15-16 JUNE 2016 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Territorial approach in post-2015: Political views

<p>The Millennium Development Goal framework has facilitated important improvements, in which local and regional authorities (LRAs) have played an essential role, recognised internationally in the Busan Declaration and in the Rio+20 outcome document. This recognition is based on the participation of LRAs, both in shaping and implementing development policy, resulting in valuable contributions towards good governance, sustainable development and inclusive growth.</p> <p>The United Nations High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has confirmed that the role of LRAs in the post-2015 agenda is determinant on setting priorities, executing plans, monitoring results, delivering basic public services, amongst others. To succeed, LRAs need to be involved in policies by national governments and international donors, working with a multilevel approach that ensures ownership at all levels of government and the capacities, competences and resources for a fruitful performance in development and in cooperation for development.</p>
Lab 3
Session type: 
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 -
11:00 to 12:15
Key Points: 
  • The paradigm for development cooperation needs to be changed.
  • Local authorities are closest to the people.
  • Local authorities are a way to bypass corruption.
  • We should no longer preach at or teach developing countries, but should learn from each other.



The UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda has defined a key role for local and regional authorities (LRAs) in setting priorities in future development policy, executing plans, monitoring results and delivering basic public services.

For this to be successful, LRAs need to be involved in policymaking by national governments and international donors. They also need the capacity and resources to be able to perform effectively.

Mr. Joan Carles Garcia Cañizares, Councillor for the Presidency, Barcelona Provincial Council, Spain, fully supported this approach and stated that money is spent more effectively at the regional level than by central government. ‘We know what our citizens need and what they will want for the future. We need to change the paradigm for cooperation. We should not just be teaching, but learning. It is not for us to go to Africa and show them what to do. We have to offer them our experience. It needs to be a two way process. We can learn as well.’

He added that this new paradigm is committed to sustainability and reciprocal impacts. ‘In this light, our Office of Cooperation for Development has launched 144 actions, among them the Local Med platform. We are actively engaged in several networks and organisations focused on positioning local governments on the international agenda, such as Arco Latino, Platforma or United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG),’ he said.

Giovanni Camilleri, International Coordination, Articulation of Territorial and Thematic Networks of Cooperation for Human Development Initiative – ART, United Nations Development Programme – UNDP, stressed that the territorial approach allows LRAs to be a policy driver. The multilevel approach is the right way to take decisions.

Angelo Baglio, Head of Unit, Civil Society and Local authorities at the European Commission's Directorate General for Development and Cooperation, explained that the Commission supports the idea of empowered local authorities that are able to participate in and contribute to development processes of their country.

In May 2013, the Commission adopted the Communication, Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes. The Communication emphasises participatory decision-making related to sustainable development and inclusive growth. It aims to reinforce local political processes and transparency and boost democratic ownership of development processes.

Mercedes Bresso,Conseiller Région Piémont, First Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions, emphasised that for local governments to be able to participate they need know-how and adequate resources. There must be institutional capability at the local level. No one-size-fits-all, and goals and means have to be specific and set differently within countries. The agenda must have local roots.

The decentralised forms of development cooperation between local and regional authorities in Europe and the South have an important role to play in making development issues more concrete and tangible for citizens in Europe, and for ensuring that development cooperation responds to real needs that are identified at the local level.

Eva Joly, President of the European Parliament’s Development Committee, criticised the top-down process that led to the approval of the UN Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals 13 years ago. ‘This time, we believe that the UN and international community are following a different approach,’ she said. ‘They are trying to find an enlarged consensus and improve the prospects of the most vulnerable. Citizens, NGOs and local and regional governments are deeply engaged in the construction of an inclusive sustainable development model.’

Joly added, ‘We need links between our LRAs in Europe and those in the countries we want help. All these goals will not be possible unless we commit ourselves to improve a more coherent approach at national and sub-national levels.’

Another good reason for working at the local level, she stressed, is that you can bypass corruption. People at the grassroots have a direct interest in seeing that a school they are promised is actually built.


Local authorities are best placed to know what people want now and what they will want in the future.

  • Post-2015 agenda

    The eradication of poverty and ensuring that prosperity and wellbeing are sustainable are two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. These challenges are universal, interrelated and need to be addressed together by all countries.

    The European Union (EU) is involved in global discussions on the development agenda after 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – placing particular emphasis on building towards an intensive exchange with non-state actors.

    Public consultations, dialogue with strategic partners and wide-ranging research have fed into the EU position on an overarching framework. Through its February 2013 Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’ and the ensuing Council Conclusions, the EU states five building blocks for a post-2015 agenda:

    • Basic, universal living standards under which no-one should fall. Even if all MDGs are reached, much unfinished business will remain to eradicate poverty and further human development.
    • The promotion of ‘drivers’ of inclusive, sustainable growth. Investing in infrastructure or energy, for example, creates growth and decent jobs, whilst boosting human development.
    • Sustainable management of natural resources. This is vital if we are to halt environmental degradation.
    • Equality, equity and justice. Not only are these values in themselves, but also fundamental for sustainable development.
    • Tackling insecurity and state fragility, which impede sustainable development.

    Several international processes relevant to the post-2015 agenda are ongoing. Commitments made at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 initiated work to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda recently published its recommendations for the post-2015 agenda; and a broad United Nations-led consultation process is ongoing. Recently, the UN Secretary-General published his report ‘A life of dignity for all’, which builds on these inputs. In addition, an MDG Special Event will take place in New York, USA on 25 September, which will also give recommendations on the way forward towards a post-2015 agreement. 

    This work will provide further impetus for the development of a framework that would offer a coherent and comprehensive response to the universal challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

    Against this backdrop, the eighth edition of European Development Days will discuss, debate and foster consensus on the EU’s objective to set a globally-agreed, ambitious framework that addresses poverty eradication and sustainable development, and ensures a decent life for all by 2030.

    Under the thread of this year’s edition – ‘A vision for the post-2015 agenda’this year’s forum is structured around four themes. Each theme will be composed of three topics and each topic will be highlighted by an auditorium panel and a series of lab sessions.