By Stephen Sykes and Wak Kewa
Partnerships that deliver on building a better future for Australia and developing countries took centre stage at the 2012 Sister cities conference in Devonport Tasmania in November with Mount Hagen in PNG and Orange in Australia keynote speakers.
Wak Kewa Deputy City Manager Mount Hagen City Council PNG and Stephen Sykes Orange City Council in Australia took the sister cities members on a journey spaning some 10 years outlining the outcomes of the CLGF and AusAid .
From an initial request from the Mount Hagen Urban Level Local Government MHULLG for support from its sister city Orange in planning and management; to the development of a new city plan for Mount Hagen and master plans that delivers infrastructure, the case study placed the benefit of such relationships in the spotlight.
Following a series of presentations the conference then focussed on the future of sister city relationships. The Sister Cities reflected on their original purpose which was to “promote world peace” and spent considerable time on the role that the Movement can play in foreign aid and support. The conference resolved to support partnering between Australian Councils and developing countries in the region with a view to improving regional capacity. Representatives of councils with partnerships in East Timor embraced possible capacity building arrangements similar to the good practice scheme operating in Papua New Guinea and proposed for Tuvalu.
Capacity building partnering is now firmly on the Australian Council agendas and regional relationships and cross partnering support with for example Japan and Australian sister cities and a third developing country is now also on the agenda.
The conference also hosts a youth conference that had a strong focus on international program opportunities.