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Supporting decentralisation and local governance in third countries

This page is also available in: French

January 2007

Bossuyt, J., Hauck, V., Keijzer, N. 2007. Supporting decentralisation and local governance in third countries. (Tools and Methods Series - Reference Document No. 2). Brussels: European Commission.

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This Reference document seeks to provide strategic and operational guidance on

  1. how best to support processes of decentralisation and local governance in third countries
  2. how to ensure that EC support to sector policies (eg in health, education, water & sanitation)take into account and reinforce ongoing decentralisation processes.

The reference document is intended for EC staff in Delegations and Headquarters, national partners and donor agencies working and supporting decentralisation processes and local governance.

The European Commission (EC), much like other donor agencies, is providing growing levels of funds to support decentralisation and local governance in many parts of the world. Yet this is still a relatively new area of work for the European Commission. Not surprisingly, staff involved in direct or indirect support to decentralisation and local governance, struggle with many thorny ‘how to’ questions

To respond to this need, the European Commission took the initiative to produce a Reference Document that should serve as a practical tool to help EC staff to better understand the ‘politics’ of decentralisation and local governance processes; to support the formulation and implementation of nationally and locally owned decentralisation policies; and to improve the coherence between the sector support being provided by the European Commission and ongoing decentralisation processes.


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Download (PDF, 1.1MB)


 Photo: Courtesy by Monash University

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African institutionsEU Development Policy and PracticeContributing DocumentDecentralisationEuropean Commission (EC)GovernanceEurope

External authors

Niels Keijzer