Support for decentralisation in Tunisia
Title: Support for decentralisation in Tunisia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Présidence de Gouvernement/Presidency of the Government
Overall term: 2018 to 2021
The Tunisian Constitution of 2014 provides for comprehensive decentralisation of the country. This is also accompanied by the restructuring of the administration. Important steps towards a less centralised state were the adoption of the Local Government Law (Code des Collectivités locales, CCL) in April 2018 and the municipal elections in the following month. In order to strengthen local authorities, the Tunisian Government is handing over appropriate functions and budgetary resources to these regions and municipalities. In this way, local development can be shaped on a more independent basis and local services can be provided in a more citizen-centric manner. Local elections also involve citizens in political decision-making processes.
Decisions regarding public affairs are taken primarily at municipal and regional level instead of by the government in Tunis.
In order to successfully manage the decentralisation process, both the regional and local administrations as well as the newly elected municipal councils need to be prepared for their future tasks. The local regions and municipalities require personnel as well as financial resources in order to carry out their new activities. Closer alignment with the principles of democratic good governance requires the administration to be not only more efficient, but also more citizen-centric and more transparent. In addition to the institutional framework, the laws necessary for the implementation of the constitution and the CCL must also be drawn up.
The project supports the process of decentralisation in Tunisia at national, regional and municipal level. In so doing, it operates in four fields of activity:
Strengthening decentralisation and deconcentration
In field of activity 1, strengthening decentralisation and deconcentration, the project supports various ministries in developing a regulatory and institutional framework for decentralisation. Via service centres (maisons de service), citizens are to be provided with improved access to state services at local level.
Strengthening territorial planning and networking
In field of activity 2, strengthening territorial planning and networking, the project aims to strengthen planning capacities at national, regional and municipal levels so that planning processes can take place more efficiently, in a more integrated fashion and at the relevant level. This also includes spatial and economic planning. In addition, the project strengthens the exchange among municipalities.
In field of activity 3, capacity development, the project promotes exchange among the various training institutions responsible for providing training courses in the area of decentralisation. The Centre of Training and Decentralisation Support (Centre de Formation et d'Appui à la Décentralisation, CFAD) receives support in organisational matters. In addition, the project prepares elected representatives and officials at local authorities and the territorial administration for their new tasks.
Fiscal decentralisation, local finance and audit
In field of activity 4, fiscal decentralisation, local finance and audit, the project supports the Supreme Audit Institution with the external control of municipalities and assists them in setting up internal control procedures. It also develops approaches to increasing local revenue and conducts public finance training courses.
The project builds on the experience of four projects. In recent years, it has already trained 900 local authority representatives and officials and established municipal networks, for example on the issue of waste management. In 18 governorates, the project drew up regional development plans with the participation of some 7,000 citizens. With the help of Tunisian and French experts, a bill was also drafted on the new status of high-ranking officials in the regional administration, including the governor.
The new project is designed to train the newly elected municipal council members and municipal employees in 21 municipalities and to support them in implementing the reforms. Financing for the procurement of materials and equipment or for minor construction and renovation work is possible. Six pilot projects are being planned and implemented. These involve the adoption of instruments for budget planning, internal control and for monitoring the use of regionally allocated financial resources. In three of the selected municipalities, the project is testing new procedures to improve internal control, with a view to enhancing accountability.