Course Introduction:

In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, these global goals need to be translated into local realities. Moreover, all of the SDGs include targets that have direct linkages with the responsibilities of subnational governments. It’s therefore vital for local development practitioners to understand what these roles and responsibilities are and what resources and capacities subnational governments need to be able to adapt the SDGs to local priorities and create context-specific implementation strategies. This intensive one-week course offers a broad set of insights, skills, approaches and good practices to help localise the SDGs and empower citizens and their subnational governments in different contexts.

Course Content

During this Summercourse from 1 to 5 July 2019, participants will discuss how donor and development agencies can support a multilevel governance approach to deal with future development challenges. The course consists of several modules:

  • What are the latest insights and recent lessons in decentralisation and sustainable local development? We will explore the potential of local governance in realising sustainable development while taking into account the political economy of decentralisation reforms.
  • Inter-governmental (fiscal) relations and local service delivery in different country contexts address different (fiscal) support modalities.
  • We will discuss strategies and instruments for empowering local authorities. A new tool for local government capacity development will be introduced. We will explore the capacity of local authorities to design strategies, deliver and manage services, increase transparency and accountability and successfully engage with other tiers of government, civil society and the private sector.

Participants who successfully finish the course will receive a professional certificate of completion from The Hague Academy for Local Governance.


This course will involve notable international experts with extensive experience in localising the SDGs, territorial development and local governance. They will share insights and lessons learnt, and explore case studies from various country contexts.

Jorge Rodriguez Bilbao

Jorge has extensive experience with policy, conceptual and operational work in territorial development, local governance, decentralisation and sector policies in decentralising countries and has authored numerous publications about these topics. He provides technical support and training to EU-delegations in translating the EU-policy on local authorities and territorial development into programmes and projects in developing countries.

Jamie Boex
Jamie is a renowned public finance expert with extensive experience in decentralisation and fiscal policy reforms in developing and transition countries around the world. Working with organisations such as the World Bank, UNDP, USAID, and numerous other bilateral development agencies, Dr. Boex has contributed to policy reforms in a.o Afghanistan, Cambodia, Georgia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and Uganda. He is currently involved in the reform processes in Nepal, Kenya and Egypt as well as in research on local governance in the USA. Jamie has authored and contributed to numerous books, reports an research articles.

Jean Bossuyt
Jean is head of strategy at the European Centre for Development Policy Management. He is an author of various EU-publications on decentralisation and local development. Focusing on ACP-EU cooperation, he has been involved in policy and practical work on issues related to democratisation and governance, political economy analysis, civil society participation, decentralisation, EU cooperation policies and reform processes.

Ellen van Reesch
Ellen is an independent advisor in the field of sustainable (local) development and associate expert of VNG International, the international cooperation agency of the Dutch association of municipalities. She is closely involved with VNG’s work on the SDGs, both in the Netherlands and through international municipal cooperation. From 1997 to 2015, Ellen worked as a civil servant and diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a focus on international development, notably the areas of (economic) governance and decentralisation, sector reform and aid effectiveness, poverty reduction and human security. Ellen will discuss the experience of ‘localizing the SDGs’ in the Netherlands and present issues, dilemma’s and results relevant for cross-country comparison.

Past Participants

This course is designed for donor and development professionals. Past participants have represented the UN Department of Political Affairs; the World Bank; UNDP; Oxfam Novib; GIZ; African Development Bank; USAID; the Swiss Development Cooperation; Mercy Corps; and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Practical information

The course fee is € 2.450,-. This includes all training-related costs, as well as drinks, lunches, training materials and travel during the training programme. Travel to and from The Hague and accommodation are not included. Group discounts are available if you participate with three or more colleagues in this course. Email us for more information. The course language is English.

For questions or more information about this course, please direct your inquiry to the Programme Manager, Gerald Kweri at or call +31(70) 37 38 695.

Funding Opportunities

Participants in our courses are predominantly funded by their own employer (municipalities, Ministries, NGOs and training or research institutes) or by a donor or development agency. If you are looking for additional funding opportunities, there are a few organisations you could approach.

Application Deadline

The 2019 Summercourse: Decentralisation & the SDGs course will take place in The Hague from 1 to 5 July 2019. Applications are due on 24 May 2019. Incomplete applications will be neither accepted nor considered in the selection process.


After submitting your completed application, you will receive a confirmation of your course registration and an invoice. The payment deadline is 4-weeks before the start of the training course.

Payments can be made by bank transfer or by PayPal. We offer the option of paying in one or two installments. An advance payment of 50% secures reservation of a seat to the training until the payment deadline. However, your participation in the course is guaranteed only after receipt of full payment prior to the 4-week deadline.

If no payment is received before that deadline, then your registration will automatically be canceled. Please note that The Hague Academy accepts registrations on a first pay, first-served policy.

Visa Applications

Some countries require a visa to enter the Netherlands. Please check with The Netherlands or the embassy for the visa requirements related to your country. Because of the length of time needed for the visa procedure, we advise you start this process as soon as possible.  The Hague Academy we will send you an acceptance letter which will assist you in arranging your visa, but only after we confirm your payment.


Payments received before the deadline will be reimbursed. However, an administration fee of €150 will be charged to fulfill this request. We strongly encourage you to start with the visa application procedure at least six weeks before the start of the training programme in order to prevent late cancellation.

A cancellation fee of 50% of the course fee will be charged for participants cancelling between four and two weeks prior to the start of the training. If you cancel your participation within the two-week period before the start of the course, then you will be required to pay 80% of the course fee.

In the event that you cannot attend the course, it is possible to nominate a suitably qualified candidate to replace you without extra charge.

The Hague Academy for Local Governance reserves the right to cancel a course if the number of participants is insufficient or due to any other unforeseen circumstances. In this case, your payment will be 100% reimbursed. Other costs such as transportation or hotel cannot be reimbursed.

Contact Information

For questions about this course and procedures, or to inquire about our tailor-made courses on citizen participation, please contact us by email at, or dial +31-70-3738695.