The Basque Country identifies challenges and potential of decentralised cooperation in light of new global demands

13 March 2020

Highlighting decentralised development cooperation and reflecting on its differential contribution, the present and the challenges we face in a more complex and diverse international context, was the aim of the conference “Decentralised cooperation for development: a local and regional vision in the face of global challenges” held in Bilbao on February 19 and 20, 2020.

The conference brought together the main agents of decentralised cooperation from the State and other European and international representatives, including PLATFORMA.

Decentralised cooperation has more than 30 years of history, thanks to the collaboration between public institutions and social organisations. During this time, the lives and views of many people and communities on decentralised cooperation have been transformed and many lessons have been generated. Likewise, alliances and relationships have been built with other entities and sub-state experiences with which it has always been enriching to share opinions and reflect together.

Offering differential value

In recent times, international institutions are explicitly recognising the potential of decentralised cooperation to offer differential value with respect to the practices of state actors and multilateral programmes. In the current international context marked by the existence of various international development agendas — particularly the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Conferences of Parties on Climate Change and the New Urban Agenda—, decentralised development cooperation finds new opportunities to renew and reinforce their approaches, their practices and their results.

During the conference, the sessions served to identify the elements that give an added value to decentralised cooperation: its closeness to citizens; its adaptability to different realities; its ability to respond to social demands and needs; its emphasis in favor of raising awareness and generating a critical and committed citizenship; and its experience and contribution to a holistic view of the territory.

Maintaining the criteria of solidarity, closeness & efficiency

However, all these strengths have to adapt to the new demands raised by global challenges. In this sense, incorporating new agents in the field of cooperation while maintaining the criteria of solidarity, closeness, efficiency and holistic understanding of the territory is one of the challenges that municipalities and regional entities are already facing. Another challenge is to further develop one of the characteristics of this cooperation, such as the exchange of experiences and learning with greater policy coherence. This policy coherence is to be included when carrying out actions both at the internal policy level of the institutions, during their work in third countries, as well as its impact on other generations. Each participant could returned to his daily task with some proposals on how to face these challenges, as well as with contacts and connections to continue working.

This conference is organised by “Euskadi – Basque Country” Consortium, partner of PLATFORMA. This consortium includes the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (Basque Government) and Euskal Fondoa (Basque Local Authorities Cooperation Fund).

For more information on these sessions, we invite you to consult the website of the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation.

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