[13 December 2011] -- The role of local government was on the agenda at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea 29 November – 1 December 2011.
In its outcome document, the Busan partnership emphasised the critical role that local governments play in linking citizens with government and ensuring ownership of countries’ development agendas. It pledged to further support local governments to enable them to assume more fully their roles above and beyond service delivery, enhancing participation and accountability at the sub‐national levels.
On a broader level, the Busan outcome document highlighted a new global partnership on aid effectiveness that embraces traditional donors, BRICs (China, India and Brazil), civil society organisations and private funders. It also recognised transparency as a core principle of effective development aid and stressed the potential of South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable development.
The Cities Alliance has been involved in aid effectiveness discussions for Busan through its participation in the Global Programmes Learning Group, which is a member of the the OECD’s Working Party on Aid Effectiveness Executive Committee. The Working Party provided guidance for the development of the Busan outcome document.
UCLG advocates for local government in side event
In the leadup to Busan, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) had advocated on behalf of an increased role for local government in development cooperation.
At the forum, UCLG held a side event on aid effectiveness at the subnational level together with United Regions (ORU-FOGAR), the Development Partners Working Group on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG) and UNDP.
Participants advocated for the importance of adequate decentralisation, strengthened local governance, and increased promotion of decentralised cooperation in order to improve aid effectiveness. In a document released at the conclusion of the side event, they called on national governments and the international community to acknowledge the following:
1.      The opportunities that arise from the active participation of local and  regional governments and their networks, together with municipal and decentralised development cooperation, in the definition, implementation and monitoring of the Aid Effectiveness Agenda, particularly with regards to the principles of democratic ownership, mutual accountability, transparency and harmonisation.
2.      The importance of adequate decentralisation and strengthened local governance as enabling conditions for local and regional governments to play an effective role in development. Furthermore, the need to increase effective development partners’ support to decentralisation and local governance as a key contribution to the achievement of the Paris, Accra and Busan agendas.
3.      The added value of the work of local and regional government networks and their articulation within multilateral frameworks in promoting territorial development processes that respond to challenges directly affecting the lives of citizens.
4.      The need to include local and regional governments in the aid effectiveness agenda both in the donor and recipient countries and agencies.
5.      The need to avoid fragmentation and duplication of efforts through the development of multi-stakeholder dialogues both at donor and recipient level while preserving diversity and promoting decentralisation and local development. 
6.      The need to strengthen linkages between local, regional and national levels of governance to further a policy dialogue and the improved implementation of national development strategies and result-orientation.
7.      Finally, the need to recognise local and regional authorities as full-fledged partners in the international governance and aid architecture, and in the decision-making structures of relevance for the definition and implementation of the development agendas.
For more about the UCLG side event and the outcome document, please see the UCLG website.
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