Annual Update 2018 VNG International

VNG International has three daughter organisations: MEPCO in the Czech Republic, CMRA in South Africa and CILG in Tunisia. They were established in 2004, 2005 and 2011.

The daughter organisations were established in close collaboration with the local governments, or their national association, in the respective countries. These remain actively involved, as co-founder and co-owner or through regular consultations, in the development of MEPCO, CMRA and CILG. All three operate on both the national and international local government capacity building market.


Within the VNG International group we search for maximum synergies between the various organisations, in areas such as market analysis, product development and innovation of our intervention methodologies.


Furthermore, together with the City of The Hague, we established The Hague Academy for Local Governance.


Daughter organisations


International Advisory Centre for Municipalities

MEPCO provides consulting, management, training and research services to local governments and regions, their institutions and associated businesses throughout the Czech Republic and to a lesser extent on the international market. Key areas of expertise, as developed throughout the years and at the same time reflecting new urban challenges, include a.o.:  regional strategic development and regional competitiveness; strategic development within municipalities; smart office and governance; development, funding and project management. In these various areas MEPCO is known for its innovative approaches. It wants to be an initiator for implementation of new urban topics among municipalities.


In 2017 MEPCO obtained interesting assignments from new and existing municipal customers in the field of ‘SMART-cities approach’ and strategic planning. In addition, they have been contracted to conduct a large survey among the members of the Czech association of municipalities (SMO).


> more information can be found at





Centre for Municipal Research and Advice

In CMRA’s portfolio the international market still provides for the largest share. Relevant areas of expertise include local economic development and improving the business climate within municipalities; social housing; resource mobilisation; and support to Catchment Management Areas (CMAs) in the field of Integrated Water Resource Management. CMRA has a strong track record in setting up and managing horizontal learning processes with groups of municipalities, in the form of benchmarking cycles.


CMRA received new assignments from the South African State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, GIZ and a follow-up to the Kingfisher program (IWRM). Choices have been made for the specialisation of CMRA in the coming years: local revitalization; cooperation between municipalities and companies; mobilization of resources; municipal services in the water and housing sector.


> more information can be found at





Centre for Innovative Local Governance

Since its establishment six years ago, CILG has gained firm recognition as a resource centre for its expertise in support of positive change in the MENA region. CILG has very good relations with Tunisian local governments, their association, and related national institutions. It is good at bringing together European and domestic expertise and best practice, and has a deep knowledge of the local context and culture. Key areas of expertise include: democratic transition and decentralisation; local governance and more specifically urban democratic governance; local economic development including public-private partnerships, employability and entrepreneurship;  support to gender equality and civil society; security, migration and cross-border cooperation.


CILG has had a very successful year. Next to implementing various ongoing projects, including a large program for local economic development funded by the Danish government, CILG was contracted for two EU programs. In addition, a start was made with promising cooperation with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).


> more information can be found at




The Hague Academy

The Hague Academy for Local Governance annually trains about 1000 professionals from national and local governments, CSOs and donor and development organisations. It offers open subscription courses in The Hague and tailor-made training programmes that can be delivered both in The Hague and abroad. Training is practice oriented, interactive, demand driven and aims at sustainable impact.


Training modalities that the Academy offers are:

  • Multi-annual action learning programmes
  • Short courses and exposure visits
  • Training-of-Trainer programmes
  • Online and blended learning
  • Capacity development of training institutes


Moreover, thanks to the donations from Dutch municipalities, businesses and individuals, the Academy’s Talent for Governance-programme is able to offer scholarships to young, municipal talents from developing countries.


In the past years, popular topics have been Citizen Participation & Inclusive Governance, Integrity & Anti-Corruption, Gender Responsive Governance, Local Economic Development, Multilevel Water Governance and Conflict & Local Security. New courses that THA offers in 2018 are: Financing Climate Resilience at the local level, Migration & Local Authorities and an online course on Local Economic Development.


In April 2018, The Hague Academy celebrated its 10th anniversary. An alumni event was organised in which former participants shared the impact of the training in The Netherlands on their work, their organisation and the local community. A survey was conducted amongst The Hague Academy’s network about trends and challenges in local governance. And during an international anniversary conference, development practitioners discussed about the challenges they face in sustaining local peacebuilding initiatives, promoting crisis resilience at a local level, increasing inclusive local economic development and capacity building.


> more information can be found at