In partnership with GIZ’s Local Governance Sector Reform Program, the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA) launched the village councils technical hub to exchange expertise between heads of local authorities in the northern area of the West Bank. This aims at identifying topics of priority for village councils to exchange expertise on. Workshops will be implemented to exchange knowledge, including hosting experts on specific topics throughout the hub’s operation in order to benefit village councils, exchange expertise and improve cooperation and networking between them. This comes as part of the second phase of the “Technical Hubs” program that targets staff and officials at Palestinian local authorities.
During the first workshop of the village councils hub, APLA’s Executive Director, Eng. Abdallah Anati, clarified that this technical hub mainly targets village councils in the West Bank as a whole. However, a mechanism has been identified to work with these councils based on regions in the first phase in order to facilitate access to the maximum number of village councils. This technical hub will be launched in the north, then the center and then in the south. He stressed on the importance of maintaining direct communication between village councils and the necessity of continuing to empower them and promote their roles in the provision of the best services for the public, as well as improve the quality of such services.
Eng. Anati summarized the interventions relating to working with village councils as set out in APLA’s strategic plan, particularly the first strategic goal, which clarifies the organizational structure of APLA’s executive office, including the special unit APLA is working on establishing. This unit is called the Technical and Legal Support Unit, which will increase communication and networking with all village councils in order for APLA to be able to perform its role properly. He also presented APLA’s approaches relating to updating and developing systems, laws, and policies on local governance, including the report on mandates and capacities of local authorities, particularly village councils.
On his part, Emile Ghouri from GIZ presented the concept and goals of the technical hubs, particularly the village councils hub, and the proposed structure to build and develop the hub’s work, its committees and the roles vested in it.
The participants agreed on the topics that will be addressed in future meetings of the village councils hub, provided that work is focused on methods to improve financial capacities at village councils, relations with the public, economic feasibility assessment and study, challenges and regulations on land and the issue of solid waste. The head of Asira Al-Qiblia Village Council, Mr. Hafeth Saleh, was selected to be the coordinator of the village councils hub, while Mr. Barakat Omari, head of Faqoua Village Council was selected as his deputy. The participants identified the work committees for each topic in order to develop clear work plans to ensure the greatest benefit for the participating local authorities.
It is worth noting that the technical hubs program in the current phase includes five hubs: the Village Councils Hub, Engineering and Planning Hub, Public Relations Hub, Finance hub and the Creativity and Innovation Hub. The program is implemented in partnership between APLA and GIZ’s Local Governance Reform program.