15-16 JUNE 2016 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Territorial approach in post-2015: Views from the field

<p>The role of local and regional authorities (LRAs) as key drivers of development has been affirmed during the acceleration of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. This underlines the importance of bringing the perspectives of LRAs to the debate on the renewed global development agenda.</p> <p>The post-2015 development agenda will have to overcome the complexity of involving a multiplicity of stakeholders and different levels of government into a common framework, as their interaction is key for the effective definition and implementation of socio-economic development strategies.</p> <p>It is therefore an appropriate time to learn lessons from the current MDG framework and discuss the operational features that the post-2015 framework should have to make the most of the capacities of LRAs in advancing progress towards all development goals. Particularly relevant is the assessment on how national governments and multilateral organisations can better support LRAs in their efforts to promote sustainable development and good governance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Lab 3
Session type: 
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 -
12:45 to 14:00
Key Points: 
  • Decentralisation can deliver sustainable growth in the post-2015 development agenda when all partners share strategies.
  • The gains of a decentralised approach to development can create a virtuous circle of opportunity providing staff at a local level with the tools and experience to lead and control budgets.
  • Central and local authorities need clarity of individual responsibilities to ensure the focus remains on effective delivery.
  • Think big – diverse partners from around the world can unite under common goals and projects can develop way beyond their original scope to help lift people out of poverty.    



Decentralisation and local governance deeply embedded at the heart of development projects are important to ensuring sustainable goals are met. However, the view from those actively engaged in projects is that it requires all members of the international territorial partnership to share common goals.

With the post-2015 agenda now looking at fresh ways to deliver on the universal goals of development and poverty eradication, the experiences of local and regional authorities as key drivers for change will become crucial to the debate.

But how well are they doing?

Youssef Geha, a representative of the Local Economic Development Agency, in Bekaa, an important farming region in Lebanon, said the strength among stakeholders, including the regional cooperative, trade unions and local chamber of commerce, was in their willingness to hold discussions with each other.

Geha admitted that while it was initially a challenge to bring the entities together, the work of the group was beginning to bear fruit, helping the development of an embryonic winemaking industry involving 11 villages in the region.

Working with the Chamber of Agriculture in Oise, northern France, a cooperative of farmers in Bekaa is now selling grapes for winemaking. Looking to the future, the Atlas non-governmental agency and Italian partners are now working with farmers and development workers on a plan to establish the region as a producer of quality organic foodstuffs.

‘This is very important to the region,’ said Geha, who highlighted the potential for increased job opportunities and sustained growth in a region already facing pressures stemming from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Director, URB-AL III Programme, Association for Social Development – ADESO, Héctor Navarro, a specialist in planning and international cooperation, described the Tourist Borders (Fronteras Touristicas) project. The project focuses on heritage tourism in the borderlands between Bolivia and Argentina-Bolivia-Peru, where 40 % of people live below the poverty line. Fronteras Touristicas is now working because of the shared aims among all partners, led by mayors and local authorities and based on trust.

The numbers are impressive. More than 9,000 people have benefited from the project, 750 entrepreneurs have acquired new skills in tourism and 170 non-state service providers have formed the management structure to deliver change.

Christophe Rouillon, Mayor of Coulaines, France, said a water supply project in the regional community of Kouré, Niger, is now benefiting from a decentralised approach that involved the local community in maintaining the facilities and identifying future growth. It is also responsible for creating a ‘virtuous circle’ of sustainable development and good governance, he added.

A note of caution was sounded by Claudia Serrano, Executive Director, Latin American Centre for Rural Development, who said such decentralised projects could only achieve complete success if central governments are willing to cede control of funding streams to their local partners and if those on all sides recognised their individual responsibilities.

‘If there is no fairness about what they have to do, they can’t do it,’ she added.


‘We need real involvement of local and regional governments in the post-2015 agenda. Too many times in the development of the Millennium Development Goals all of the relationships were with national governments and they didn’t have a local approach.' Paul Ortega, Director, Basque Agency for Development Cooperation, Spain

  • 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.