Under the legislative framework of the Thiollière Act (2007) and the Oudin Santini Act (adopted in 2005), the members of the French Water Partnership have pursued decentralized cooperation initiatives with their partners in developing countries. More broadly, they work to develop decentralized solidarity mechanisms at the international scale, between regions and between local authorities, by combining forces with their European and international partners.
According to the members of the French Water Partnership, cooperation among local authorities is an innovative tool for :
• Strengthening cooperation among regions and the exchange of expertise (among developed countries, among developing countries and between developed and developing countries).
Decentralized cooperation allows local authorities in developed countries to provide support to local authorities in developing countries and to promote exchanges between professionals in developed and developing countries, helping to strengthen and improve the management of water and sanitation services in these towns. This type of cooperation can be expanded to promote exchanges among developing countries themselves, thus fostering strong, lasting diplomatic ties among regions and local authorities ;
• Strengthening local authorities’ capacities in water management through the effective decentralization of water and sanitation services.
Decentralized cooperation seeks to strengthen the role of local authorities in order to foster the management of services in a local, participatory and sustainable fashion ;
• Ensure access to drinking water and sanitation for all, with the support of innovative financing mechanisms : The Oudin Santini law allows French local authorities to earmark up to 1% of their revenue from water and sanitation services for international solidarity initiatives within the same sector. Local authorities can bring in other financial partners, in particular Water Agencies, in order to expand and diversify these sources of funding.