France | First call for projects in support of decentralised cooperation in the field of local finances
The Delegation for the external action of local governments (DAECT) of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) are launching the first call for projects in support of decentralised cooperation in the field of local finances to speed up the implementation of the SDGs. This call for projects aims to support joint initiatives by French and foreign local governments to improve local authorities’ capacity to manage local finances.
The urgency and intensification of global challenges call for a paradigm shift and resolute mobilisation of all development players, particularly local governments. When they have the legal and financial leeway to act, local and regional authorities are in the best position to respond to the needs of populations and to the necessary ecological and energy transition of territories. The work carried out by UCLG and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as part of the Global Observatory on Local Government Finance and Investment shows that decentralisation, particularly fiscal decentralisation, makes it possible to provide public services more efficiently.
However, most of the financing systems currently in place at national and international level do not sufficiently mobilise local and regional authorities, which face a series of constraints. There is sometimes irregularity, unpredictability and dependence on transfers and grants from the State, which in 2020 and on average for 135 countries, accounted for 51.5% of local governments’ revenues. Lack of financial means and budgetary flexibility, limited human resources, lack of recognition and institutional autonomy, and limited access to capital markets are all factors that hamper local authorities’ ability to act. As a result, local and regional governments need better support and guidance if they are to make better use of their resources and gain access to new funding opportunities, thereby making a greater contribution to the implementation of the SDGs.
For several decades now, decentralised cooperation has complemented the development and solidarity policies implemented by governments, by providing practical solutions that have effect directly on the ground with local populations. With just over 10,000 cooperation projects involving almost 5,000 French local governments, until now there has been no cooperation in the field of local finance. This initiative aims to fill this gap and give local authorities an opportunity to strengthen their resources and means of action by learning from their peers. By focusing more decentralised cooperation initiatives on actions linked to local finance, local authorities are helping to structurally strengthen the scope for action of their partner authorities. Deeply rooted in the principles of solidarity, reciprocity, mutual understanding and the exchange of knowledge, decentralised cooperation is a powerful tool for practitioners in all countries.
Support in the search for co-financing, diversification of financial resources, strengthening of the technical capacities of local administrations, monitoring and management of expenditure, creation of new revenue streams, support for the setting up of local observatories or deployment of information and measurement systems for investment flows are just some of the areas of work that can be set up and financially supported through this call for projects. All French local governments and their partners around the world are invited to explore this new funding opportunity for their cooperation initiatives to work towards strengthening their local finances.
All information are available on the website of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
The call for projects ends on 14 September 2023.