DCP was initiated as a result of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburgin 2002, recognizing that the forming of partnerships between the United Nations, civil society, academia, local authorities and the private sector is vital for the advancement and successful realization of sustainable development. UNITAR launched a partnership initiative entitled “Reinforcement of Local Capacities and Training for Sustainable Urbanization: a Public-Private Partnership” that laid the foundation of DCP and its CIFAL Network. This initiative was jointly developed and presented by UN-HABITAT, the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC), the Global Ecovillage Network, and VEOLIA Environment.
The year 2003 saw the launch of the first 3 CIFAL Centres in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Curitiba (Brazil) to conduct training sessions on sustainable development.
The CIFAL Network is currently comprised of 10 centres. Between 2004 and 2013, DCP established new centres in Atlanta (USA), Shangai (China), Edinburgh (Scotland), Plock (Poland), Jeju (South Korea), Merida (Mexico) and Algiers (Algeria).
In addition to the CIFAL centres, DCP established a field office in Nigeria, in 2006. The Port-Harcourt Project Office (PHPO) was set up in close collaboration with federal, regional and local authorities. It provides training and capacity development activities in the areas of conflict prevention and management, environmental protection and local economy, and focuses particularly on employment generation for the youth and the creation of business opportunities for locals.
DCP also oversees the Antwerp International Training Center for Corporate Opportunities (ITCCO), located in Belgium. ITCCO was established in 2011 under the joint auspices of UNITAR and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and aims at stimulating businesses around the world to embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) and adopt the principles of the UNGC as a way to increase their contribution towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the new development agenda.
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