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Decentralisation and Local Governance

Introduction

The local level is now considered crucial to the success of development policies. As the actual arena for the populations’ living conditions, it makes it possible to take into consideration the variety of issues connected with public action, at the crossroads between the exercise of democracy, the public services offering and economic progress. It is the place where democracy, the Rule of Law and development are played out on an everyday basis, and is the most appropriate level for cooperation between the various fields and players involved in this aim.

At a time when the place of the State is sometimes challenged, we are seeing development in local public action, in particular around the decentralisation processes, which have led, in many countries, to the institution of a new institutional framework. Decentralisation is a significant opportunity to return legitimacy to public action through the implementation of institutions that are closer to the citizens, fostering their participation in public activities and pushing the authorities toward greater acceptance of accountability for their actions. It also makes it possible to implement a policy suited to the populations’ needs, in particular in terms of essential services and to trigger an economic dynamic capable of stimulating national development.

French Cooperation, which gives prime importance to the local level in its inter-ministerial governance strategy adopted in 2006, supports the decentralisation processes and local governance, as well as capacity-building for local players in all of its programmes.

Updated on : 15.10.09

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