The Development Partners Working Group on Decentralisation and Local Governance - DeLoG
DeLoG 9th Annual Meeting, SwedenThemed “Decentralisation & local governance: delivering development outcomes, strengthening democracy”, DeLoG held the ninth annual meeting in Visby, Gotland, Sweden, hosted by ICLD and SIDA. Around 40 participants from 21 member and partner organisations attended the meeting in the medieval heart of Visby. The meeting was running parallel to the Swedish week of Democracy ‘Almedalen’ with over 30.000 visitors and 3.000 events.
One of these events was the DeLoG open session depicting the role of the local level in the post 2015 agenda where panelists from SIDA (Stina Kaltrun), the Hunger Project Sweden (Sara Wettergren) and the Urban Institute (Jamie Boex) discussed around local democracy and poverty reduction. During other sessions, the upcoming study on “the local public sector’s role in achieving development goals.” was discussed as well as the ongoing global consultation on “localizing the post 2015 agenda.” Further thematic sessions discussed measuring the impact of decentralization reforms, decentralization in fragile environments, gender in DLG and new technologies to improve urban services. In addition, an open learn4dev meeting took place with the upcoming e-learning course and the new DeLoG Webinar Series. The annual meeting concluded with suggestions on DeLoG’s work-plan for the up-coming year
Regional Seminar on National Monitoring and Evaluation Systems of Decentralisation Reforms in francophone Africa
Seven francophone countries met from June 17-19 in Yaounde, Cameroun, to foster better understanding of the achievements and stumbling blocks linked to organisation, elaboration and utilisation of national M&E systems. DeLoG had conceptualized and initiated the seminar, organized by the GIZ Decentralization and Local Governance Programme (PADDEL) in Cameroon.
Government officials and decentralisation programs’ staff presented and discussed their respective M&E systems for decentralisation reforms. With decentralisation policies in place and legal frameworks adopted, experience exchange concentrated on challenges and risks encountered while elaborating and executing implementation mechanisms and packages of instruments. Practical steps for the way forward were designed for the respective countries.
Establishing national M&E systems is a long term undertaking. Development Partners’ support is necessary for ensuring technical input and resources. Effects of synergy, harmonization and alignment might lead to the dissolution of the significant number of competing parallel systems and approaches and therewith to economies of scale.
DeLoG sessions at the 7th World Urban Forum on 'Localising the post 2015 development agenda'
On the 4th day of the World Urban Forum, DeLoG organised two one-hour events discussing the role of local governments in achieving development goals. Jochen Mattern, the coordinator of the DeLoG Secretariat, facilitated the meetings. As an introduction to the sessions, Kodjo Mensa Abrahma from UNDP and Joe Hooper from UN-Habitat presented the upcoming UN-led consultations on the role of the local level in the MDG and post 2015 process. Further, Sara Hoeflich (UCLG) representing the Global Taskforce of Regional and Local Governments for post 2015 and towards Habitat III (GTF) explained that the GTF will be co-facilitating the consultation on localising the post 2015 agenda. She highlighted the strategic partnership between GTF and DeLoG through facilitating inputs and expertise.
In this regard, initial results of a DeLoG study on the role of the local public sector (LPS) in achieving development goals were presented. Over the last year, detailed data on the local public sector has been collected in 15 countries, including the amount of each country's decentralised spending on education and health. Jamie Boex from the Urban Institute, who is leading the study, revealed in his presentation a correlation between the amount of spending channeled through the local level and the improvement of education. Furthermore, the presentation showed a consistent negative correlation between local spending and health threats, i.e. the more public funds are spend at the local level, the fewer children under 5 die.
However, Mr. Boex underlined that, at the current point in time, it cannot be assured that these are causations and not mere correlations. To prove this, the analysis of more samples is necessary. It is envisaged to include data from additional 15 countries currently collected by DeLoG members. Final results are expected in summer 2014. The study will feed important empirical evidence into the work of the GTF and the above mentioned consultation process.
DeLoG Open Course in Vienna: Enhancing Development Effectiveness in Decentralisation and Local Governance (DLG)
As part of its joint learning efforts, DeLoG organised a 3-day open course on enhancing development effectiveness in decentralisation and local governance. Hosted by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) the course took place in Vienna from March 25th - 27th 2014.
33 participants from the headquarters and field offices of a variety of organisations, namely, ADA, Austria, Care Austria, the Institute of Advanced Studies Vienna, BMZ, GIZ, Sida, Sweden, UNICEF, SDC, Helvetas Switzerland, UNDP, VIDC and the NGO Horizont 3000, joined the course to discuss conceptual and practical issues revolving around the nexus between Aid Effectiveness & DLG.
Thematically, topics discussed included development effectiveness, sector decentralisation, systemic approaches as well as joint support options. Political economy and equitable, gender sensitive governance were focal themes throughout the whole course. A special regional focus was placed on South-East Europe. The course therewith provided an opportunity for practitioners working in the region to share their experiences, discuss challenges they face and identify possible solutions. Initial feedback suggested that participants especially valued the opportunity to get in contact with practitioners from other organisations working in their country or region as it may foster future collaborations.
Data collection for study on the local public sector's role in achieving development goals advances
In collaboration with the Urban Institute’s Local Public Sector Initiative, DeLoG has launched an ambitious cross-country research project in October 2013: The Local Public Sector's Role in Achieving Development Goals. While the local public sector (LPS) is increasingly recognised as crucial for improving public service delivery, empirical evidence linking decentralisation to improved development outcomes is rather erratic. DeLoG aims to bridge this knowledge gap by engaging in an empirical stock-taking exercise on the local public sector's role in achieving development goals. In collaboration with France, GIZ, SDC, UNDP, UNCDF, and other development partners, detailed information is being collected about the role of local governments in the delivery of public health and education services in 40 countries. For this purpose a standardised LPS Country Survey was developed. Initial findings from the data collected so far suggest that better sectoral development progress is made in countries where a greater share of resources is spend at the local level in either a devolved or deconcentrated manner. In contrast, when local public services are funded directly by central governments, it appears that there are no associated improvements in development outcomes. Initial findings of the study therewith form an evidentiary starting point to promote the more prominent inclusion of local governments in development interventions.