Building confidence in democracy

Project description

Title: Building capacity for local self-administration in Tunisia and improving municipal services in Libya
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Country: Tunisia, Libya
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Local Affairs and the Environment – General Department of Local Authorities (Tunisia)
Overall term: 2014 to 2018

Context

Tunisia is currently undergoing a process of comprehensive democratic transition. The constitution adopted in February 2014 provides for the strengthening of decentralised government and administrative structures. In the course of a territorial reform, 86 new local authorities have been created, while municipalities across the country are to acquire extensive financial and administrative autonomy. Local elections are planned for March 2018 to consolidate these structures.

In Libya, the Government of National Accord, which has been in office since 2016, is taking steps to advance the country's security and economic stabilisation. In 2012, a law on the administration system reorganised the administrative division of the country into governorates and districts, and local elections were held. The country is determined to improve the performance of its municipalities, although these local authorities have had little experience so far in delivering municipal services.

Despite the differences in their underlying circumstances, local authorities play an important part in developing the community in both countries. Well-managed local authorities are of strategic significance for the ongoing social, economic and political development. In Tunisia and Libya alike, people are demanding transparency and accountability from their local administrations, as well as improved services focused on the needs of the population and more opportunities for citizen participation. 
Objective

Through training programmes for employees and councillors of the local authorities, the conditions have been put in place to introduce local self-administration and citizen focus. In selected towns and cities, the provision of basic municipal services has improved.

Approach

In Tunisia, the project is developing training measures on local self-administration and curricula for administration experts. It is also running pilot training courses to test new learning modules. In addition, it is advising the national training centre CFAD (Centre de Formation et d’Appui à la Décentralisation)/ Center of Training and Decentralization Support, CFAD) on developing regional training centres in order to bring it closer to its target group. The project supports exchange between stakeholders in the Maghreb region and in Germany.

In Libya, the project supports measures to improve local public services and provides advice to selected municipal administrations. It also runs training courses on conflict-sensitive communication and on management and leadership skills to build the capacity of local authority employees and councillors. 

The project is an integral part of GIZ governance Cluster in Tunisia and is being implemented in close cooperation with the regional project “Strengthening of Local Development and Democracy in the Maghreb region”. It also cooperates closely with the Special Initiative on “Stability and Development in the MENA Region (Middle East and North Africa) launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Results

Tunisia. The project has successfully advised the training centre CFAD on strategic planning for its regional sites. Above all, the local authorities established through the territorial reform now benefit from a basic training course on local governance developed by GIZ. 

The project has developed eight new course modules as well as training materials on urban planning and municipal management, and has tested them in regional pilot training courses. Over 300 employees in local authorities and more than 60 trainers have been trained on this  new modules. 

In cooperation with GIZ, CFAD has published a handbook on local democracy and citizen participation. A series of training events have been held to present the handbook in more than 230 municipalities, particularly in disadvantaged regions. The newly acquired knowledge has found practical application with the active participation of citizens in local, participatory planning processes addressing areas such as waste management and transport as well as participatory budgeting.

In addition, eight municipal one-stop-shops have been set up and officially opened, offering citizens access to information and basic municipal services.

Libya. The project has delivered training on communication, conflict management and leadership skills to councillors and local authority employees in five selected municipal administrations. To encourage the political participation of women, a special training module dedicated to women in leadership positions has been developed. Following the training events, a mentor supported each of the partner municipalities in the practical application of the material and provided support in the context of municipal management and planning processes.

The project organised a study tour to Tunisia for representatives of Libyan municipalities to gain experience in the field of environmental and waste management. Employees from four partner municipalities in Libya exchanged ideas over a week with their Tunisian counterparts on the optimisation of waste management processes. During this technical meeting  the participants developed useful ideas forsmall-scale pilot projects for their home cities, such as the use of a laboratory to ensure quality controls for drinking water and the procurement of additional vehicles for improved waste collection.