Decentralized cooperation. The emergence of local collectivities and authorities on the international scene

For five decades various impulses stemming from big institutions, NGO’s, and local communities and authorities have all contributed to the development of decentralized cooperation. This concept refers to various practices of fundamental importance, but all the actors that we have mentioned do not participate in the same way in bringing together peoples and in consolidating peace, democracy and development. Without underestimating the part played by the other actors of international solidarity, and for multiple reasons, local communities and authorities retain an undeniable legitimacy in the domains of administration and management of local and regional territories. In order to be truly efficient, cooperation between sub-state actors should thus rely on cooperation led at a local level. This local cooperation should involve the state as well as solidarity associations, trade-unions, universities, cooperatives and other consular institutions. Local communities and authorities should act as a coordinator and animator between these different actors. It is the only way to embed decentralized cooperation within the framework of public policies, which alone can guarantee territorial consistency, social cohesion an political sense. – Summary AFRI-2001