Decentralisation and Local Governance

This expert group is part of the Development Partners Working Group on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG). There is a wide range of training courses dealing with DLG, but so far, none included a specific perspective on aid/development effectiveness and donor harmonisation. DeLoG therefore developed a joint learning programme in order to improve aligned support to DLG. Currently, 29 bilateral and multilateral development partners are members of DeLoG. For the full list of members, please visit DeLoG’s website.


Decentralisation and local governance (DLG) reforms are highly political processes. They involve different government levels and a multitude of actors with different interests and incentives. In order to fully unlock the potential of DLG to achieve sustainable development results, reforms need to establish an appropriate legal and institutional framework and must be embedded coherently in a wider public sector reform process.

Reforms also need to provide lower tiers of government with adequate financial resources, ideally through intergovernmental transfers and access to meaningful local sources of revenue.

In 2008, DeLoG decided to jointly develop a training that focuses on the nexus between aid effectiveness & harmonisation on the one hand and decentralisation & local governance on the other hand. The expert group was formed and registered under the learn4dev network in 2009 and is coordinated by the DeLoG secretariat.


  • DeLoG aims at contributing to the aid and development effectiveness process in the field of decentralisation and local governance (DLG).
  • The main objective of this expert group is to implement joint learning events on DLG and aid effectiveness and to make them accessible to key audiences.

Course content

The contents of the courses will be adapted according to the interest of each organiser. The generic course contains all major topics related to aid effectiveness, decentralisation and local governance. The host country agencies can then tailor the course programme according to their specific context and priorities.

Learning offer
Currently, we offer tailor-made courses in three different formats:

  • Open courses for DP staff: These courses will be focused on updating and deepening the understanding of DP staff members regarding aid and development effectiveness, decentralisation and local governance as well as the nexus between the two topics, depending on the necessities identified by the DeLoG/learn4dev expert group and expressed by the participants.
  • In country/regional joint learning event: These events will be organised together with DPs in the respective partner countries. Ideally, an in depth study on DLG and aid effectiveness in this country will inform the content of this course so it reflects existing training needs.
  • E-learning: To access to a broader audience, implementing an interactive and cooperative learning approach.


“Achievements to date”

Past projects

Until today, the Expert Group’s achievements consist of creating joint training materials and of successfully implementing a pilot open course in Brussels (Belgium) in January 2011, followed by in-country courses in Grand-Popo (Benin), Maputo (Mozambique) and an open course in Thun (Switzerland) in 2012. Furthermore, a regional seminar in Yaoundé (Cameroon), in-country courses in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Tirana (Albania) and an open course in Vienna (Austria) were implemented in 2014. In addition, two e-learning courses were conducted in 2013 and 2014 respectively and a third course is currently being implemented. For more information on specific courses, please refer to DeLoG’s homepage.

What were the outcomes?

Our in-country courses are designed to be interactive. Introductive presentations by experts or participants are always followed up by interactive sessions like focus group or plenary discussions. At the end of the seminar, the results of discussions are compiled by the facilitating consultants and the recommendations on how to move forward are presented according to each actor. For Benin, these were some of the recommendations that were formulated:

Development partners should…

…strengthen and broaden the dialogue with the Beninese government in order to promote alignment and harmonisation.

…improve and institutionalise the existing M&E system: relevant (national) stakeholders are to be included in the development of indicators and the regular evaluation of projects. They should also be involved when it comes down to implementing lessons learned within this evaluation process.

…develop exchange formats/platforms to foster dialogue between partners and to stimulate the build-up of consistent, innovative and sustainable solutions.

…offer on site and demand-driven capacity building for practitioners from all administrative levels.


Upcoming events: Expert group objectives and activities planned for 2015-2016

The Expert Group is currently preparing the fourth e-learning course on decentralisation and local governance (12th October – 6th December); registration is open until 15th September. More information on content and registration process can be found on the DeLoG website. Furthermore, a regional seminar hosted by ADB will take place from 25th to 27th August in Manila. A second regional seminar within 2015 is planned in West Africa with UEMOA; concrete dates are still to be defined.


Photo impressions:

DeLoG’s Second In-Country Workshop in Grand Popo, Benin:


First hand impressions:

Please have a look at the testimonials (in French) below if you are interested in first hand impressions from participants of one of our in-country courses.