Discussing innovative approaches to enhance effectiveness and impact of decentralized cooperation

May 21, 2013

As part of UNDP’s ongoing support to Local and Regional Governments (LRGs) and Decentralized Cooperation, on May 15th the ART Initiative organized a working session in Brussels with a number of leading European regions and cities in order to discuss innovative approaches to Decentralized Cooperation in the context of the new initiative Horizontal Innovative Partnerships (HIPs). The HIPs is a pilot initiative aiming to increase the effectiveness and impact of European Decentralized Cooperation to advance sustainable human development in partner countries, responding to the development demands identified through participatory and inclusive dialogues at local level.

The objective of the working session was to exchange forward-thinking on how to increase the effectiveness and impact of European Decentralized Cooperation to advance sustainable human development. Among the participating institutions were the cities of Barcelona, Marseille, Milan, Turin and Stuttgart, as well as the regions of the Basque Country, Lombardy and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA).

The discussions highlighted that European LRGs count with a wealth of expertise and excellences on issues related to governance and local development. This represents an enormous capital to be shared with their Southern counterparts through Decentralized Cooperation, under a logic of horizontal and win-win relations for mutual development.

The exchanges raised key issues in order to enhance the effectiveness and impact of Decentralized Cooperation. These included the need to improve the harmonization among European LRGs to avoid fragmentation and duplication of actions, as well as the importance of multilevel governance for coherence among local, intermediate, national and international levels. The concept of territorial approach to development was also stressed, with LRGs acting as locomotives to mobilize other relevant stakeholders of their territories, particularly the private sector and academia, to develop relations with their counterparts in partner countries.

Participants concluded that local practice can and should inform the global debates and that the joint work of Decentralized Cooperation and the multilateral framework is an innovative cooperation modality to be considered in the post-Busan and post-2015 development architecture given its impact in advancing sustainable human development.