Starting from this notebook, we will relaunch a reflection on the territorial partnership, which we believe is one of the most appropriate ways of international cooperation. Let us consider how to combine the need for centralized relations (bilateral relations between governments and the strengthening of national ministerial institutions) and what is now called “territorial cooperation” with local governments, decentralized state entities, and Third party entities Sector.
We do this starting from the problematic context of Lebanon and the specific experience of Armadilla and Cooperation in the Territories of the World – CTM. Today, Lebanon is a place of general crisis that requires possible causes and emergency measures with humanitarian aid and a strategic vision that identifies causes and possible solutions to allow sustainable development and quality of life in the area.
What to do?
The strategy in the three-year programming of Italian cooperation shows 20 priority countries (including Lebanon) and states that “Italy’s commitment will be strengthened in the main crisis areas … The deep state of crises, often protracted, in which many find themselves Countries, imposes a synergistic and coordinated response strategy, actions aimed at improving governance systems, institutional strengthening and supporting the processes of prevention, pacification, and post-conflict stabilization, and a forward-looking commitment that not only assists the affected populations but reduce situations of fragility and strengthen local crisis management and response capacities “…
An approach tries to give the same importance to the global vision and local action. In concrete terms, this choice of not excluding anything or anyone from the possibilities of collaboration exposes you to the risk of little impact, as there are no real priorities, and the resources and tools used are insufficient to achieve the objectives assumed.
Strengthening projects for central state bodies cannot be the same as those that must be used for supporting neighborhood governments. The history of European cooperation with ACP countries (from the 1975 Lome Convention to the 2000 Cotonou Treaty) indicated that decentralization of cooperation activities and impacting local communities where problems affect people most directly were fundamental.
The decentralized and territorial approach to cooperation is also mentioned as a priority in law 125/2014, which reforms the Italian Cooperation. In Article 26, it is stated that “Italy promotes the participation in development cooperation of civil society organizations and other non-profit entities, based on the principle of subsidiarity …”.
The choice of partners, interlocutors, and beneficiaries of cooperation activities need careful evaluation to respect the basic principles adopted in the OECD DAC (2005 Paris Forum) of ownership, alignment, coherence, partnership, responsibility, and transparency (accountability).
The other consideration concerns the coherence between the tools and methodologies used to achieve the expected results. If the goal achieves social stability and resilience, it is necessary to overcome the paternalistic and welfare approach of emergency interventions and guarantee continuity to achieve sustainability. And therefore, to make multiannual planning and allow the strengthening of partnerships that must last over time. Armadilla and CTM have collaborated for years in Lebanon with the municipalities of Nabatieh and Tyre and with associations in these territories. By privileging the territorial choice, and the continuity of interventions, even in different sectors, this experience has allowed us to build a solid relationship based on mutual trust and the exchange of skills between Italian and Lebanese entities.