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Research for Local Action towards Sustainable Human Settlements

Final Report Summary - RELAY (Research for Local Action towards Sustainable Human Settlements)

The overall objective of the RELAY project was to provide an international forum for discussing ways and means on how research and its outcomes can best contribute to the local implementation of policies and practices for urban sustainable development. This forum was mainly to be realised through a conference convening experts specialising on issues of sustainable management, planning and governance; land-use planning; and housing and construction. Apart from researchers, local governments, their associations and other supporting institutions as well as national and international actors providing framework conditions and financing for research were to be invited for joining the debates. The conference was envisaged to be a component of a joint research initiative launched by Un-habitat and Directorate-General Research (EC-DG Research) of the European Commission at the World Urban Forum II in Barcelona, Spain, in September 2004.

The discussion led to certain recommendations, which highlighted the following major points:
- Communication between those working in the academic sector and those working in the local government sector needs to be strengthened in order to build mutual trust and facilitate better collaboration.
- A closer collaboration also depends on adequate structural pre-conditions for research including the provision of suitable financial frameworks.
- Research results need to be easily understandable and accessible for local governments.
- Local governments need to become involved in all stages of the research process – from the formulation of the actual research questions up to instruments for making the results available – in order to ensure the relevance of research outcomes for their policies and practices.

The recommendations have been widely distributed to their target groups and to multipliers with the expectation that they will be taken up in the design and implementation of future research programmes. In the long run it is hoped that they will contribute to the improvement of sustainability conditions at local level.

The recommendations are available for download on the project website: in the following languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. Hard copies can be ordered at ICLEI's European secretariat.