To be effective, development cooperation policies need to involve local and regional governments

Global partnership for effective development cooperation

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) is a multi-stakeholder platform to advance the effectiveness of development efforts by all actors, to deliver results that are long-lasting and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UCLG represents local and regional authorities in this Partnership.

In the margins of the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, the 15th Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation met on 21-22 April. Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener and Treasurer of UCLG, represented UCLG on this occasion.

Advancements for local and regional governments

During the last meeting of the High-Level Forum on Effective Development Cooperation, the Nairobi outcome document mentioned local and regional governments and their important role in development cooperation multiple times. The need to localize the 2030 Agenda was also mentioned, a great opening for further reiteration of this notion.

However, the monitoring exercise of development cooperation policies still does not include a role for local governments and in GPEDC’s communication materials local governments are often neglected. The member of the Steering Committee committed to involve more local governments in the future.

Challenges of the implementation and monitoring of the agendas

The Washington meeting discussed the updates and strategic guidance on implementation of the 2017-18 Work Programme, the launch of the 2018 Global Partnership Monitoring Round and a Global Advocacy and Outreach Strategy as well as the enhanced use of Global Partnership Initiatives (GPIs) to advance the Partnership’s Work Programme. 

As the sphere of government closest to the people, Berry Vrbanovic reminded that “local and regional governments have an acute awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing society”. Local governments have deep roots in the social, political and economic fabric of communities, which places them in the unique position to ensure the participation of all members of their communities and to design services that contribute to poverty reduction and the achievement of the global development agendas.

He also pointed out that “it is of crucial importance that national development strategies are developed in consultation with local governments and their representatives (through national associations) and in a participatory way, with all stakeholders involved, so that the needs and priorities of the population are taken into account

The Mayor of Kitchener further called upon donors, multilateral and bilateral financial institutions, central governments and international organizations active within the GPEDC to recognize and involve local and regional governments as fully-fledged and indispensable partners in the development, implementation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of development strategies.

The Steering Committee in Washington also discussed the importance of enhancing peer-to-peer learning in the near future, using particularly the wealth of city networks and their knowledge around the world.

Strengthen links with the localization process

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development creates a great  opportunity to better engage local and regional governments in effective  development: the achievement of many of the SDGs will depend on subnational governments and local stakeholders involvement.

Berry Vrbanovic made a plea for countries to define how global targets and indicators are going to be adapted to national strategies and policies. “Local and regional governments should be involved to inform the debate on how the national goals and targets can be also adapted to regional and local contexts, with a priority to lagging regions and cities”, he said.

In the coming months, UCLG will continue to contribute to the Global Partnership through its localisation actions, as well as through the Global Partnership Initiative 14 (GPIs). 

More information about GPI 14

GPIs are voluntary initiatives carried out by members of the GPEDC to contribute to one or more of the Busan principles for effective development. The GPIs are important instruments for the GPEDC.

In carrying GPI14, UCLG calls for a greater role of local and regional governments in effective development. The GPI is materialized by the creation of a policy brief on development effectiveness and local governments. Under GPI 14, a survey was conducted among Local Government Associations, which yielded 37 responses from 5 different continents. The 37 filled out questionnaires were analysed and 7 of which were selected for further, in-depth interviews (South Africa, Rwanda, Mali, Pakistan, The Philippines, Norway and El Salvador). The general analysis and case studies were bundled and the policy brief was presented to the UCLG constituency at the UCLG World Congress in Bogotá in October 2016 and to a broader audience at the Second High-Level Meeting in Nairobi.

GPI 14 is now renewed and expanded: The European Commission (EC) and the other strategic partners of the EC (UCLG Africa, CEMR-PLATFORMA, Commonwealth Local Government Forum and the International Association of Francophone Mayors) joined forces for a ‘local/regional governments initiative’, with the title ‘Shaping national development agendas: the role of local and regional governments in effective development’.

GPI 14 will continue strengthening the active involvement of local and regional governments in the definition, implementation and delivery of the SDGs at national and local levels by promoting a multi-stakeholder and multilevel approach to nurture a territorial approach to local development as a way to contribute to the global partnership and to the effective development agenda (contributing to SDG16 and SDG 17, among other SDGs)

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