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Integrated Municipality Governance Model Conference

Under the coordination of Argüden Governance Academy, we implemented the project called “Integrated Municipal Governance Model” with the partnership of Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), Council of Europe, Sultanbeyli Municipality and Şişli Municipality and with the support of the Dutch Consulate General. 

Integrated Municipality Governance Model Conference

2 November 2022

With the Integrated Municipal Governance Project, we aim to make the institutional structure and management culture of the municipalities more functional and effective in the whole of the institutional structure and management processes of the municipalities, thus contributing to the sustainable development and increase in the quality of life.

Through the Model we have developed, municipalities can make good governance principles more functional in all levels, business and processes of the municipality. We announced the Model, which enables the Council of Europe to implement the 12 local governance principles in every work of municipalities, including their daily activities, and enables the European Label of Governance Excellence to be earned in municipalities in Türkiye as well, at the conference we held on November 2, face-to-face.

With the project, which started in October 2021 and continued for a year, a model was developed for the holistic implementation and continuous development of good governance culture in municipalities. As a result of the model developed and the activities carried out, Şişli Municipality and Sultanbeyli Municipality applied for the first time in Türkiye to receive the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) of the Council of Europe.

As a result of their application, for the first time in Türkiye, Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities were entitled to use the European Label of Governance Excellence in the 2022-23 period, taking into account their work and commitments. Applications were evaluated by an independent jury formed by Argüden Governance Academy and Marmara Municipalities Union. Municipalities that have earned the right to own a Label for one year will be able to extend this period if they maintain good governance practices in the next period.

The ceremony held at İBB Ali Emiri Efendi Cultural Center was attended by Argüden Governance Academy Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Yılmaz Argüden, Marmara Municipalities Union Secretary General M. Cemil Arslan, Netherlands Istanbul Consul General Arjen Uijterli, European Council Democratic Governance Department Head Alina Tatarenko, Sultanbeyli Mayor Hüseyin Keskin, Şişli Mayor Muammer Keskin, Argüden Governance Academy Project Coordinator Dr. İnan İzci and Project Researchers Dr. Erkin Erimez and Melis Türker, MBB Foreign Relations and Migration Policy Senior Specialist Merve Ağca, Council of Europe Center for Good Governance Director Niall Sheerin, and over 300 people attended including heads, district representatives.

In his opening speech, Argüden Governance Academy Chairman of Trustees Dr. Argüden said, “As the Academy, we are very happy to have broken new ground by carrying out this work, which enables municipalities in Türkiye to be given a good governance brand. Our real happiness comes from finding the opportunity to increase the quality of life of the citizens by contributing to the functioning of the municipalities thanks to this work. The adoption of a good governance culture in municipalities increases the confidence of the citizens. The acquisition of this brand by our municipalities will be an important milestone for a sustainable future and the development of quality of life. I wish our Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities to contribute to the dissemination of good governance culture by continuously improving their pioneering work on this issue.”

Dutch Consul General Arjen Uijterlinde said in his speech:
“Municipalities are the primary level of government with which most citizens come into contact and are most visible to them. The Integrated Municipality Governance Model has proven to be a useful tool for self-assessment and citizen participation leading to improved quality of local governance in the interest of all. The involvement and ownership of the Sultanbeyli and Şişli municipalities in this process from the very beginning is of particular value and we are happy to be able to support this with Dutch state funds. I congratulate the two stakeholder municipalities and related organizations for their commitments.”

In her speech where she gave information about the local governance approach and branding activities of the Council of Europe, Alina Tatarenko, Head of the Good Governance Department of the Council of Europe, said, “As stated in the latest reports and resolutions of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly, we witness there is a clear and alarming level of democratic regression across Europe. That is why today more than ever, our member states need to invest in the revitalization of democratic processes and institutions and in good democratic governance at all levels. Only good governance that is effective and truly democratic can contribute to building sustainable and resilient European societies and ensuring peace and prosperity for all.”

M. Cemil Arslan, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Marmara, in his speech said, “The formation of democratic and sustainable urban governance is also a part of MMU's mission. In local governance processes, self-evaluation of municipalities and active participation of all stakeholders of the city, especially civil society, in decision-making processes are of particular importance. Our members, Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities, exhibited a good example of this with the 'Integrated Municipality Governance Model Project'. As MMU, we aim to both share the local government experience built in Türkiye on a global level and bring international best practices to the local level.”

Making evaluations on the subject, Mayor of Sultanbeyli Hüseyin Keskin said, “Municipalities are one of the most important milestones of our democracy. We have created a governance culture in Sultanbeyli with our approaches that touch all layers of society. Our range in our decision-making mechanism is quite wide. We renew our in-house working processes day by day and redesign them according to today's conditions. We act with a participatory management approach, and while creating our projects, we enable our citizens to contribute to the beautification of our district. We will continue to maintain our increasingly participatory management approach. Together with our citizens, we will take our Sultanbeyli to the next level. As Sultanbeyli Municipality, we became one of the two municipalities that received the European Label of Governance Excellence. We accept this as an indication of the services we provide to our district. In our future processes, we will continue to work with our principled municipal understanding. I would like to thank my colleagues who contributed greatly to obtaining the European Label of Governance Excellence. We will continue to produce with all our strength and to implement better projects for our district.”

Sisli Mayor Muammer Keskin said, "It is very meaningful for us to buy this label. Because this step is the most important indicator that we have started to reach our goals on the way we started with the philosophy of 'another local government is possible'." Emphasizing that today, the classical local administration approach has undergone a serious evolution from one-person administration to participatory democratic administration, Keskin continued: “Authorities that approach this change proactively will be one step ahead in every sense, from policy making to project development. As Şişli Municipality, we are trying to direct and contribute to this change, instead of following it. At this point, we are developing models that will set an example for many local governments. We are the first district to implement the Participatory Budget, which provides a wide social participation from the budget to the services to be produced. "We held more than 100 meetings with our stakeholders in 25 neighborhoods of Şişli for the Participatory Budget. We even had a 12-year-old brother among our neighborhood spokespersons. In other words, we reached our neighbors from all ages and from all walks of life. We decide our services and policies with a collective mind." Pointing out that they make transparency work at all levels, Keskin concluded his speech with the following words: "We, as Şişli Municipality, will continue to be a pioneer in everything we do, contribute to change and work to make participatory democracy work in every part of the country. Argüden Governance Academy, which carries out this work meticulously. I would like to express my gratitude to the esteemed managers, teammates and everyone who contributed." said.

After these speeches, Project Coordinator Dr. İnan İzci informed the participants about the scope and content of the studies carried out. He stated that the Integrated Municipal Governance Model developed in the project was prepared in accordance with the local strengthening of good governance in all countries that are members of the Council of Europe. Dr. Erkin Erimez, a member of the project team, stated that the intangible good governance principles are embodied in the municipalities with the Model process, while Melis Türker mentioned that the implementation process of the Model creates a climate of continuous improvement in the municipalities. In addition, MBB Foreign Relations and Migration Policy Senior Specialist and Project Coordinator Merve Ağca emphasized the importance of disseminating the European Governance Excellence Brand throughout Turkey, especially MMU member municipalities. It was underlined that if this model is ultimately implemented, good governance in municipalities will develop continuously.

Related People

Dr. Yılmaz Argüden

Chair of Advisory Board

Dr. Erkin Erimez

Academic Council Member

Dr. İnan İzci

Academic Council Member

Melis Türker

SGScorecard Project Leader

Niall Sheerin

Arjen Uijterlinde

Consul General of Netherlands in İstanbul

Alina Tatarenko

Head of Democratic Governance at Council of Europe

Muammer Keskin

Mayor of Şişli

Hüseyin Keskin

Mayor of Sultanbeyli Municipality

Merve Ağca

Marmara Municipalities Union

M. Cemil Arslan

Marmara Municipalities Union