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Why EU must guarantee funding for local, regional governments in post-2020 development policy

2 December 2019

Member states must strongly support the proposal of the European Parliament to add a budget line for local authorities to tackle global challenges, including through their decentralised cooperation, writes Marlène Siméon [in an opinion published on 27 November on EURACTIV.COM].

Marlène Siméon is the director of PLATFORMA, a network of local and regional governments and their national, European and global associations that engage in international cooperation for sustainable development.

There is no doubt: local and regional governments will be the ones implementing the global sustainability agendas. And the message is clear: we need a strong role for local and regional governments, as key partners of the European Union, to ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Europe and in partner countries.

This is what PLATFORMA has been calling for in recent months, asking for an ambitious European budget for development cooperation in the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF).

Why? Because the localisation of the SDGs requires an inclusive and integrated territorial approach which mobilises stakeholders and citizens in the territories. Sub-national governments should play a coordinating role and encourage other levels of government and civil society to work in partnership.

The mandate of towns and regions is distinct and complementary to that of central governments and civil society organisations. All kinds of efforts, using all levers of action, will be needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Last month, the European Parliament, Council and Commission began negotiations on the next Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) for 2021-2027, the main tool by which the EU finances international cooperation. Member states must strongly support the Parliament’s proposal of adding a budget line for local governments to tackle global challenges through decentralised cooperation.

On the positive side, the legislative proposal would support local authority platforms to participate in the EU’s DEAR programme, which aims to inform EU citizens about development issues and mobilise the general public.

In addition, local and regional governments are mentioned as partners to be consulted for the programming of geographic programmes and city twinning is recognised as a method of cooperation with partner countries.

[Read the full opinion on EURACTIV.COM]