Initiative for municipal development
Title: Initiative for municipal development in Tunisia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment
Overall term: 2015 to 2020
Tunisia is undergoing an extensive process of democratic transformation. The new constitution of January 2014 provides for the devolution of resources and power to strengthen local self-government.
As a result, municipal authorities today have greater responsibilities but are also under greater pressure to perform, with citizens now expecting to see an improvement in services and more opportunities for them to participate. In the structurally weak hinterlands in particular, the ongoing process of democratic change has barely made an impact. Moreover, women and young people have so far made only scant use of their political and civil rights.
Well-managed municipal authorities and a constructive relationship with citizens will play a vital strategic role in the country’s further social, economic and political development. Tunisians want their local authorities to be more transparent, accountable and citizen-oriented. And they want them to provide better services and more opportunities for participation. This requires the centrally organised administrative system to undergo a process of modernisation that will render it more citizen-friendly and efficient.
Transparency, citizen orientation and opportunities for participation in local affairs are improved in selected municipalities in Tunisia.
The project works with the specialists and managers of the ministries in charge (for example the ministries for youth and sport), officials in the municipal authorities and local decision-makers in the cities involved, as well as with representatives of youth associations and women’s organisations.
The key implementation partners are the Federation of Tunisian Cities FNVT (Fédération Nationale des Villes Tunisiennes) and the training institution CFAD (Centre de Formation et d’Appui à la Décentralisation).
The project is able to build on the experience and findings of the Strengthening Local Democracy in Tunisia project funded by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office.
In a bid to enable local authorities to deliver more efficient and citizen-centred public services, the project is assisting selected municipalities in setting up citizens’ offices (One-stop-shops called “Espace Citoyen”) and maintaining local government buildings. The project also advises local governments on how to organise administrative processes and helps train public officials to become more citizen-oriented and better at providing services.
Furthermore, young people are to be given greater opportunities to participate at local level. Support for local authorities will therefore help promote youth initiatives and set up participation mechanisms such as youth councils. On top of this, local authority employees are to take part in further training measures, as are the staff of organisations and associations that work with young people. Young people will be encouraged to submit proposals to interested municipalities and so learn to take political initiative and assume responsibility. For their part, municipal officials will experience the positive influence that local youth politics has on peacebuilding and development.
Furthermore, in order to empower women to participate to a greater extent in local decision-making processes, the project will support women’s networks and municipalities. Further consultancy inputs will focus on awareness-raising and training measures for organisations working to promote gender equality.
The project is part of a special initiative designed to stabilise and promote development in North Africa and the Middle East run by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Through the projects that make up this special initiative, BMZ is helping to open up economic and social prospects for people in the region. Within this context, an additional sum of more than EUR 300 million has been earmarked for development cooperation projects in the period from 2014 to 2021. The thematic focus is on youth and employment promotion, economic stabilisation, democracy and stabilising neighbouring countries in crisis situations.