European development partners want to work in a more harmonised manner

From 24-28 January, the informal Development Partners Working Group on Local Governance and Decentralisation (DPWG-LGD) organised a pilot training course on Harmonisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance in Brussels. The course was attended by a total of 38 staff members from headquarters and country delegations of EC DEVCO, Germany (GIZ, BMZ, KfW), Denmark and Switzerland. During the course state-of-the-art knowledge from various development partners was shared, which helped participants to better understand each others’ approaches and led them to reinstate the necessity to work in a more harmonised manner.

The Hague Academy, together with ECDPM and Wageningen CDI, was asked to develop and facilitate this innovative course that aimed to contribute to an improved understanding of different donor approaches and to build a consensus around fundamental issues that need to be considered when supporting decentralisation and local governance processes in developing countries. The applicability of the general and country specific guiding principles that were adopted by the DPWG-LGD served as a basis for various exercises and led to lively discussions. Two of the main lessons learnt by participants were the crucial importance of acquiring a deeper understanding of the country context amongst donors to provide more effective support to decentralisation processes and the need to provide this support in a more harmonised and aligned manner.

The feedback provided by the participants during the last day of the week will be analysed and processed to feed into the final version of this generic course. The training manuals are expected to be finalised by mid-April and will then be presented at the DPWG-LGD annual meeting in May to encourage more development partners to join this initiative. Next to a yearly session of the generic course, it is foreseen to implement similar courses on regional and country level to support harmonisation efforts at the field level.

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