Spotlight on Decentralization
The panellists shared opinions and experiences on decentralization in the context of development aid. The discussion centred on the choice facing donors: whether to cooperate with the central government or with local authorities. Central government authorities often discourage donors from cooperating with local authorities, justifying their position by a lack of potential in terms of the ability to effectively absorb aid. Nevertheless, directing aid to the local level helps build democracy: the inhabitants of a given region tend to elect officials capable of boasting investments carried out using development funding. They also know who to hold accountable for specific achievements. Decentralization makes it possible to boost aid effectiveness: local communities are more aware of their needs. Funds allocated towards a given region via the central government ended up going to a different location on more than one occasion. The panel noted a low level of aid effectiveness across-the-board, as well as the existence of corruption on the central and local levels.
 Organizers: Practitioners' Network for European Development Cooperation and Development Partners' Working Group on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG). Panellists: Dr Klaus Veigel (DeLoG), Risto Atanasovski (Macedonia local government official), Francois Bary (LuxDev), Teresa Dubuque (Philippines local government official), Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi (United Cities and Local Governments of Africa), Jorge Rodriguez Bilbao (DEVCO) and Dr Omar Saip Sy (Transparency International Senegal). Moderator: Conny Czymoch.