What Role for Local Authorities in Decentralised Cooperation under the Convention of Lomé?
The European Commission (EC) intends to make decentralised cooperation a major component of future relations between the European Union (EU) and countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). In this article, the author criticizes the fact that the EU use of the concept of decentralised cooperation treats local governments as if they are non-governmental organisations. To do so is erroneous because of fundamental, constitutional reasons (it undermines the ability of government to govern) and because of field experience (the expansion of NGO activity has certain negative side-effects). The author argues that the role of government as ‘dramatist’ of development should be recognised and that, when local government is too weak to play this role, priority should be given to institutional strengthening. Two examples of successful decentralised development cooperation involving local government are described. The article concludes with recommendations to strengthen the role of local government in decentralised cooperation. Read Discussion Paper 8: