The decentralized cooperation partnerships are, by their very nature, initiated by French local authorities. Financial resources available vary depending on their size and the political will and motivations behind them. There are however several tools available in France as well as in Palestine that can enable complementary funding to be raised, and widen the scope of the actions undertaken.
Funding available in France
In addition to the sources of funding common to all intervention sectors, which mainly come from the departmental councils, regional councils and from the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA), decentralized aid in the Palestine water sector can be eligible for complementary funding. Water and sanitation syndicates and water agencies can bring significant financial support to activities initiated by local authorities situated in their catchment area. Some decentralized aid activities can also be funded via NGO projects. This is the case of the Syndicat des Eaux d’Île-de-France (Ile-de-France Water Syndicate – SEDIF), which only funds projects undertaken by French water sector NGOs.
Work, studies, training, technical support, assistance in the governance of services have all been provided by this municipality of more than 20,000 inhabitants. Very strong relationships have been built up between elected representatives of the French and Palestinian municipalities thanks to numerous exchanges.
Funding available in Palestine
The financial contribution made by the Palestinian partner to decentralized aid activities is generally in the form of the value of non-invoiced work or equipment being made available.
Synergies with other stakeholders can also be sought. Palestinian partners generally have a good command of the procedures and funding tools of backers present in Palestine, and can give information on the possibility of requesting co-funding with a particular funder.
The Palestinian Authority can, in some cases, provide direct complementary funding when the project is deemed to be of a high priority. In this case the request for funding should be made via the Palestinian partner and/or the PWA. However, on account of the fragility of the PA’s finances, this type of funding remains difficult to obtain.
The Municipal Development Programme should also be mentioned as an additional funding tool which can be called upon by Palestinian local authorities. This programme is financed by various international funders (including the AFD), and is implemented by the Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MDLF), benefitting the 134 Palestinian municipalities of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Funds are allocated annually or biannually according to a formula based principally on population, but which also includes performance criteria. This aims to encourage municipalities to improve their administrative and financial management performance, and to develop their strategic planning. The municipality is responsible for projects put forward for MDLF funding. These projects must be part of their Strategic Development and Investment Plan (SDIP). A co-funding project with a French local authority may therefore be included in the request by the municipality to the MDLF, for the remaining amount to be funded.
The Social Development Fund (Fonds Social de Développement – FSD) of the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem.
As part of its aid programme in the Palestinian territories, the CGF has an active partnership policy with Palestinian civil society. Since 2001, the Social Development Fund (FSD) has been promoting local initiatives by NGOs, by Palestinian local authorities and by projects that are part of decentralized aid partnerships between French and Palestinian local authorities. The FSD aims to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations by supporting development projects which have a long-term vision, are economically viable, and provide a previously unavailable service adapted to locally identified needs.
Since 2008, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the regional prefectures and the National Commission for Decentralized Cooperation, has been conducting a partnership policy with regional authorities based on an annual call for projects. It was decided, in 2013, to launch a joint French-Palestinian fund for local regional authorities in France and Palestine which will allow co-funding of decentralized aid projects selected by a joint committee in Ramallah.
The French Agency for Development (AFD) does not have a ‘one stop shop’ dedicated to the funding of decentralized cooperation projects. The mandate of the AFD is to support projects for the PA which meet the priorities set out in its action plan in the target sectors jointly chosen with the Palestinian Authority.The Ministry of Planning and Administrative Development (MoPAD) is responsible for coordinating the aid, and is the first contact point of the AFD to determine which projects to support as a priority. The MoPAD can be approached by ministries or governmental institutions (PWA, MDLF, etc.) in order to put forward projects for funding by the AFD.