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The process of shifting power dynamics from global to local actors and partners remains largely elusive. The session built a shared understanding on the significance of localisation in development co-operation, the changes in modus operandi it requires, and its relevance to delivering on the promise to leave no one behind. 

Key Messages from the Session 

  • There is broad agreement that national and local actors should have more power and control over decisions that concern and affect them, and global partners should work to make this happen. Donors, alongside national governments, may need to change mindsets, policies, and practices. Rather than pushing donor-driven and top-down priorities, providers should listen to voices from communities, including marginalised populations. Many local organisations are inclusive, representative, and directly accountable to their communities. Donors should provide them direct support where possible and appropriate. 
  • Many development actors are committed to leaving no-one behind and there are numerous cases where this has been achieved through policies and programmes implemented at national or local levels. More work must be done to improve planning and policymaking, and mutual accountability that includes all partners consistent with their commitments.  
  • Local community organisations need access to predictable, flexible, and sustainable financing. While providers may find it difficult to fund small-scale organisations directly, there are solutions including proximate/intermediate leaders, pooled funding, coalitions across communities, and alliances with national organisations. 
  • Several bilateral donor partners committed to pursue actions that would foster more locally led-development, and endorsed a ‘Donor Statement on Supporting Locally Led Development’. The endorsers will pursue actions to promote locally sustained change that is tied to each country’s unique context, building on previous commitments to broad country ownership from the Paris Declaration to the Busan Partnership agreement. Many more partners are also actively working to change power dynamics and increase support to locally led development. 

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Key Terms: Localization, leaving no one behind, decentralization