Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
Four weeks in Barcelona
I spent four weeks in May/June learning the operational side and assisting one of eThekwini’s biggest partners: UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) which is based in Barcelona.
The UCLG offices are situated in the old and fascinating area of Barcelona in a re-purposed late 19th century building that has Ancient Roman masonry as part of its foundations. The roof of the building has a wonderful view over the city and staff frequently lunch up there.
It was a very good time to be in the city: warm but not hot and no rain. Every work day, I walked or took the Metro to work, stopping on the way to buy a delicious pastry for which Barcelona is famous. I used to eat this accompanied by coffee from the office espresso machine while catching up on my eThekwini emails before turning to my UCLG tasks.
Over 1000 cities across 95 countries are direct members of UCLG and 112 Local Government Associations (LGAs) are members of UCLG, representing almost every existing LGA in the world. UCLG represents and defends their members’ interests on the world stage, supports international cooperation between cities and their associations, and facilitates programmes, networks and partnerships to build the capacity of local governments.
There are several committees that conduct programmes of co-operation and learning and I assisted one of them, the Urban Strategic Planning committee (of which eThekwini is Co-President) writing reports, preparing for a Peer-to-peer learning exchange to be held in Barcelona in September, as well as drafting a newsletter and ad hoc drafting and editing of documents.
There were also opportunities to pass on knowledge about eThekwini and MILE and network with representatives from other cities.
It was a valuable and enjoyable experience and I believe that eThekwini/MILE is more firmly embedded in UCLG for networking and learning purposes as a result of my working visit there.

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