Decentralised Cooperation and Aid Effectiveness– Progress and challenges of sub-state actors in the post-Busan cooperation agenda

DEVELOPMENT - Apr 11, 2012

The ART Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), CIDOB, the main world networks of local and regional governments (UCLG and ORU-FOGAR) together with a large number of decentralised cooperation (DC) actors met once again in Barcelona on 23 March with representatives of the main multilateral organisations promoting the debate on the effectiveness of development aid at the international level, such as the OECD and UN DESA, to prepare the way for the Third Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to be held in New York on 5-6 July.

Description

The ART Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), CIDOB, the main world networks of local and regional governments (UCLG and ORU-FOGAR) together with a large number of decentralised cooperation (DC) actors met once again in Barcelona on 23 March with representatives of the main multilateral organisations promoting the debate on the effectiveness of development aid at the international level, such as the OECD and UN DESA, to prepare the way for the Third Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to be held in New York on 5-6 July.

Despite the progress represented by the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (FAN-4), held last year in Busan (South Korea) to recognise the role of sub-state actors in this field, those attending the seminar agreed unanimously on the need to carry on working actively on the alliance created prior to FAN-4 with the aim of including DC onto the post-Busan agenda. The challenge from now on is to achieve institutional representation, not only in the agenda of aid effectiveness, but in the entire international development agenda. Likewise, mention was made of the importance of promoting and working on the principles of the Paris Declaration (such as management by results, mutual responsibility and monitoring of assessment) from a territorial perspective. In the discussions and debates, constant reference was made to the changing reality in the international panorama, owing to the crisis and the arrival of emerging actors on the effectiveness agenda. In the same way, the need was stressed to make an effort to include the viewpoints of decentralised southern actors in this working alliance.

After the addresses to welcome and thank all the representatives of the different institutions attending the meeting, Eduardo González, Policy Adviser on Development Cooperation at the OECD, opened the first round table by summarising the main results of Busan and giving details of the process now being commenced by the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, which will direct same, replacing the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (WP-EFF). He also made a few points on the participation of sub-state governments in the commissions and meetings of the Global Partnership. Daša Šilović, Special Adviser to the UNDP (BERA) Assistant Administrator, acknowledged the added value provided by local and regional governments in terms of inclusive appropriation, strengthening domestic/mutual accountability and achieving results. She also stressed the important role they can play in South-South and Triangular Cooperation through the transfer of knowledge and know-how.

Continuing with the addresses at the first round table, Guadalupe Moreno, Head of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Department of Development Cooperation of the Generalitat of Cataluña and representing ORU-FOGAR, praised the results achieved by the alliance process created before Busan, and which managed to unite several actors within a message that was unique but diverse, and which culminated in a Side Event at FAN-4 and a joint declaration. This process served to reflect – with respect to opportunities – on the differentiated but complementary role of each of the different actors, and on the contribution made by sub-state governments, their networks and the multilateral organisations such as the UNDP on strengthening aid effectiveness. Meanwhile, Neus Gómez, Head of the Development Cooperation Office of Barcelona Provincial Council highlighted the challenges that she believed had emerged from Busan, such as the incorporation of sub-state actors of partner countries into the alliance process, and regaining the support of citizens of donor countries. Next was Hubert Julien-Laferrière, Vice-President of Grand Lyon, Municipal Councillor of Lyon, and President of the Decentralised Cooperation Commission of UCLG, who declared that he was fairly optimistic about the future, despite the uncertainty that exists over how to incorporate sub-state authorities into the new working plans of the post-Busan agenda now that the WP-EFF has disappeared. Finally, Lurdes Gómez, Programme Specialist for the UNDP ART Initiative, explained the benefits of this initiative for facilitating the alliance process for sub-state development cooperation actors, providing practical examples and evidence and helping to ensure that the resulting political message is legitimately recognised.

The addresses at the second round table commenced with Monica Nogara, Economic Affairs Officer in the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination (UN DESA), who gave a brief explanation of how the DCF was organised. Incidentally, a panel dedicated to DC will be held on the afternoon of 6 July, which will focus mainly on events and good practices in the field of sustainable development. After the DCF, a study is expected to be carried out and an Expert Group Meeting held on DC. DESA has expressed a willingness to make use of sub-state actors and the UNDP ART Initiative to define the agenda and the participants in these areas.

The second speaker, Renske Steenbergen, International Affairs Officer of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) and a member of the Working Group on Strengthening of Skills of the UCLG, presented some of the results of a study carried out on development cooperation by local governments. Among the strengths and opportunities, he highlighted their proximity to citizens, their effectiveness in the implementation of their projects and the increase in the interest of donors to work with local governments from the South. Among the weaknesses and threats he pointed to the absence of a strategic plan, the lack of continuity of political posts and the progressive reduction of funds.

He was followed by Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen in the Tangiers-Tetuan region of Morocco, and Julio Portieles, Senior Technical Adviser of the UNDP-ART programme in Ecuador, who presented their different experiences and good practices of working in a multilevel environment and with a multiplicity of actors on the ground, always with the support of the ART initiative. Finally, Felipe Llamas, Director of the Multilateral and Networks Department of the Andalusia Municipalities Fund for International Solidarity (FAMSI) and Pere Trias, Secretary of the Catalan Development Cooperation Fund (FCCD), presented their views on DC and spoke on a few initiatives carried out within the international cooperation municipalities network that each of them represents.

The objective for the afternoon session was to set the short-term working agenda and to distribute functions to each member of the DC alliance. It was proposed that greater effort should be made to incorporate more representatives from the South into the working network and to develop a roadmap until July 2012, also linked with the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will be held on 20-22 June of the same year.

>> Report of the seminar

>> Related activity

>> Dossier Busan


El Observatorio de Cooperación Descentralizada UE-LA, el Foro Global de Asociaciones de Regiones (ORU-FOGAR), la Generalitat de Cataluña, Ciudades y Gobiernos Locales Unidos (CGLU), el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD) a través de la Iniciativa ART y CIDOB

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