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The James Holmes Institute for Local Government Innovation is dedicated to developing local governance capacity building initiatives, research, publication and promotion of local policies and local initiatives that have positively impacted communities across the world. The Institute spotlights impactful case studies based on internationally recognised performance metrics, and fosters exchange on best practices through conferences and networking events. The Institute seeks to contribute to global research and best-practices to further local government innovation.


“Local governance has consistently demonstrated its strength in reshaping policies and addressing the nuanced needs of global communities. By equipping communities with the right tools, knowledge, and resources, we've witnessed transformative improvements in their quality of life. Merging the wisdom of traditional community insights with contemporary, innovative tools empowers communities towards self-reliance, setting the stage for enduring sustainability and development.”

James Holmes, ICO Secretary General



Given James Holmes Institute for Local Government’s deep-rooted involvement in shaping ICO’s policy development ethos, the Institute holds a dedicated space at the ICO Vienna.  Developing practical solutions for wide-scale reconciliation, challenging economic disparities and addressing minority rights issues stands at the forefront of ICO’s mission. Such a venture requires innovative ideas, research, testing and analysis. Local governments serve as fertile ground for testing innovative ideas; they allow for focused attention on distinct community challenges and can also lay the groundwork for expansive policy transformations at the national level.


ICO currently works on the establishment of Local Councils in North Kosovo. These councils, comprised of elected representatives, act as the voice of communities spanning villages, settlements, and city neighbourhoods. With support of the James Holmes Institute for Local Government, we gather precise data that can guide informed local decisions, with a particular focus on the status of the Serbian community in Northern Kosovo. Further, we are dedicated to obtaining recommendations to elevate the quality of life and overall well-being of residents in these areas. Together, we create an integrated approach that caters to the diverse needs and aspirations of the communities in Northern Kosovo.

Our core areas of interest include:

  • Rural and Urban Development: Crafting sustainable strategies for the community

  • Public Health: Prioritizing community wellness and preventive measures.

  • Local Environmental Protection: Safeguarding natural resources and promoting eco-friendly practices.

  • Tourism: Highlighting cultural heritage, including minority groups’ tangible and intangible traditions and fostering local economies

  • Local Security Council Participation: Community members to play an active role as a standing member to ensure safety and order.

  • Maintenance of Public Spaces: Including the preservation of recreational areas.

  • Oversight in Education and Culture: Managing educational directives, preserving cultural heritage, and promoting sports and extracurricular activities.


ICO is also currently working to deliver a capacity building programme in the Anglophone region of Cameroon with the support of the James Holmes Institute for Local Government. The programme seeks to strengthen the capacity of local councils in conflict affected regions. We carried a needs assessment to collect data from the Anglophone community, council staff and mayors. The results of our findings helped us to design a tailored capacity building programme in partnership with the Cameroon Peace Initiative and funded by the Institute. The focuses of the programme include

  • Best practices for effective governance: ICO delivered a training to selected councils in key function areas including transparency, community engagement, efficient budgeting, robust public finance management, resource mobilization, and public-private partnerships. Councils represent over a million people living in the North West and South West.

  • Strengthening collaboration with civil society: ICO recognises that local government collaboration with civil society is paramount to addressing the needs of the vulnerable peoples, this is why ICO has been instrumental in the establishment of Coordination Committees on Gender (CCG). The objectives of the CCGs are to improve the response and services available to vulnerable women and girls.

  • Capacity Development Planning: ICO is working to deepen its institutional assessment of local council’s human resource management (HRM) and digital adaptation. Both function areas are critical to improving effective governance practices in the long, ICO is working with councils to implement a 6 months development plan based on the outcome and recommendations of the capacity development plan.


The Institute aim to serve as a centre for knowledge exchange and a nexus for policy development for local government innovation. We pride ourselves on our independent research and analysis, active engagements with pivotal stakeholders, and forging strategic alliances.

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