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This component is aimed at enhancing the capacities of CSOs and LAs to work at the country level, given the vital but distinct roles they play respectively in promoting democracy and accountability and in facilitating pro-poor service delivery and inclusive economic growth. With a view to operationalize recognition of the distinct roles of CSOs and LAs and to support their collaboration for local development, the programme distinguishes the following three strategic objectives:
·1.1: To enhance CSOs contribution in development processes: The programme will support CSOs as actors in governance, as partners in promoting broader access to service delivery and as key stakeholders in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.
·1.2: To enhance LAs' contribution in development processes: The programme will support LAs, as autonomous public institutions operating within a given territory. It will promote their overall environment enabling them to play their legitimate and legally mandated roles. It will also reinforce their capacity to effectively ensure provision of public services and goods and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth within their framework of competence.
·1.3: To support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development through joint action by CSOs, LAs and other relevant stakeholders.
EU Delegations will ensure interventions supported through the programme are tailored to country needs and context and promote coherence and complementarity with other instruments and programmes. In this respect, interventions to support CSOs will be integrated into the roadmaps for engagement with CSOs, announced in the new CSO policy and related Council Conclusions.
Whilst the programme focuses on local CSOs, it recognizes and supports the role played by European CSOs in supporting local partners, through information sharing, mentoring, joint advocacy, etc. In difficult contexts, European CSOs can also play an important role in promoting the enabling environment of local CSOs and raising awareness about restrictions or attacks on them.
1.1.1 Enhancing the space and capacity of CSOs to operate and engage in public policy processes and accountability systems
- The programme will contribute to enhance the de jure and de facto enabling environment for CSOs so that they can effectively contribute to development processes.
- The programme will seek to empower CSOs to contribute effectively and meaningfully to local and national policy processes and to hold public authorities to account alongside other institutional actors. Special consideration will also be given to CSOs' capacity to play an oversight role in the budgetary cycle.
- The Programme will support CSO contribution in policy making at national and sector level with attention on policies relating to human development (including the provision of social services) and on inclusive growth.
- The programme will provide tailored support to different categories of CSO actors (e.g. NGOs, trade unions, cooperatives, etc.), recognizing that dialogue schemes are actor and sector specific.
- The programme will contribute to fostering CSOs' transparency and accountability to their constituencies and partners with a view to enhance their legitimacy and credibility in policy and accountability processes.
- The programme will support CSO capacities to use new technologies and social media.
1.1.2: Strengthening CSOs' role for improved pro-poor social service delivery.
This axis of the programme will be activated in Least Developed Countries (LDC) and in fragile/post conflict countries in order to improve access to basic services, notably health, education, water and sanitation, and food security.
In Middle Income Countries support to service delivery may be mobilized within focal sectors of cooperation through geographical funds (bilateral cooperation). In the longer term CSOs' action in service delivery is to be progressively integrated in national systems and interventions of this Programme will embrace this perspective.
Focus will be on the following:
- The programme will provide direct support to CSOs to improve the provision of basic services, particularly for disenfranchised or vulnerable populations.
- The programme will support the capacity development of CSOs in relation to the quality of services and their complementarity within the framework of national systems.
- Special consideration will be given to fragile LDCs where CSOs often play a pivotal role in providing basic services. Support to CSOs in this context should ensure it does not harm state building processes.
1.1.3: Strengthening CSOs' role for inclusive economic growth.
- The programme will support CSO initiatives which combine social and economic ambitions. This covers initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and extend access to business support services, credit and markets to marginalized groups and to capacitate vulnerable groups to enter the formal workforce.
- The programme will support cooperatives and producers organisations' work to promote inclusive growth and to address the needs and interests of their members and communities, for example by facilitating access to credit.
- The programme will support actions by trade unions and employers' organisations to promote inclusive growth.
- Finally, the programme will seek to support CSOs in multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote entrepreneurship, create jobs and support growth, allowing different relevant stakeholders to work together and develop mutually-reinforcing initiatives.
1.2.1: To promote an enabling environment for LAs to play their roles effectively.
Taking into account country-specific contexts, this programme will support improvements in the legal and regulatory framework related to LA competences, particularly within decentralisation processes, allowing LAs to play their institutional roles more effectively.
The programme will also promote the participation of LAs in policy processes at country level, in line with the national policies. This may include support to networking, mentoring or twinning among LAs and associations of LAs at country level as well relevant exchanges with LAs and associations of LAs from other partner countries and from Europe, in order to enhance a broad-based and democratic ownership of development. The programme will also support actions to develop the capacity of LAs for policy analysis, negotiation and coordination, in line with their specific competences.
The programme may support actions to strengthen the internal governance and accountability of LAs, as public institutions, both towards their own citizens and towards other levels of government and to independent audit bodies. In particular, it will support actions promoting effective budget implementation, tracking of public revenues and expenditures and budget literacy, and accessibility of budgetary information to citizens (including via participatory budgeting).
- In order to overcome purely top-down approaches, a better articulation between national and local policy-making processes will also be promoted, with LAs working as partners of the central governments in the design of national/sectoral policies and plans or in the negotiation of priorities for cooperation with Development Partners.
1.2.2: To strengthen the capacity of LAs to effectively deliver public services, including social services, and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth.
The programme will aim at strengthening LA's capacity to effectively provide quality public services, including basic social services, and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth within their territory.
The programme will support actions to strengthen the capacity of LAs to effectively implement laws and policies under their competence in order to stimulate the local economy, reinforce its links to the national market, to promote entrepreneurship and to mobilise different actors for joint efforts for inclusive and sustainable growth.
The programme will promote capitalisation on expertise acquired during various decentralisation processes, notably with regard to service delivery, through a peer-to-peer approach and transfer of experiences with European LAs.
1.3.1: To support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development
In line with the Agenda for Change's focus on inclusive and sustainable growth for human development, this specific objective will seek to support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development, including multi-actor local development processes with the participation of LAs, CSOs and other local actors.
The programme will support the development of local development plans with the participation of different actors, whilst respecting the legitimacy of the role of each category of actor.
 See COM(2012) 492 The Roots of Democracy and Sustainable Development: Europe's Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations, section 4.5.
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