Equal Partnership for Improved Decentralized Cross-border Cooperation

Tunisian and Libyan municipalities celebrate 5 years of cooperation and plan for the future

CILG-VNG International organized the International Conference on Cross-Border Decentralized Cooperation in Tunis on 9 and 10 October 2018. This high-level meeting was an opportunity for discussions and consultation on best practices for strengthening decentralized cooperation in the Tunisian-Libyan border area.

“For the last five years, we have learned to work with Libyan municipalities, and today we are fully committed to improving and developing this partnership by sending a clear and frank request to the national authorities to improve the legislative frameworks for a better integration of the cross-border dimension in decentralized cooperation, “said Fathi Abaab, mayor of Benguerdane, after outlining the flagship projects that his region has benefited from in the context of cross-border cooperation.

During the closing plenary, the participants expressed their will to draw a collective roadmap that will make it possible to coordinate the various demands of the seven Tunisian and Libyan municipalities of the border area around a common vision and clear goals in both short and long terms.

“Our know-how and our commitment must be directed towards the enhancement of an economic cooperation, so far neglected because of the informal economy. It is true that this challenge is difficult to meet, especially in this delicate security context. But this will not prevent us from taking advantage of the commercial and agricultural potential enjoyed in our regions,” said Zitouna Maamar Soltan, a civil society activist in Zouara and a former member of the municipal council.”

The international conference on cross-border decentralized cooperation brought together in Tunis nearly 80 participants from several countries (Tunisia, Libya, Germany, the Netherlands, Algeria, Italy and France). Mayors, local elected officials, local civil servants, representatives of relevant central structures, as well as international organizations and experts took advantage of this framework to share their experiences in the implementation of decentralized cooperation actions in frontier contexts, the challenges and its achievements.
Participants also shared their stories about their ownership of cross-border initiatives and their impact on local action.

Equal Partnership for Improved Decentralized Cross-border Cooperation