The Observatory for Decentralised Cooperation, integrated by the Barcelona Provincial Council and the municipality of Montevideo, was created in March 2005 in response to the need to collect, systematize, investigate, propose and announce conceptions and practices of public decentralised cooperation between the European Union and Latin America. This need, supported in the Conference on the Local Partnership between the European Union and Latin America (Valparaíso, March 2004), led the European Commission conceive, within the framework of the URB–AL program, the creation of an Observatory for Decentralised Cooperation between both regions. Almost 20 years later, the Observatory has become an outstanding hub in the analysis of the decentralised cooperation and the international action of local governments, contributing to develop a framework of interpretation, identify trends about those phenomena and valorise it. 

In these years, the Observatory has focused its activity in the study of the European and Latin American experience in decentralised cooperation. However, the new context of international agreements and the evolution of the decentralised cooperation, had led the Observatory to adapt the traditional contents to the new challenges that suppose the international scene and the new global agendas, and expand their influence area to other regions.

Objectives and thematic areas

The main objectives of the Observatory are:

  • Enforce the role of regional and local governments and their associations in the framework of shared governance and the international decision making processes.
  • Encourage and support the implementation of global agendas at the local level and especially related with the localisation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
  • Favour the exchange of experiences and improve the capacities of local and regional governments and their associations in their role to promote the implementation of global development agendas at the local level.
  • Deepen the work of decentralised cooperation between local and sub-national governments as a key instrument in the public policies of development

The thematic areas of action of the Observatory are:

  • Localisation of global agendas: encourage and give support to the implementation of global agendas at the local level, especially in relation with the 2030 Agenda, through the creation of contents and the capacitation of local sphere.
  • Local and multilevel governance: analyse the role of local and regional governments and their associations in the framework of shared competences and the decision making processes. 
  • Triangular cooperation: provide contextual and practical elements to deepen in the cooperation between local or subnational governments increase the geographic areas and promote new lines of triangular cooperation action. 
  • Effectiveness of the aid: analyse, promote and evaluate the effectiveness of the aid with the purpose of reach more accountability and transparency. 

Likewise, analyse the evolution of decentralised cooperation through the international action of subnational governments, taking advantage of the experience accumulated by the Observatory and reproducing activities and the successful good practices done during these years.

The Observatory focuses his work in activities of analysis and investigation, publication, training and good practices related to the local and regional governments and their associations.