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The Atlas of Decentralised Cooperation for Development is a tool to monitor Local and Regional Authorities' (LRA) development cooperation and to inform stakeholders, including policy makers and practitioners, about these decentralised cooperation activities. As a coordination instrument, it is helping to make aid more efficient and effective.

"Decentralised cooperation" is a dynamic and complex phenomenon which needs to be better known. In its communication, entitled "Local Authorities: Actors for Development", published on 8 October 2008, the European Commission underlined the specific added-value which local and regional authorities bring to the development processes. In particular, as stressed by the CoR opinion, LRA can deliver forms of aid that are closely adapted to the needs of local communities, and can support and strengthen the capacity of their counterparts in developing countries.

The Atlas provides a response to the lack of information on LRA's development cooperation and helps to identify areas of fragmentation, gaps or duplication of activities. By supporting efforts to mobilise the various stakeholders to work together, it offers a new tool for all stakeholders, from both developed and developing countries, enabling them to take better informed decisions before embarking on new cooperation activities.

What is the Atlas?

The Atlas includes both a database and a series of interactive cartographic maps showing cooperation activities funded and/or carried out by LRA.

  • The database contains detailed information about LRA's development projects. By using the customised query, all registered users can select and extract data from the database.
  • The interactive maps provide the main facts and figures on decentralised cooperation activities and present clearly who is doing what where, both from the EU side and from the developing countries' point of view.

The Atlas will provide a clear picture of decentralised cooperation activities in terms of their relative importance, geographical focus and sectoral breakdown, which will help to make cooperation activities more cohesive and better balanced.

How does it work?

In practice, all Local and Regional Authorities in the EU can register to take part in the Atlas and declare the details of their development projects using an online standard form. The information contained in these declarations will then be transferred to a database and represented in a series of maps illustrated in an attractive and accessible way.

Essentially, the Atlas is based on an EU LRA self electronic-filing process. To participate and contribute to this common tool, LRAs just have to register.

CoR and EC roles

As a shared tool of the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission, the initial project was financed by the European Commission and it is run and maintained by the Committee of the Regions. The two partners will also make a substantial contribution to providing information and contents for the Atlas and promoting its use.