Operationalization of the Decentralization Process in Tunisia: A Roadmap for 2018-2021

The study on the roadmap for operationalization of decentralization for 2018-2021 was conducted to support the Authority of Prospective and Support to the Decentralization Process (IPAPD). It will serve as an action plan for the government and will guide the action of public stakeholders and guide the contribution of other participants. Funded by the European Commission in Tunisia, it is part of the technical assistance mission to the Commission of Administrative Organization and Armed Forces Affairs of the Assembly of People’s Representatives.

Decentralization was an essential choice in Tunisia to respond to social demands that denounced social and economic injustice and to face persistent regional inequalities. After the full communalization of the national territory, the promulgation of the Local Government Code and the organization of the first municipal elections in May 2018, it is a new level of the decentralization process that has been crossed, requiring the establishment of an action plan for the operationalization of the strategic guidelines. The process currently underway has been conducted so far in accordance with a “Guidance Document on the Process of Decentralization Operationalization” prepared by the Directorate General of Local Authorities and which constituted a first roadmap for the implementation of the decentralization process during the period from June 2015 to June 2018.

Three years after the production of this first document, this roadmap required a readjustment and an update based on the evolution of the context and the challenges of the current phase and on the outcomes of first implemented actions. In this context, IPAPD, with the support of CILG-VNG International, undertook the updating of the roadmap for the operationalization of the decentralization process and the proposal of an action plan for the period 2018 -2021.

The mission initially consisted in retracing and evaluating all actions taken since 2011 for the preparation and conduct of the reform. The next step was to (re) define the strategic orientations for the policy of decentralization. The ultimate goal was to set a priority action plan for the period from July 2018 to December 2021, identify the involved stakeholders and their implementation timeframes.

The proposed roadmap aims to achieve three major goals. The first is to ensure the necessary conditions for the proper functioning of local authorities according to the model introduced by the Code of Local Authorities. The second objective is to conduct the legal and institutional reforms required for the implementation phase of the process and the creation of the structures introduced by the Code. Finally, the third objective assigned to this roadmap is the consistency of institutional strategies and the harmonization of public policies around the operationalization of the principles of decentralization.

Operationalization of the Decentralization Process in Tunisia: A Roadmap for 2018-2021