Local governance and policy implementation for human development in time of crisis

Biggeri, Mario; Ferrannini, Andrea; Delli, Giulietta; Paoli, Lorenzo; Letonturier, Simon; Pasteur, Michèle (2014). 'Local governance and policy implementation for human development in time of crisis' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

1 - A 'policy-enabling space' for Sustainable Human Development at the local level

Authors: Mario Biggeri and Andrea Ferrannini

Within an international panorama that urgently needs policy innovations to face long-standing processes of crisis  and recession, there can be no single model to guide human development policies.

Linking the people-centred focus of Sen's Capability Approach (Sen, 1999) with a meso-economic perspective allows placing multidimensionality, freedom and agency at the heart of dynamic processes of territorial transformation and human flourishing. The perspective of Sustainable Human Development (SHD) at the local level (Biggeri and Ferrannini, 2014) entails a fundamental policy question: Are development policies able to address locally-determined conversion factors, valorising territorial characteristics and potentialities to promote SHD?

The objective of this paper is to explore a 'policy-enabling space' that challenges standardised place-/time-neutral approaches, and allows to maximize human development potential at the local level by designing tailored institutions, investments and policies (Barca et al., 2012).

In particular, the importance of diversity and heterogeneity of values, interests, policy ideas and discourses within local societies is recognised, emphasising how its valorisation within boundaries of social justice nurtures the creativity underlying policy evolution. In addition, a vision centred on pluralistic policy networks is embraced. Finally, it is stressed that processes of public deliberation, institution-building and collective learning (Amin, 1999) constitute the fundamental basis for the inter-temporal construction of a 'policy-enabling space' for SHD.

The paper is structured as follows. After a brief introduction, the second section outlines the key pillars of SHD perspective at the local level. The third section focuses on how diversity and conflicts drive policy evolution towards – or away from – SHD trajectories. The fourth section examines how processes of public interaction and deliberation, institution-building and collective learning along horizontal and vertical lines of articulation widen (or restrict) the 'policy-enabling space' for SHD. The final section outlines implications for future research.

2 - Tackling Capabilities Deprivation Through Decentralisation and Local Governance: Five Concrete Experiences of Oxfam Italy

Authors: Giulietta Delli and Lorenzo Paoli

During times of crisis, poor people are the most vulnerable target in terms of economic and social justice. In order to break the cycle of poverty and inequality, it is necessary a radical redistribution of power, opportunities and assets, rather than traditional models of charitable aid. The levers that can drive this transformation are active citizenship and effective states, allowing people to have a voice in deciding their own destiny and claiming for state and private sector accountability (Sen, 1999; Green, 2012).

Within this scenario, the objective of this paper is to explore the relevant experience of Oxfam Italy (OIT) in fostering an efficient and effective management of public resources in order to tackle poverty through decentralization and local governance for human development. In particular, this paper critically assesses five initiatives implemented by OIT in the last ten years in the following areas: waste management in Latin America, South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo; urban and rural SMEs in Bosnia-Herzegovina; social and health care services in South Africa. This case-studies analysis is based on desk-based review, independent evaluations, and interviews with key informants.

Overall, these actions aim at removing bottlenecks constraining the enhancement of individual capabilities and agency by acting on contextual conversion factors (Robeyns, 2005; Deneulin, 2008; Frediani, 2010) and institutional capacities of local governments. It is crucial to explore through a cross-country and comparative analysis the conditions enabling the design of pro-poor policies at the local level by fostering active involvement of public, private and civil society stakeholders.

The paper is structured as follows. The first section presents the OIT approach to support bottom-up policy-making processes and to build networks and partnerships for human development and capability expansion. The second section critically discusses the outcomes of the five selected experiences, assessing to what extent OIT interventions have been successful in triggering a change in livelihood conditions, and in expanding individual capabilities and agency. The final section outlines the most relevant conclusions.

3 - The policies and instruments deployed by French local authorities in furthering social inclusion and capabilities

Authors: Simon Letonturier and Michèle Pasteur

French local authorities are competent for social and economic inclusion of vulnerable people. Social inclusion is the affirmation of the rights of all persons to have an access to various common institutions, regardless of their eventual particularities (Chauvière, 2008). Inclusion is not only linked to professional and economic integration processes, but also to social, cultural and civic participation to society (Sen, 2000; Lebrun, 2009). In other words, individual and social empowerment are seen as means for capability expansion (Sen, 1999) and social inclusion. 

More than 5000 French regional and local authorities are currently involved in decentralized cooperation activities, in which they share a large range of competencies and practices regarding the promotion of human development (UNDP, 1990). 

The objective of this paper is to analyze the projects implemented by French local authorities to improve social inclusion in partners' territories, and to shape innovative and more adequate methods and topics.

With the technical support of United Cities France which has a previous experience on capitalizing French local authorities' experiences on international cooperation (AFD, 2008), this paper aims at contributing to the French position within the construction of the post-2015 development agenda. Overall, the objective is to strengthen the involvement of French local authorities in international cooperation regarding social inclusion and capabilities expansion, and improve their capacity to build innovative projects which promote sustainable and inclusive human development at the local level. The study approach is based on a multi-actor partnership, as synergies between various stakeholders with complementary role allow designing common strategies where local actors' empowerment and wellbeing are central (AFD, 2013). 

The paper is structured as follows. After an introduction, the second section analysises the effective and potential areas of intervention by French local authorities in the field of social inclusion from a capability approach perspective. Then we present technical recommendations related to the implementation of European and international projects on social inclusion. The last section outlines the main conclusions.

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