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Partnerships and Twinning

UK local government is engaged in a wide range of partnerships with counterparts overseas. For most councils, in addition to trading links, the first significant form of international partnership came about through the twinning movement. Widely promoted at the end of the Second World War to contribute to peace and reconciliation, twinning has evolved to meet the needs of contemporary life styles in the twenty first century. With origins firmly rooted in friendship and culture, the UK's 2000 or so twinning links now include a wide range of themes and activities.

Although twinning requires the endorsement of the local council, it is very much a grass roots movement, often led by a community based association. In addition to involvement in these formal partnerships, councils are also developing international networks and contacts through technical projects focusing on a specific area; EU funded multi-lateral projects; informal, friendship links; and development cooperation linked to the UN's Millennium Development Goals. There are a vast number of benefits and opportunities to be derived from all forms of partnerships.

The following information aims to provide guidance on how to maximise the benefits on a number of levels. Although aimed primarily at councils, much of this guidance can relate to any type of partnership.

This is the first of a series of eleven articles about twinning published by the Local Government Association (LGA) on their website. The original can be found here

Copyright in this article belongs to the Euoropean and International Division of the Local Government Association who have very kindly given us permission to use it, for which we thank them.