Sign Protocols of Operations Where Competence Shall Be Transferred to Municipalities and Regions (BF0001)
Action Plan: Burkina Faso Action Plan 2017-2019
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Ministry of territorial administration and decentralization (MATD)
Support Institution(s): All relevant ministries, territorial communities and their umbrella structures, CIFOEB, Labocitoyenneté
Policy AreasCapacity Building, Fiscal Transparency, Subnational, Sustainable Development Goals
What is the public issue for which the commitment is made to address?: Incomplete transfer of competence to territorial communities (CT); What is the commitment?: Issue: Raise the awareness of local stakeholders in the exercise of their powers; Overall objective: Improve local governance Expected outcome: The 21 protocols of operations relating to the transfer of competence are signed.; How will this commitment contribute towardsaddressing the public issue?: The transfer of competence shall be completed only if eleven (11) operation protocols are signed between governors and mayors of their respective regions, on one hand and ten (10) operation protocols are signed between governors and the presidents of regional councils, on the other hand. The commitment shall enable: • Local stakeholders to gather necessary resources to satisfy the needs of local populations; • Territorial communities and citizens to know the budget allotted by the government to each territorial community and area of competence; • The record of assets to be transferred to each area of competence • The ministry to transfer actually financial resources to territorial communities To implement this commitment, the following shall be done: • Make an inventory of the assets to be transferred to territorial communities • Validate the general inventory report • Make models of operation protocols available to local stakeholders; Why is this commitment relevant in terms of OGP values?: This commitment is relevant because it enables: • The accountability of local representatives towards citizens; • The liability of local representatives for the management of areas transferred; • An improved civic participation at local level; Additional information: • the budget of inventory and dissemination of protocols signed: • in line with the item 1 of PNDES • in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1 to 15 • in line with CSMOD • in line with PADEL • in line with local development plans (PCD and PRD)
IRM Midterm Status Summary
1. Sign protocols of operations to perform in the 21 areas where competencies shall be transferred to municipalities (11) and regions (10)
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:
“Sign protocols of operations to perform in the 21 areas where competence shall be transferred to municipalities (11) and regions (10)”
Issue: Raise the awareness of local stakeholders in the exercise of their powers
Overall objective: Improve local governance
Expected outcome: The 21 protocols of operations relating to the transfer of competence are signed.
Validate the general inventory report of assets to be transferred to territorial communities
Initiate interdepartmental orders relating to public assets allocation to territorial communities
Sign twenty-one (21) operation protocols
Start Date: November 2017 End Date: June 2019
Action Plan is available here
Context and Objectives
This commitment addresses the incomplete transfer of competencies and financial resources from the central government to territorial municipalities. Twenty-one decrees govern these competence and resources transfers; yet, territorial communities are unaware of the content of their new powers.  Transfers are also ineffective because: budget classifications are not well suited to manage transferred funds; the resources transferred place financial burdens of those who conduct these duties in the field;  local agencies are reluctant in implementing laws; and there are difficulties in passing and executing the transfer agreements. 
According to Burkina Faso’s Government Information Service, other factors have hindered the process. The multiplicity of involved actors delays the transfer; there is a mismatch between resources allocated and the financial needs on the ground; and the territories prepare their budget in October, two months before the adoption of the finance law, which contains key data for budget planning and impacts the final amount of resources disbursed.  This timing prevents territorial communities from knowing the budget and resources the central government allocates. It also undermines local officials’ accountability for their budget management because they do not know the resources they will be allocated.
To that end, the commitment’s objective is to enhance local governance and get governors, mayors, and presidents of regional councils to sign 21 protocols of operations that will make the transfer of competencies operational. This will require the central government to fully transfer economic resources.
The protocols will also help identify the responsibilities of asset management and competencies of the central government, regions, and territorial communities.  By signing the protocols of operation, territorial communities commit to developing an action plan, allocating a budget line for asset management, and abiding to a code of conduct. 
The commitment’s relevance to OGP values is unclear. While the commitment’s design assumes that the protocols will be available for local stakeholders, the activities and implementation approach of the commitment is mainly focused on preparing and signing the protocols. These are internally facing actions.
According to government officials interviewed for this report, the Government of Burkina Faso will also disclose budget data on territorial communities’ assets through the Assets Inventory General Report. This document will list the movable and immovable property of each municipality and the methods and challenges faced during the transfer.  However, this is not mentioned in the commitment. Both government and CSO representatives interviewed for this report claim that the protocols will enable citizens to submit complaints and demand the effective transfer of resources in case it does not take place. 
A representative of Open Burkina Project, a CSO directly involved in promoting transparency, accountability, and civic participation, believes that officials will no longer be able to blame budget gaps on insufficient resources from the central government.  Therefore, local authorities will be fully accountable to their citizens on budget management, although there is no specific mention on how they will be accountable before the law. 
As written in the action plan, this commitment is verifiable as the commitment has a measurable, quantifiable target: the signatures of 21 operations protocols relating to transfer of competencies and resources from central government to territorial communities. Out of these protocols, 11 are between regional governors and mayors and 10 are between regional governors and the presidents of regional councils.
The goal is to enable territorial communities to have full management of their resources and enforce accountability of local authorities. However, the activities are limited to creating the legal and operational framework for transferring assets and resources to the territorial communities. While a positive step toward effective transfers, the commitment activities do not significantly address other constraints faced by the decentralization process (e.g., inconsistencies in allocated funds and the financial burdens of implementation). Therefore, the code of potential impact for this commitment is minor.
The relevance of this commitment is unclear. As designed in the action plan, the commitment’s activities focus on preparing and signing protocols, which are internally facing actions. The commitment itself focuses on the formalization of legal agreements without any elements of disclosure, participation, or accountability.
Although the commitment addresses an important policy area, the proposed activities do not confront the main constraints of the decentralization process at the local level.
A commitment that links the effort to formalize protocols to a participatory budget cycle and public accountability mechanism at the local level, will not only make this commitment relevant to OGP values but also would increase its ambition. A more ambitious version of this commitment would be one that considers including the following recommendations:
- The commitment focuses on empowering local authorities and stakeholders to effectively carry out the decentralization process (as opposed to focusing on the activities to achieve this as an end in itself). For example, instead of seeing the adoption of protocols as the objective, this could be one of the milestones that would allow local constituencies to be empowered to implement the decentralization process.
- The milestones should address the roots of the problem. Good problem identification at the co-creation stage remains key.
- Signature of protocols of operation within a specific timeframe.
- Establishing a coordinating committee or working group to identify and work toward the amendment of internal, administrative, and procedural barriers that limit the operational transfer of competencies. This working group can include representatives from all levels of government involved in the transfer process.
- Setting up a participatory budget exercise at the local level to include citizens and local authorities in budget discussions and decision-making. Consider alignment with the national budget process timeline to address issues mentioned above. Note that Commitment 13 (Arranging Areas for Community Dialogue and Questioning on Local Budget Management EDIC) suggests a similar process. Consider a commitment that joins both Commitments 13 and 1.
- Establishing a mechanism through which citizens can participate in oversight activities on budget planning and management. A public accountability mechanism would need to include a channel for citizens to provide input and for the local and central governments to respond.
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