State, local governance and regional integration
Today, the local levels of public action are extending around the decentralisation, deconcentration and regional integration processes.
Local governance is aimed at establishing public authorities that are closer to citizens, restoring legitimacy to public institutions in environments where the local level is often that where there is a sense of social belonging, conducive to the creation of public places for dialogue. When closely connected with the populations, the local authorities can respond to them with well-tailored policies, in particular in the field of public services and trigger a local economic dynamic capable of contributing to the revitalisation of national development. Ht Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs supports the complementary processes of decentralisation and deconcentration, so as to boost consistency between the action of the State and the local authorities in favour of development.
Alongside this, regional integration processes are developing, hence enabling the States to combine their institutional and human resources in key structural fields, as well as demand their rights at the international level. The regional setting is also seen as a source of “leverage” for reforms, sometimes difficult to apply at the national level and a local level suited to implementing certain sector-specific strategies (transport, energy, food safety, etc.) that are necessary to the fight against poverty. Such forms of cooperation are, moreover, a factor for stability and conflict prevention between States.
At the same time, interdependence between the regional levels makes shared skills management a necessity. Consideration for local dynamics is one of the keys to achieving well-suited and effective sector-specific policies at the national level. The aim is to combine national policies and the objectives of the local authorities with a view toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Likewise, the involvement of local players strengthens the regional integration process, in particular in cross-border regions. Such full-fledged subsidiarity can only be implemented with the cooperation of the States which, while seeing their functions and structures change, still maintain their legitimacy as protectors of fundamental principles, public freedoms and guarantors of regional cohesion.
With this view toward the territorialisation of public action, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs works to renew the sustainable planning policies of territories in Southern countries. With decentralisation, such policies have become a skill shared between the State and the local authorities. The need for a shared forward-looking view of territorial development in the medium- and long-term becomes vital. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs supports stronger players and the development of tools that will enable them to define, on their own, at the sub-regional and regional levels, their priorities as regards infrastructure location and “territorial projects”.