County of­fi­cials part of del­e­ga­tion to Viet­nam

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - AN­DREW BROOKS

War­den Bruce Mor­ri­son and District # 2 Coun­cil­lor Perla Macleod are back on Cana­dian soil af­ter a one-week trip to the cities of Hanoi and Can Tho, Viet­nam.

Mor­ri­son and Macleod were part of a Cape Bre­ton del­e­ga­tion cho­sen to head up the Viet­namese por­tion of the Part­ner­ships for Mu­nic­i­pal In­no­va­tion: Lo­cal Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (PMI-LED) pro­gram. PMI-LED is im­ple­mented by the Fed­er­a­tion of Cana­dian Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties (FCM) and seeks to in­crease sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth by strength­en­ing the ca­pac­ity of mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments in sev­eral over­seas coun­tries- Mali, Burk­ina Faso, Côte d’ivoire, Viet­nam, Cambodia, Bo­livia and Nicaragua. The Vic­to­ria County of­fi­cials were joined by Cape Bre­ton Part­ner­ship chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Carla Arse­nault and Port Hawkes­bury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-beaton. It was mem­o­rable trip for War­den Mor­ri­son. “You see it all at once, it’s very in­tense when

you get there, the busy-ness, the size, the heat. I’ve been a Coun­cil­lor for twenty years, and when I re­flect back af­ter I’ve left this busi­ness, it will cer­tainly be one of the high­lights.”

Mor­ri­son was act­ing as both a mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union of Nova Sco­tia Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties (UNSM).

“As a mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial, I ex­plained how our elec­tions work, how long our terms are, what our roles are, war­den vs. mayor. We weren’t there to con­vert them, we were just there to ex­plain how our mu­nic­i­pal process works. I would look at it as in­for­ma­tion shar­ing rather than sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Hanoi and Cape Bre­ton.”

Mor­ri­son says he and his Viet­namese hosts share com­mon con­cerns around eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, specif­i­cally tourism de­vel­op­ment. Mor­ri­son says that fees col­lected from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties by the UNSM go to­wards train­ing new­ly­elected and sea­soned rep­re­sen­ta­tives as well as ad­min­is­tra­tive staff. He says the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cities of Viet­nam cur­rently don’t ap­pear to col­lect fees but ap­peared in­trigued by this ar­range­ment.

The week-long visit in­volved meet­ings with of­fi­cials of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cities of Viet­nam with whom PMI-LED has of­fi­cially en­tered a 4-year part­ner­ship. The ini­tial mis­sion was com­prised of se­ries of meet­ings, work­shops and dis­cus­sions to lay the ground­work for the four-year part­ner­ship.

Over the next four years, UNSM and Cape Bre­ton Part­ner­ship of­fi­cials will help the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cities of Viet­nam strengthen its ca­pac­ity to plan a com­mu­nity-led eco­nomic vi­sion, to of­fer ef­fec­tive eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects and ser­vices to their com­mu­ni­ties, and to adopt poli­cies and prac­tices that pro­mote in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Specif­i­cally, they will be fo­cused on in­sti­tu­tional strength­en­ing, train­ing de­vel­op­ment, strate­gic plan­ning, ad­vo­cacy ca­pac­ity build­ing, pol­icy de­vel­op­ment, and sup­port­ing pro­grams for women elected at the lo­cal level.

“At the end of the day, it is about help­ing them build ca­pac­ity within their or­ga­ni­za­tion. Specif­i­cally, they’ve asked for as­sis­tance in fur­ther de­vel­op­ing their strate­gic plan. The As­so­ci­a­tion of Viet­nam Cities has a train­ing cen­tre and they’re look­ing to ex­pand the scope of ser­vices they of­fer there. So that will be a key com­po­nent of what they’re look­ing for as­sis­tance with,” said Arse­nault.

The FCM an­nual con­fer­ence is be­gin held in Hal­i­fax next June and Arse­nault and Mor­ri­son are hop­ing it will be an op­por­tu­nity for Viet­namese of­fi­cials to visit the province and the is­land.

Arse­nault says she doesn’t know at this point who will be in­volved in sub­se­quent trips to Viet­nam, but she says Mor­ri­son and Macleod will be in­volved through­out the next four years.

All di­rect pro­gram costs, in­clud­ing travel, ac­com­mo­da­tions and meals, are cov­ered by Global Af­fairs Canada, which funds the Part­ner­ships for Mu­nic­i­pal In­no­va­tion: Lo­cal Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment pro­gram that is im­ple­mented by the Fed­er­a­tion of Cana­dian Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. Par­tic­i­pat­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions, both in Canada and abroad, pro­vide some in-kind con­tri­bu­tions, in­clud­ing staff time.

Pic­tured above (L-R): Carla Arse­nault, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer for Cape Bre­ton Part­ner­ship, Vic­to­ria County War­den Bruce Mor­ri­son, an uniden­ti­fied staff mem­ber, Nguyen Thi Kim Son Vice-gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the As­so­ci­a­tion of the Cities of Viet­nam...

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