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The Cradle of Democracy: Municipalities

Two municipalities in Türkiye, Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities, acquired ‘European Label of Governance Excellence’ (ELoGE) utilizing Integrated Municipality Governance Model which is developed by Argüden Governance Academy. 

The Cradle of Democracy: Municipalities

This article was published on November 30th 2022 in Yetkin Report.

In the current global context, preserving and promoting the democratic system is of utmost importance to improve the quality of life. Building trust is the key to reinforcing democracy, as trust is the foundation of sustainable development. Trust for democracy could only be built by adopting good governance with a (i) whole of society, (ii) whole of government, and (iii) whole the policy cycle approach that focuses on (a) informed, inclusive stakeholder engagement, (b) evidence-based decision making supported by ex-ante and ex-post impact analysis, and (c) integrated thinking to support continuous learning.

Municipalities are the institutions that people have the closest relationship with the public authority. Therefore, adoption of a citizen-oriented local governance approach is critical for building trust and for the development of democracy and the culture of living together with the people with whom we share common resources.

By implementing the Integrated Municipality Governance Model©️ developed by the Argüden Governance Academy, the Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities acquired the right to use the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) for the first time in Türkiye as an important milestone for the development of democracy and trust.

Good Governance for a Better Future and Quality of Life

Good governance is a culture and a climate in which a trust culture thrives. Good governance is a culture that Anatolian civilization is well aware of, which incorporates just and ethical moral standards. For example, Ahi culture that focused on good morals and righteousness was instrumental in the economic development of Anatolia through the Seljuk and Ottoman times. The famous folk poet and philosopher of Anatolia, Yunus Emre’s words of wisdom:
“Regard the other, as you regard yourself
That is the meaning of four Holy books, if there is any”
provide a good summary of a culture to build social trust.

Good governance requires taking responsibility for the problems in society, producing consistent, fair, and effective solutions to these problems, being transparent and accountable in the process, and ensuring considering the needs and priorities of everyone affected by the problem and the solutions through active participation.

The emergence and continuous development of this culture in individuals from all age groups and in institutions from all sectors creates a climate of “trust” in the society. Trust is the essence of good governance and the key to sustainable development.

In short, good governance that builds trust in institutions which is essential for a better future and sustainable development.

The Model for Taking the Municipalities on a Journey to Excellence

Argüden Governance Academy strives to develop a good governance culture in every age group and in every sector.

Almost all of the children in the 9-10 age group that we met in the ‘Good Governance for Kids’ education program, consider their families, schools, and municipalities as the main actors that can address and solve their problems. It is easy to understand why this age group choses the family and schools. But this evidence clearly shows that municipalities, also gain priority as the closest public institution to the citizens in finding solutions to the problems in their daily lives.

From the age group of 9-10, municipalities, which are the institutions that every citizen resorts to in solving problems, also need to develop a good governance culture in order to increase trust for democracy. The Integrated Municipal Governance Model©️, developed by Argüden Governance Academy, helps improve the level of governance practices in municipal processes through measurement and evaluation for continuous learning. It focuses on improving the quality of participation, quality of information and disclosures, as well as the quality of processes. Overall, it provides a roadmap and guidance for implementing good governance and continuously building trust.

Integrated Municipal Governance Model

Integrated Municipal Governance Model©️ was implemented for the first time in 2 municipalities in Türkiye within the scope of the Integrated Municipality Governance Model Project that was supported by the Dutch Consulate General and was carried out under the coordination of Argüden Governance Academy, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, Marmara Municipalities Union, and Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities. European Council’s ‘European Label of Governance Excellence’ (ELoGE) were acquired by these two municipalities after a year of preparation utilizing this Model. The applications of these municipalities were evaluated by an independent jury consisting of highly regarded former public officials, academicians, and NGOs.

I sincerely hope that the experience and success of Şişli and Sultanbeyli Municipalities will not only be continued but also become role model for others to follow suit to further develop and build a culture of trust for the institutions and democracy.

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