UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) Development Cooperation and City Diplomacy (DCCD) Committee, with the Capacity and Institution Building (CIB) Working Group, took the initiative to draw this UCLG Policy paper. The paper was published in May 2013 and aims to explain the crucial role that local governments play in the development of a country and the importance of development cooperation by peers to support local governments.
Local government is increasingly important because local governments can respond faster and better to the citizen’s needs and ensure citizen’s participation and partnerships. Local governments are catalysts of sustainable and integrated economic and human development. To encourage the practice of local government development cooperation, strengthening the role of local government in development strategies and support for good local governance are necessary. Cooperation between local governments is also important for integrating all local actors in the dynamic of cooperation and mutual support over time.
The main strengths of local governments’ decentralized cooperation for development are utilization of the unique in-depth knowledge that local governments have, the ability of local governments to build linkage between the partners’ local civil societies, and the potential for peer learning. On the other hand, the main weaknesses includes a lack of financial resources for local government cooperation, inadequate legal frameworks for cooperation at the national level, a lack of continuity due to political changes, and too often citizen participation is not incorporated into the partnership.
The main recommendations of the policy paper are
- Further recognition of local government development cooperation as a public policy
- Promoting more and better decentralization
- Giving recognition of local governments as key actors for development
- Provide adequate funding: increasing substantially the volume of financial support forlocal government development cooperation programs and the number and range of governments and funders in this sector
In a key advocacy message, the paper emphasizes again the importance of involving a grouping of local governments in cooperation and a commitment among them to share and learn from each other.