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Fresh off the press! Discover how EU Delegations across the world work with towns and regions


04 Feb 2021



In a brand-new study, PLATFORMA goes one step further in strengthening the relationship between  local and regional governments, their national associations and the European Union. It examines  how EU Delegations already engage with towns and regions and what their views are on tightening  relations further in the future as effective actors for development cooperation.  

The study compiles the answers of 53 selected EU Delegations in partner countries to a survey  sent out by PLATFORMA. The surveyors reached out to all the EU Delegations which have a  development cooperation unit and asked them for feedback on projects, as well as their methods and views on cooperating with the local level. 17 of them were directly interviewed. 

The new Neighbourhood, Development, International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) will give the  EU Delegations greater leeway to determine how best to allocate funds at country level.” said  Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR),  lead partner of PLATFORMA. “This development has provided us with an opening to rethink how we,  local and regional governments and representative associations active in development cooperation,  work with the EU Delegations,” he added. 

273 concrete projects  

The new study presents and analyses 273 projects undertaken by EU Delegations. All the projects  analysed bring up the variety of ways to empower and support local and regional governments,  their national associations, and more broadly, the decentralisation processes. 

The study shows that decentralisation seems to be a growing trend worldwide, with some different  regional tendencies. Some of the main obstacles to decentralisation are also analysed. In some  cases, decentralisation is not a political priority for the partner country, in others limited resources prevent the implementation of decentralising reforms. Moreover, domestic political fragility can  also represent a hindrance. 

The new study also suggests to the EU Delegations how they can benefit from partnerships with  decentralised cooperation actors. 

3 examples of projects presented  

• In Lebanon, where the Syrian crisis has deepened the socio-economic differences  between regions, a number of EU programmes have been established to improve local  governance, socio-economic development and the local job market for young people,  with the approval and/or collaboration of the central government. The programmes also  seek to strengthen the capacities of municipalities to deliver basic services such as water supplies and solid waste management. At the same time, the EU supports Lebanon’s  efforts to decentralise its administrative system.  

• Jamaica’s case study shows the key role played by the national association of local  governments. Under a partnership between the Association of Local Government  Authorities of Jamaica (ALGAJ) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum  (CLGF), SDG-focused pilot projects were implemented in three municipalities: Trelawny  Municipality (“Small Scale Agriculture and Local Tourism”), St Thomas Municipality  (“Local Economic Development and Land-use Planning”) and St James Municipality (“Pre feasibility Composting for Montego Bay”).  

• Last but not least, the study highlights the advantages of municipal partnerships. The  one between Banjul (Gambia) and Ostend (Belgium) has been funded by a CSO-LA  thematic line (the former EU financial mechanism allowing direct access to funding for  local and regional governments) and involves the EU Delegation. The purpose of the €3  million funding was to transform Banjul City Council into an efficient, transparent and  service delivery-oriented local authority. The city of Ostend is the lead partner on this  project. The EU Delegation funds it and provides guidance support. The working areas of  the partnership are capacity building for governance, waste management, energy and  health. 

Learn more by reading “The work of EU delegations with local and regional governments for  development

Soon available in French and Spanish.