The ACP-LG Platform
The Platform was established in the form of a light apex structure whose ‘raison d’être’ is to defend the common interests of ACP LG in relation to ACP-EU cooperation. The Platform has however evolved since its establishment in 2001. In February 2008, it took stock of where it is and where it is going. The Platform also reflected on how it will evolve in the coming years as a structure, membership organisation and interlocutor of the ACP-EU institutions. The current format and resource base has served well in the initial years of setting up the Platform and acquiring some visibility. Yet now that the Platform is a recognised player and expectations are likely to increase (from various sides), it needs to strengthen its overall institutional base, including the issue of membership development and financial sustainability.
The Platform has also considered the challenge of ensuring its further institutional strengthening, including with regard to its advocacy capacity (towards official parties) and service delivery capacity (towards its members). As part and parcel of the reflection it decided on two major issues to strengthen the Platform and to move it forward in respect of its membership and governance structure. The statute of the Platform has therefore been reviewed to reflect this new structure.
The Platform membership has been enlarged in order to be effectively representative of LG in all ACP countries and also to improve its financial sustainability through broadened membership. In line with the Georgetown Agreement, the membership structure of the Platform reflects the spirit of the ACP Group: the members of the Platform are local government associations with membership in ACP countries. They are represented by:
All the national associations/institutions of local government of ACP
The 6 regional associations/organisations/institutions of local government in the ACP
The continental/international organisations which represent specific categories of local governments in the ACP
In order to improve the Platform functionality and its democratic system, its governance structure has been amended. The governance structure of the ACP-LG Platform is executed by the following organs: the Conference; the Board; and the Coordinating Secretariat.
The Conference: The Conference is the political body and supreme organ of the ACP-LG Platform. It has responsibility for the overall policy, direction and oversight of the organisation. The Conference comprises all members of the ACP-LG Platform, through their duly appointed representatives.
The Board: The Board is the principal policy-making body of the ACP-LG Platform. It decides the ACP-LG Platform’s policies and ensures that general policies decided by the Conference are implemented. The Board may delegate any of its powers to the Chairman or the Coordinator. The Board supervises the work of the Coordinating Secretariat. The Board comprises core members from all the 6 regions of the ACP.
The Coordinating Secretariat: The day-to-day administrative functions and operations of the Platform at the apex level are conducted through the Coordinating Secretariat. The Secretariat is headed by the Coordinator, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Platform, in which capacity he/she has full general management responsibility and is accountable to the Board. The Coordinator carries out his/her duties with the technical support and assistance of technical support agencies.
The Platform having decided to adopt the new membership and governance structure, the next step will now be its implementation and the revision of the statute to reflect these changes. These activities are part and parcel of strengthening the Platform both legally and structurally. However, since this will require time and financial resources, their implementation will be phased over a 4-year period. It is expected that the funding sought under the intra-ACP fund will, together with other donor support to the ACP-LG Platform, assist with this implementation process.
The goal of the ACP-LG Platform is to promote the role of ACP local government in political dialogue and ACP-EU development cooperation at national, regional and all-ACP-EU levels. In order to achieve this goal, the Platform defines the following objectives:
To promote the universal and fundamental principles of decentralisation as a logic of governance and promotion of development and to support such process across the ACP and within the ACP-EU framework;
To structure and organise ACP LG for interest articulation and dialogue with the EU and the ACP at different levels, and to promote the establishment of consultation mechanisms;
To strengthen and reinforce the capacity and resources of the structures that represent ACP LG at all levels (national, regional and all-ACP-EU) to enable them provide valued support service to their members;
To foster and strengthen the development of strategic partnership and alliance between ACP LG associations and other non-state actors, and in particular with their EU LG counterparts and to foster opportunities for working together (with due respect for the comparative advantage and added value).
The Cotonou Agreement now recognises decentralised LGs of ACP countries as key strategic partners of ACP-EU cooperation providing added value. The new partnership implies a huge capacity agenda for the LG actors. Strategies and resources are needed with a view to promote and facilitate this partnership in general and the dialogue between the ACP, EU and the new decentralised players that this partnership implies, in order to define cooperation strategies (dialogue based on the identified needs and problems of LG).
In order to achieve its objectives, the key programmes of the Platform are:
National capacity building programme. This programme will help local government in each ACP country to establish/develop/consolidate their national association provided with a resource centre which will deliver capacity development activities to the members thus enabling them to participate in the dialogue and development programmes at national level.
Regional capacity building programme. This programme will help developing a wide range of technical support activities for local government and their association (where they exist) in the different ACP regions through regional information centres (RICs).
Institutional development of the Platform at the apex level. This programme aims to strengthen the Platform at the apex level to perform a number of highly critical advocacy functions and services to the benefit of all its members, thus complementing the activities planned under the national and regional programmes. The activities of the Platform at the apex level revolve around its three roles of representation and advocacy; information and networking; and technical support to its members.
From the activities to be undertaken at the various levels, we expect that the local government representation mechanism at the national, regional and all-ACP-EU levels is supplemented and consolidated. It means that local governments are represented in each country/region and at the all-ACP-EU level by effective, fully representative and well resourced associations:
capable of defending their interests
to promote their role
to reinforce their capacities
able to bring them the necessary information and tools to play their roles; and
to take part in dialogue and implementation of development policies with development partners, in particular the EU at the national/regional and ACP-EU level.
In order to support the process of building an effective ACP local government network that can play a positive role in ACP-EU cooperation, initial support from donors is vital. In this phase, contributions from local government have mainly been in kind or through limited financial contributions. Over time, the ACP-LG network/Platform should be able to generate sufficient trust and delivering capacity so as to diversify its funding sources and to enhance contributions by members. This in turn should enhance the ACP-LG Platform’s viability.
In the meantime various sources of fund are sought to help the Platform achieving its goal including through donors contribution (EU Member States, ACP-EU, etc.), members’ contribution and other sources.
In 2004, DFID provided 3-year support to the ACP-LG Platform allowing it to undertake part of its activities, in particular the institutional development of the Platform at the apex level. In addition, the DED [the German Development Service] in Harare also contributed to the support of the Platform. We have also benefited immensely from the support of our partner ECDPM.
In 2009/2010, the ACP-EU will provide support to ACP local government with a 3/4-year programme called ARIAL “Appui et Renforcement des Initiatives des Associations Locales” – Strengthening of and Support to Local Authorities Associations, funded under the 9th EDF Intra-ACP fund. This programme will enable us to accomplish a substantial part of our goal by strengthening the capacity and resources of local government associations at both national, regional and all-ACP-EU levels. However this programme will not cover all the activities foreseen for the period 2009-2013 allowing the Platform to fully achieve its goal.
Other sources of funding are therefore still to be sought, through members’ contribution, donors’ contribution, and other sources.