Non-state Actors and Local Authorities

Table of Contents:

Non-state Actors and Local Authorities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Non-state Actors and Local Authorities


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > General development framework

Non-state Actors and Local Authorities

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – The Thematic Programme “Non-state Actors and Local Authorities in Development” [COM(2006) 19 – Not published in the Official Journal].


This programme succeeds both the NGO co-financing programmes and the decentralised cooperation programmes. By supporting the right of initiative of non-state actors and local authorities, it supplements the support provided by geographical and other sectoral thematic programmes, in particular the programme on democracy and human rights.

Ownership and participation are core principles of the European Union (EU) development policy as stated in the European consensus. This approach is also reflected in partnership and cooperation agreements, e.g. between the ACP countries and the EU and with Asia, South America and “neighbouring” countries.

The added value of associating various non-state actors lies in their independence from the State, their proximity to and understanding of defined constituencies, their capacity to articulate their specific interests and their ability to bridge a critical gap between strategic goals and their practical realisation.

This programme primarily targets interventions in the field. It is chiefly implemented in countries and regions where geographical programmes do not provide for any financial support for non-state actors or local authorities owing to weak political commitment, in subregions out of reach of the country programme or in situations of difficult partnerships, fragile States, post-conflict, political instability, etc.

All non-profit state actors from the EU and from partner countries can be eligible for funding under this programme. In addition, local authorities may receive financial support for activities in specific contexts where their added value can be established and where these activities cannot be carried out under geographical programmes. This actor-oriented approach will be refined in the multiannual thematic strategy paper.

Three types of action may be funded:

  • actions which strengthen participatory development, support capacity development processes for the actors concerned at country or regional level, and promote mutual understanding processes;
  • awareness raising and education for development in the EU and acceding countries;
  • coordination and communication between civil society and local authority networks, within their organisations and between different types of stakeholders active in the European public debate on development.

Interventions in all developing countries, as defined in the list of Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipients, can be eligible for funding under this thematic programme. These countries are covered by the European neighbourhood and partnership policy (ENPI) and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). The multiannual thematic strategy paper will set the eligibility criteria.

As regards programming, a four-year (2007-2010) and, subsequently, a three-year (2011-2013) thematic strategy paper will be decided by the Commission. These will define in more detail the criteria for selecting priority countries and regions, together with priorities for action. On the basis of this multiannual programming, the Commission will produce annual action programmes that establish priority actions, specific objectives and indicative amounts.

Objectives and priorities

The primary objective of this programme is the eradication of poverty in the context of sustainable development, including pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Other major objectives include good governance and human rights, which are cross-cutting issues to be mainstreamed in interventions in partner countries.

Our priorities include supporting stakeholder participation in unfavourable contexts (e.g. difficult partnerships, instability, conflict), promoting cross-border and regional initiatives, fostering quality partnerships between different stakeholders from the EU and partner countries, strengthening the capacity of employer and worker organisations, and fostering coherence as regards development in the area of education by giving children and young people access to education for development.

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