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The European Decentralised Cooperation

Acting for development engaging local authorities and civil society

by Antonella Valmorbida (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 310 Pages
Series: Euroclio, Volume 106

Summary

The local dimension is not considered any longer the final part of a top down long chain of processes bringing democracy and wealth but rather an essential and founding part of it. This publication gives a significant and unique overview on the processes of decentralised cooperation and the ways in which it impacts and engages communities in the European Union and the rest of the world. The publication is mainly focusing on the neighbouring countries of Europe as well those engaged in process of accession to the EU. Decentralised cooperation is an instrument with an important and evidenced added value to be further strengthened and empowered. 
 
The compelling narrative develops a comprehensive perspective on the processes of Decentralisation and development through cooperation between local authorities and civil society based on thorough research on legislative, extensive work in the field as well as good practices from relevant countries in Europe and its Neighbourhood.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Author’s Notes
  • Chapter 1. The objectives of the book
  • Chapter 2. Recommendations to unlock the potential of decentralised cooperation
  • Chapter 3. Today’s difficulties & opportunities of decentralised cooperation in Europe
  • Chapter 4. System of European Decentralised cooperation: introduction and frame – comparative approach and objectives
  • a. What is decentralised cooperation and why it is important for the enhancement of development policies
  • b. Features of decentralised cooperation
  • c. Actors of decentralised cooperation
  • d. Key terms for understanding decentralised cooperation
  • e. Role of EU policies to support decentralised cooperation
  • Chapter 5. The actors of decentralised cooperation
  • a) Actors for democracy: civil society versus local authorities
  • b) Civil Society Organisations
  • c) Local (municipal or regional) authorities
  • Chapter 6. The role of Local Authorities in DEAR – Development Education and Awareness Raising
  • Chapter 7. A Comparative analysis of decentralised cooperation by countries
  • 7.1. The French experience: a leading role
  • a) A centralised administration, a strong role of municipalities
  • b) Decentralised cooperation: a branch of French Foreign Policy
  • 7.2. The Spanish experience: a case of decentralisation focusing on the Mediterranean area and South America
  • a) Development
  • b) More details and elements on the legal basis
  • C) Autonomous Community Development Cooperation Agencies
  • d) Regional Development Cooperation Funds
  • e) Development Cooperation Councils
  • f) Challenges and limits of Decentralised Development Cooperation
  • 7.3. Italy – regional leadership & community approach
  • a) Decentralised cooperation in Italy – practices
  • b) Examples and practices of Decentralised Cooperation
  • 7.4. Germany, a key European stakeholder
  • a) Promotion of the decentralisation process and general goals
  • b) Actors involved in German decentralised cooperation
  • c) German strategy on government-civil society cooperation in post-2015 development policy
  • 7.5. Belgium – two ways of approaching cooperation
  • a) Decentralisation in Belgium
  • b) General goals of Belgian cooperation, partner countries and the promotion of decentralised cooperation
  • c) Relation between Federal government level and regional level concerning decentralised cooperation policies
  • d) Actors involved in Belgian decentralised cooperation
  • 7.6. The Netherlands
  • a) Decentralised Cooperation in the Netherlands
  • b) Promotion of the decentralisation process and general goals
  • c) Actors involved in the Netherlands’ decentralised cooperation
  • d) Global Goals Municipality Campaign
  • 7.7. The Scandinavian countries and Finland
  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • 7.8. The Baltic countries
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • 7.9. Switzerland
  • 7.10. The Visegrad group countries
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • 7.11. United Kingdom and Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • 7.12. South East Europe – Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Slovenia
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Strengthening of the international cooperation of local and regional authorities
  • 7.13. Greece, Malta and Cyprus
  • Greece
  • Malta
  • Cyprus
  • 7.14. Turkey
  • 7.15. Decentralised cooperation: an added value for Eastern Partnership Countries
  • 7.16. The potentiality of decentralised cooperation in the Mediterranean area
  • Chapter 8. Organisations supporting decentralisation cooperation and global trends
  • 8.1. City Diplomacy
  • 8.2. The Council of Europe and its Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
  • 8.3. Networks of local authorities promoting decentralised cooperation and the international work
  • 8.4. Civil Society Networks supporting decentralised cooperation and local governance at the European and global level
  • 8.5. The role of decentralised cooperation and local governments’ involvement in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Role in localising the SDGs – from the tool kits of the UN website:
  • Chapter 9. Annexes
  • 1. P4G – Partnership for Good1 – interregional cooperation, lead by Lower Silesia, Poland
  • 2. “BAKHITA: SCHIO (Italy) – SUDAN”
  • 3. New People’s relations in the Mediterranean, lead by Region Apulia (Italy)
  • 4. Euroregion Neisse – Nisa – Nysa as an example of cross-border cooperation within the European Union
  • 5. BioTowns
  • 6. Almelo (the Netherlands) – Denizli (Turkey)
  • 7. Project FOSEL, Region Puglia
  • 8. Teleorman Water Project, Flood Risk Management Pilot Project – Dutch – Romanian project
  • Bibliography
  • Series index

The European
DecentraliSed Cooperation

Antonella Valmorbida

Euroclio

Vol. 106

This publication has been peer reviewed.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photocopy, microfilm or any other means, without prior written permission from the publisher.

All rights reserved.

© P.I.E. Peter Lang s.a.

Éditions scientifiques internationales

Brussels, 2018

1 avenue Maurice, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

brussels@peterlang.com; www.peterlang.com

CIP available at the Library of Congress and the British Library.

Bibliographic information published by “Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek”.

“Die Deutsche National Bibliothek” lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at <http://dnb.de>.

About the author

Antonella Valmorbida is a senior expert on local governance and participative democracy at the local level. She developed and leads ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, since its creation in 1999. She is among the key experts in Europe that promote and implement programmes of participative democracy, local democracy and development. She has been engaged in South Eastern Europe and Eastern Europe since 1996. She manages a team of over 30 people and more, consultants and a network of 14 Local Democracy Agencies.

She is the Secretary General of ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, President of EPD (European Partnership for Democracy), coordinator of the Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration Reform of the Civil Society Forum for the Eastern Partnership. She is also involved in Concord, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development.

About the book

The local dimension is not considered any longer the final part of a top down long chain of processes bringing democracy and wealth but rather an essential and founding part of it. This publication gives a significant and unique overview on the processes of decentralised cooperation and the ways in which it impacts and engages communities in the European Union and the rest of the world. The publication is mainly focusing on the neighbouring countries of Europe as well those engaged in process of accession to the EU. Decentralised cooperation is an instrument with an important and evidenced added value to be further strengthened and empowered.

The compelling narrative develops a comprehensive perspective on the processes of Decentralisation and development through cooperation between local authorities and civil society based on thorough research on legislative, extensive work in the field as well as good practices from relevant countries in Europe and its Neighbourhood.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Author’s Notes

The present book is partly a revised and updated version of the material used during the three-year long course (from 2012) held at the University of Padova (Italy) – Faculty of Political Sciences – for the Master on Public Administration and Governance. The examples presented thereinafter are taken from the professional experience of the author as well as from the essays provided by the students. It does not intend to be exhaustive but it is rather a view of the author on the different topics addressed. It wants to raise the attention and awareness on the broad and often unknown potential of decentralised cooperation, by giving hints and indications for further research, interest and action.←7 | 8→ ←8 | 9→

Chapter 1

The objectives of the book

The present work addresses the subject of decentralised cooperation, through a comparative approach, from different geographical angles and views as well as various types and clusters of stakeholders. A special attention to the subject and the recent developments in the European Union construction and networks will be the essence of the second part. The Annexe is dedicated to the work of the students during the University course Public Administration and Governance, which took place for three Academic years at the University of Padua, Faculty of Political Sciences. The book is addressed for readers that are not necessarily used to the concept and that are approaching this form of cooperation and wants to have a first insight of it.

The comparative experience presented in the following pages is the outcome of twenty years of activities in the context of decentralised cooperation, together with ALDA – The European Association for Local Democracy and the Local Democracy Agencies programme and also experiences of the author1. A particular emphasis to this work has been provided by the three years programme LADDER, Local Authorities Drivers for Development, co-financed by European Commission. Considering the recent facts and a general upraise of citizens, a special focus will be given to citizens’ participation and citizens’ approach. We will see how Europe is today solicited for including citizens’ into decision-making processes through new forms of participation and non-formal consultations2.

Decentralised cooperation is also involved in this societal trend and might contribute to identify some possible solutions. The manner in which the content and methodology of decentralised cooperation can establish a straightforward connection between the initiatives in cooperation for←13 | 14→ development policies and the improvement of EU local policies in public administration and services will be highlighted. The natural conclusion that will follow is that international decentralised cooperation is for the benefit of both sides of the cooperation.

The objectives of the work are:

a) To increase awareness and showcase on what is decentralised cooperation and how this instrument is possible and implemented in different countries in the European Union and its Neighbourhood. To this aim, we will study the various legislation and practices. The examples brought are subjective to the professional and personal views of the author.

b) To present and illustrate the impact of decentralised cooperation in development following the targets set in the recent Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in particular when it comes to those who are promoting partnerships between local institutions and civil society.

c) To present the role of the European Union programmes and policies for supporting decentralised cooperation and the partnership between local authorities and civil society in order to promote sustainable development in the EU and in the world.

d) Base on the above mentioned targets, to elaborate recommendations to the EU and various relevant stakeholders to support decentralised cooperation as a powerful instrument for economic and social sustainable development.←14 | 15→


1 Any comments or reference are only the point of view of the author.

2 The spring and summer of 2011 are marked by the upraise of citizens present in the squares and the street asking for a change in political life and distribution of resources, like the Indignados in Spain, the youth in the squares of Athens and many other movements in Europe.

Chapter 2

Recommendations to unlock the potential of decentralised cooperation

It is often the case that a very good idea for some reasons cannot unlock its full potential. Probably, Decentralised cooperation in development policies and programs is among these. In particular, its relevance for the Neighbourhood policies of Europe would even be more important for its capacities to link communities and to build bridges among different countries and regions. The relatively weak return or visibility of the cooperation activities promoted by cities and regions – either municipal international cooperation, or city-to-city cooperation – is more due to a lack of convinced investment and true support than because of the low potential of results of the action itself.

Decentralised cooperation has an extremely positive ratio between investment and impact, compared to numbers of enormous investments in development that we often witnessed with very little return (inconsistent consultancies, constructions industries and others big programmes which are not accompanied by an appropriate level of governance, which ends often in … nothing in terms of what is left in the partners countries).

Working with communities in a long-term participative and local approach, decentralised cooperation has a great potential for change and for reaching and impacting on citizens and institutions. The fact that, sometimes, it cannot reach the results expected is not due to the fact that the methods is wrong per se but it is due to the fact that it remains often underfunded and that the real support, including the political one, is not present enough in the medium and long term.

Europe can be a real leader in this perspective since it based its own development in local and regional empowerment. Decentralisation and participative democracy at the local level is an assumption of the EU project for development and growth and it can/should be the channel with which we address problem solving together with the rest of the world. Despite the difficult social and economic time in the EU, positive trends are visible in all communities where citizens are mobilised, educated and oriented towards problem solving. We←15 | 16→ should not be totally blind and look at our reality only through the lenses of fear and catastrophic approach, which is quite trendy these days. Community approach to problems and its added value is a characteristic of the EU members’ state governance and we should be ready to share it with our neighbours and pick up also all the good experiences coming from them. The process of empowerment of citizens and the community approach, especially at the local level, is irreversible1.

Problems and opportunities are often at the borders of Europe, South, East and in the Enlargement countries. Our work with them must be special and needs a particular investment and interest. The global issues of migration and security but also opportunities for future work and exchanges, put our relationship with our closest partners at the top of the agenda. We need harmonisation and a process of mutual benefit and we need to be ready to adapt ourselves basing our actions on respect and reciprocity.

Decentralised cooperation and city-to-city cooperation (or even better community-to-community cooperation) have this potential and it opens new horizons by putting development, sustainable and fair development for all, at the centre of its agenda.

After a long excursus presented here this publication, some recommendations emerge to policy-makers at the EU and national level.

Details

Pages
310
ISBN (PDF)
9782807606081
ISBN (ePUB)
9782807606098
ISBN (MOBI)
9782807606104
ISBN (Softcover)
9782807606074
Language
English
Publication date
2018 (October)
Published
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 310 p., 21 ill. color, 10 tables

Biographical notes

Antonella Valmorbida (Volume editor)

Antonella Valmorbida is a senior expert on local governance and participative democracy at the local level.  She developed and leads ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, since its creation in 1999. She is among the key experts in Europe that promote and implement programmes of participative democracy, local democracy and development. She has been engaged in South Eastern Europe and Eastern Europe since 1996. She manages a team of over 30 people and more, consultants and a network of 14 Local Democracy Agencies.   She is the Secretary General of ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, President of EPD (European Partnership for Democracy), coordinator of the Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration Reform of the Civil Society Forum for the Eastern Partnership. She is also involved in Concord, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development.

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