Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Communication strategies of the ACP Local Government Platform

Brussels, 6 June. The platform is an umbrella of mayors and representatives of local government across ACP countries. Its mission is to strengthen the role of local government in ACP-EU cooperation processes. It has three main roles:
  • Representation, advocacy

  • Information and networking

  • Technical support: helpdesk
Information activities range from quarterly newsletter, via emails and website, to seminars and visits to local government actors and national associations or EC delegations.

The content focusses mainly on the Cotonou agreement the 10th EDF process. The Eurostep EC aid programming website is an important source of information per country (indicative focal/non focal sectors, indicative country strategy paper, useful contacts, etc). Sources of information are the members' newsletters, various ECDPM newsalerts, news/meeting/direct contact with EuropeAid and DG-Dev, CTA Brussels office newsletter, Eurostep, Euforic and Bulletin Cotonou.

The impact so far can be illustrated by the Local Government Association of Zambia. In early 2006, at the beginning of the 10th EDF programming, the Platform advised ACP local governments to get in contact with National Authorising Officer (NAO) and the EC Delegation. the LGAZ reported to the Platform that it got a negative response from NAO for participation in the process, despite the fact that the 10th EDF programming advised local governments to get into contact with NAO. After Platform negotiation with ACP-EU institutions headquarters, they are now fully involved in the process. Following the Zambian case, some ACP local governments contacted the Platform in order to get similar assistance.

Challenges are that very few local governments are involved in the ACP-EU cooperation process. Local governments are elected people and the rate of rotation sometimes may be high (every 2/3 years). this needs to establish new contact and network. But as the Platform works mainly with national associations of local government, which are permanent structure (the technical staff does not change with the change of the president), the network is maintained.

Opportunities should be that civil society organisations and local governments should lobby together in order to be involved in the dialogue between NAO and Delegation on the 10th EDF process.

By Elisa Rafamatanantsoa - ACPLGP Coordinator (platform at acplgp dot net)

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