge the gap between different Libyan actors, particularly in areas of security and the presence of armed militias in towns and cities. [/restrict]