Strengthen the recognition of a systematic role of LRA in future EU development policy
EP report highlights the important role of LRA in development cooperation:
54. Would like the Agenda for Change to specify the important and independent role of regional and local authorities and civil society, not only in implementing development programmes and projects, but also as fundamental players in the process of developing evidence-based development policies; highlights the importance of improving cooperation with them and calls for regular dialogue and consultations with them in policy-making; in this regard, underlines the importance of establishing dialogue between the EU and civil society organisations and regional and local authorities;
The European Commission recalled some of the key points reiterated by the opinion of the Committee of the Regions in the 48th follow-up report, such as:
The creation within DG DEVCO of a unit specifically in charge of civil society and local authorities is contributing to improve collaboration activities undertaken by the Commission and the CoR. This unit will also be the contact point for local authorities within the DG. Within the EU delegations there is usually a contact person or focal point in charge of following up the NSA-LA thematic programme and responsible as well for following country developments in relation to civil society and local authorities, including during the programming process.
Based on the results of the Structured Dialogue (SD) led in 2011 by the European Commission with civil society organisations and local authorities, the Commission is setting up a space for dialogue with European and partner countries' civil society organisations (CSOs) and Local Authorities (LA), a Policy Forum on Development, that will provide a swift mechanism for ad hoc consultations with CSOs and LAs, linked to the launch of new programmes, policies and initiatives
On December 2011, the Commission issued its proposals for future financial instruments in which a thematic programme "Civil society organisations and local authorities" is foreseen.
Local authorities should also be possible eligible beneficiaries of the other DCI thematic programme "Global public goods and challenges" and of regional programmes.
Following the adoption of the Agenda for Change, the Commission is currently defining how to promote an enhanced engagement with the private sector for sustainable and inclusive growth in the current and future programming. In particular, alongside continued efforts to address local capacity constraints, the EU will seek to increase support through the EU blending mechanisms, strengthen public private dialogue, facilitate public-private partnerships for the delivery of goods and services and catalyse development partnerships with the private sector.
A specific unit in charge of local authorities was created in the new DG DEVCO organogram organization chart and which will be the contact point for local authorities within the DG. Within the EU Delegation delegations there is usually a contact person or focal point in charge of following up the NSA-LA thematic programme and responsible as well for following country developments in relation to civil society and local authorities, including during the programming process.
In line with the CoR's call to distinguish between civil society and local and regional authorities' role in development, the European Commission has renounced to its initial idea to propose a common communication for Civil Society and Local Authorities as actors for development, and has distinguished the two by addressing them in two separate Communications (the one on Local Authorities is expected at the end of April 2013);
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- shares the Commission's political will to continue to lead the fight against poverty in the world, particularly by contributing to the achievement of the MDGs, despite the economic, social and financial crisis;
- agrees with the Commission that, although the EU has made a major contribution to MDG achievement, there is still a long way to go, and this means rethinking the future of EU development policy;
- calls once again for the review of EU development policy and the European Consensus to emphasise the place, role and added value of regional and local authorities in these areas and policies; the CoR will continue to work closely with the Commission, increasing the use of tools such as the "Atlas of Decentralised Cooperation" and the web portal and helping to organise the annual conference on decentralised cooperation;
- calls for RLAs to be recognised as playing a more central, differentiated role in EU development policy, both because of their political expertise in areas such as devolution of powers, strengthening institutions and local governance, and because of the substantial added value that they can bring to third countries in these fields and in key sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, which are important when it comes to the initiatives the EU intends to support relating to food security;
- agrees with the Commission that the EU should continue to recognise the particular importance of supporting development in its own neighbourhood and in Sub Saharan Africa, and therefore calls for the potential of the ARLEM and the CORLEAP to be taken into consideration