Strengthening decentralised cooperation
In 2006 an initial document entitled Orientations for Decentralised Cooperationwas drafted, upon the initiative of the Prime Minister, which was subsequently brought to the attention of the associations of local elected officials represented in the National Commission of Decentralised Cooperation (CNCD in its French initials). Among other functions, the CNCD helps bolster decentralised cooperation, providing a forum where the associations of local authorities and the administrations of the State can meet on an equal footing.
Guyane, mairie de Cayenne. (Photo : MAEE/ F. de La Mure)
France’s elected officials welcomed this effort to clarify the State’s strategies, especially in terms of priority concerns and geography, so that they could freely conduct convergent or complementary initiatives.
The growing role of local authorities in the face of global challenges
Given the growing importance accorded to partnerships these days in the face of global challenges, it is pleasing to see the increasing role of local authorities, in the North and in the South, and the need to establish renewed partnerships, not only with emerging countries but also with France’s long-established interlocutors in Africa, around the Mediterranean rim, in the French-speaking world and in areas neighbouring our French overseas local authorities.
It was in light of these developments that the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) created a Directorate General for Global Affairs, Development and Partnerships (DGM in French). Attached to this is the Local Authorities International Activities Delegation (known as the DAECT) which is home to the CNCD’s Secretariat.
These orientations have been the subject of broad consultation within the CNCD at the State level (via the Ministers concerned; the French Development Agency, AFD; and the French Institute) as well as through the national representative associations of local authorities (Association of French Mayors, Regions of France, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the French Départements Assembly and Cités Unies France).
What is decentralised cooperation ?
France is considered a pioneer when it comes to international activities by local authorities:
• Decentralised cooperation covers the whole gamut of international cooperation activities undertaken by local authorities: twinning, twinning-cooperation, development projects, technical exchanges, economic promotion operations (private sector start-up assistance, support for economic stakeholders, micro-credits, etc.).
• Since it is an effective and relevant instrument, decentralised cooperation mobilises all kinds of local bodies, who have much experience in local management of collective public services. Local authorities can offer significant technical and methodological support to their partners while involving all the various stakeholders operating locally (networks of associations, professional bodies, hospitals, etc.).
Updated on September 2010