The 2022 Decentralized Cooperation Report

A quantitative analysis of sub-state government ODA with case studies on city-to-city and region-to-region cooperation.

2022 Decentralized Cooperation Report

ECOPER has been commissioned by the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (eLankidetza) to contribute to the understanding of decentralized cooperation with an annual report on its budgets and programs worldwide. Decentralized cooperation, understood as the participation of sub-state governments in the international development cooperation system, has attracted increasing attention from international organizations and analysts. However, there is no regular monitoring system for this form of cooperation. The objective of this report is precisely to fill this gap and to carry out a systematic analysis of official development assistance extended at the sub-state level in order to encourage reflection on its relevance and effectiveness.

The report is structured as follows. Section 1 defines the key concepts on which the work is based, including the concept of decentralized cooperation and its different modalities or categories. After reviewing the main studies and debates on the issue, the objectives and methodological proposals of the report are defined. On the one hand, a regular and systematic quantitative analysis of decentralized official development assistance (ODA) based on statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). On the other hand, a more qualitative analysis on categories and cases of decentralized cooperation that will feed the reflection on its effectiveness and relevance.

Section 2 presents the results of the quantitative analysis. The volume, importance and evolution of ODA, its financing agents and the weight of each of its categories, with special attention to direct cooperation and, within this, technical cooperation. The same quantitative analysis is then applied country by country, highlighting the most important cooperation modalities in each country, as well as their sectoral and geographic orientation. Where data permit, the three actors with the largest volume of funds in each donor country are also profiled.

Section 3 contains seven case studies that delve into modalities of direct decentralized cooperation that can serve as organizational models and encourage the development of this form of cooperation. After a final section recapitulating the conclusions of both analyses, two annexes with methodological details and additional data on 2020 decentralized ODA are added to the report.

In successive years, the report is expected to present new quantitative analyses with the latest budget data for each year and to delve into a new topic of interest for decentralized cooperation. Among the topics that could be the subject of further analysis are local government collaborations with civil society and with research and technological development centers.