ICLD

ICLD’s research has a clear focus on the new global sustainable development goals

17 may 2017

Four research projects have received financing and will be conducted between 2017 and 2018.
The new global Sustainable Development Goals were discussed during the conference “The Future of Local Government in a New Development Agenda: Cutting Edge Research, Reality Changing Policies”, in Visby, 2016.
As a result of the conference, ICLD approved four research projects within the themes of migration, gender equality, inclusive cities, and transforming the city from below.

The projects include fieldwork in Kenya, Senegal, Niger, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Bosnia-Hersegovina.
– We at ICLD are very excited to support and follow up these projects. The projects are linked to the global objectives of sustainable development and address issues that are directly relevant to the important work of equity, inclusion and participation carried out in municipalities, county councils and regions in ICLD's partner countries, says Björn Möller, Quality Strategist at the ICLD Knowledge Centre in Visby

Research Project 1: Focus on Migration

Global Talk and Local Walk. SDG # 13 & 16: Local Democracy and Vulnerability Reduction in Africa: Political Representation under a Changing Sky - Senegal and Niger

The aim of the project is to study climate-related migration from the Sahel region of Western Africa to Europe in order to understand the causes and the role of local governments.

Migration, whether voluntary or forced is a global process in which local governments have a crucial role. Current research often addresses the role of local governments in the receiving countries, but there is little knowledge about the governance structures in the municipalities that experience large outgoing migration. This project will bring an insight from the other side of the coin giving a voice to the migrants that risk their lives crossing the desert and Mediterranean Sea to come to Europe, says PhD,
Ana Maria Vargas, Research Director of ICLD.

As a point of departure, the researchers in this project will examine why farmers, often at a very young age migrate to Europe. The research also asks questions about the role of political representation in this context and in relation to climate-related vulnerability.

The project will be conducted by:
- Dr. Papa Faye, Executive Secretary, (Centre d’Action pour le Développement et la Recherche en Afrique – CADRE), Dakar, Senegal
- Jesse Ribot, Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign & Stanford University
- Matthew Turner, Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research Project 2: Focus on Gender Equality at the local level
Global talk & Local Walk: The role of local government in translating SDG # 5 Gender Equality into policies and practices? - Bosnia-Hercegovina

The project is based on the global sustainable development goal #5, which focuses on achieving equality and self-empowerment for all women and girls.

The project examines how local governments translate the global goal of gender equality. The assumption of the project is that local governments can act as a model for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Some examples of local governments actions for gender equality are non-discriminatory service provisions and fair employment practices. They can also be at the forefront of identifying and tackling violence and harmful practices against women.

–While the project’s fieldwork is in some cities in Bosnia-Hercegovina, the results of this research will provide tools for other cities dealing with the implementation of the SDG on gender equality. Specifically, the project will map the role of local actors and their responses in the promotion of gender equality, says PhD Ana Maria Vargas, research director at ICLD.

The project will be conducted by:
- Annika Björkdahl, Professor, University of Lund
- Lejla Somun Krupalija, researcher based in Sarajevo


Research Project 3: Focus on inclusive cities
Political and Social Inclusion and Local Democracy in Asian Cities: Cases of Indonesia, India and Vietnam.
The project is based on SDG # 11, which addresses making “cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

Asia is currently undergoing a comprehensive urbanization process and many residents are excluded and can’t participate in the decisions affecting their lives. This project focuses on how marginalized groups can influence their conditions through local governance.
The ambition is to identify common barriers for social inclusion and good practices
where local governments meet the needs and aspirations of marginalized groups. The project’s empirical studies will be conducted by local researchers in different cities in India, Vietnam and Indonesia.

– It’s about inclusiveness and participation, in a broad sense. Inadequate inclusion of marginalized groups and “elite capture” of democratic institutions is common in many cities. The aim in this project to identify common problems but also the instances where success has been achieved and the factors for success.


The project will be conducted by:
- Shabbir Cheema, Ph.D. (Coordinator), Senior Fellow, East-West Center, USA
- Debolina Kundu, Ph.D. National Institute of Urban Affairs, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India
- Wilmar Salim, Ph.D. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bandung, Indonesia
- Nguyen Duc Thanh, Ph.D. Vietnam Institute for Economic Policy Research (VEPR), Vietnam.


Research Project 4: Transforming the city from below

Grassroots initiatives, institutional entrepreneurship and inclusive urban governance: transforming the city from below. – Kenya

The project is based on SDG # 11, which addresses making “cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

In contexts of rapid urbanization, weak institutional capacity, political influence, poor economy and pervading informality, this project examines how do grassroots initiatives providing basic services interact with the local government.

The project is inspired by participatory action research and researchers will collect knowledge and at the same time they will provide spaces to reconstruct the absent or weak links between civil society groups and local governments. By doing this, the project aims to strengthen local governments’ ability to provide co-produced critical services and establish a supportive institutional framework.

The project addresses practical issues related to service delivery at the municipal level. However, these practical issues are not the primary interest here, rather the way in which fundamental services are provided by grassroots organizations and their interaction with local governments. The way in which this relationship can be developed and the governance can be transformed are central areas of interest for ICLD, says Björn Möller, Quality strategist at ICLD.

The project will be conducted by:
- Associate Professor María José Zapata Campos, sociologist, University of Gothenburg (Sweden), will lead the project.
- Senior Lecturer, Michael O. Oloko, Environmental engineering, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), (Kenya)
- Professor Jaan-Henrik Kain, architect and urban planner, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden)
- Associate Professor Patrik Zapata, School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

Municipal governments are crucial actors in the implementation of global sustainability goals. ICLD’s research projects aim to provide knowledge that can help local governments to works towards these goals. 

Resarcher Jesse Ribot during the Visby II conference