What We Do

Local Government Association Development



Recognizing the need to bring city governments on a common platform where they can discuss urban governance issues, UMC and ICMA supported the formation of associations of City Managers to facilitate sharing and learning among them.

At UMC, we combine our network of experts, resource people and training organizations with adult learning methodologies, tailor-made capacity building plans, study tours and internships to create specific training programs.

The first association to be formed was City Managers’ Association of Gujarat (CMAG) in 1997 and with this started the CMA movement in India. Till date, 13 CMAs have been set up across India with support from UMC. Besides Gujarat, CMAs have been formed in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Punjab. More than 3,000 urban local bodies of India have been networked through these associations. UMC provides technical assistance and logistic support to the CMAs.

City Managers’ Association Development, India

Client: US Asia Environmental Partnership-a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Location: India

Duration: September 2001 - September 2005 

Urban local bodies, anywhere in the world, are constantly grappling with problems. It’s firefighting for city managers every day. They have to face acute and varied pressures. There is a general perception that municipal authorities function poorly, and not to the satisfaction of the citizens! This may or may not be true for all cities. In the rapidly changing urban scenario, however, there are encouraging signs of leadership and innovation among urban local bodies, initiatives that are indicative of administrative and political will for improving urban management. UMC promotes sound urban development in Asia, focusing on financial management, decentralization, association building, citizen participation, community development, environmental policy, participant training, performance measurement, and strategic planning. UMC provides technical assistance activities. It provides advisory services to newly formed and established municipal associations and local government leagues; gives guidance to local governments participating in Resource Cities or other donor-funded local governments; facilitates information generation and information sharing and enables facilitation of grants, study tours, and conferences. 

Since 1997, UMC has established 13 city managers associations with funding from USAID. These CMAs are located in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. Developing the capacity of India’s CMAs is a critical step in professionalizing the country’s urban local bodies, raising awareness of urban issues with the state and central governments, and advocating for greater decentralization and financial/administrative autonomy. UMC assisted in designing and conducting the formation workshops for these City Managers’ Associations, in drafting their memorandums of associations, and assistance for their formal registration. 

UMC also provided assistance to recruit and train the secretariat for the CMAs. UMC conducts annual workshops to build the capacity of the secretariat in financial management, grants management, service delivery, association development, strategic planning, performance measurement, staff development, environmental management, and performance measurement. UMC has also conducted several orientation programs for the CMA board members and administered grants to hire coordinators and purchase needed office equipment for each of the associations. UMC has provided training on best practices dissemination and continues to facilitate the sharing of information among CMAs and local governments throughout India; the organization published a toolkit “Institutionalizing City Managers’ Associations in India” as a guide towards sustainable city managers’ associations.

UMC continues to serve as a mentor for the CMAs in India and provides on-going guidance on association development issues. Technical assistance activities include: 

null Advisory services to newly formed and established municipal associations and local government leagues. 

null Guidance to local governments participating in Resource Cities or other donor-funded local governments. 

null Facilitates information generation and information sharing. 

null Facilitation of grants, study tours, and conferences. 

Some achievements of these associations have been: 

nullA sense of camaraderie among city managers across sectors. The creation of a strong, sustainable network of local government professionals that provide targeted, demand-driven professional development, information/research, networking, and advocacy services to municipalities. 

nullContinued Education Opportunities "Continued Education" is a concept well recognized in the corporate sector. The concept has been well received and paid off extremely well in terms of enhanced efficiency and improved skills. Unfortunately the same has very recently percolated to the government sector. CMAs organize regular workshops and hands-on training programs for their membership in diverse areas ranging from strategic planning, effective team building, financial management to hardcore technical areas. 

nullIncreased knowledge and easy access to best practices/good initiatives and technological know-how from across the country as well as from other developed nations. To date, city managers’ associations have documented and disseminated more than 200 innovative practices, which have led to the overall improvement of urban management in India. This documentation has led to a number of study tours and the facilitation of replication of these practices. CMAs also pair up ULBs to facilitate the transfer of these successful initiatives.


Related Resource Documents 

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 

Formation of Mega Cities Association, India

Client: International City/County Management Association

Location: India

Duration: July 2005- May 2007

Under the Sustainable Urban Management-II (SUM II) Contract, the Urban Management Centre worked to enhance the capacity of India’s metropolitan cities’ to sustain broad-based economic growth. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) identified specific areas of assistance in selected cities—a total of 8 tasks were identified under the India Urban Initiatives Task Order. UMC in association with ICMA aided the formation of Mega Cities Association to facilitate this growth and development. The organization used existing information where possible and coordinated with the range of stakeholders active with the cities, including other USAID resources, World Bank, IFC, bilateral donors, national, state, and local institutions. The main objective of the SUM II India Urban Initiative was to support the economic growth and development of India’s major cities through targeted technical assistance to address eminent urban management issues that if addressed will promote sustainable, balanced, growth. To disseminate city-specific actions relevant to other urban centers, providing models and/or lessons learned that encourage balanced growth.

Based on its experience derived from ICMA Washington, a 90- year-old association of city managers, and from the process of setting up a total of thirteen City Managers’ Associations across India, UMC provided technical assistance to form a Mega Cities Forum for the seven largest cities of India.

The Mega-Cities Forum provided a  platform for mega municipality heads to discuss and find solutions to issues of local governance, institutionalized cooperation, and raise the level of voice to inform national policy. The forum promoted knowledge sharing on approaches, strategies, governance tools, planning, implementation, economic development, service delivery as well as engaging these cities in long-term planning on the country’s urban development. The aim of this platform facilitated structural reforms directed at improving the economic base and the delivery of basic civic services, including the urban poor, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the urban environment. 

nullUMC assisted in helping foster the development of this seven-city network, support implementation of plans, provide analyses, advice, and recommendations on organizational structure, short and long-term activities, staffing, focus, etc. 

nullUMC drafted the Memorandum of Association for the MCA, facilitating formal registration of the association under the Societies Act. Assisted the newly formed MCA to document best practices across the member cities, prepare a best practices document, and organize a sharing workshop. 

nullUMC also helped the association to plan and conduct its executive committee meetings, in branding the association and launching their website. Eventually, UMC also compiled a leading practices catalog in 2007 named “Mega Cities… Poised For Change” after the formation of MCA.


Related Resource Documents 

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 

Local Government Association Development Projects

City Managers’ Association Development, India

Formation of Mega Cities’ Association, India