Spain, previously a highly centralized nation, has become in recent years one of the most decentralized states in the world, following the democratic Constitution of 1978. The decentralization of most governmental processes required a new model of intergovernmental relations, a model based on coordination and cooperation. SpainExchange proposed to present Spain 's model of cooperation through the training program entitled Regional Development Cooperation , in the city of Madrid and three other Spanish municipalities from the 18th through the 24th of April of 2004. The program sponsored by World Learning Inc. was designed for a group of 16 Croatian local officials. Although the program proposed by SpainExchange was approved for implementation, it was immediately rescinded by the funding source due to the terrorist attack in Madrid on March 11th.
The overall objective of the training program was stated in the Request for Training Proposal: "to increase the efficiency of service delivery of the part of local governments through better communication, coordination of efforts between the local and central government, and increased cooperation among different regions." This objective would have been met in Spain through lectures, institutional and site visits, case studies, and organized lunches with local officials and members of local associations.
Two short lectures by the central administration personnel in Madrid would have given the training participants the background information needed to understand the country's central, regional and local government structures and its systems of administrative coordination and cooperation. A third short talk on the first day would be scheduled to provide a practical example of cooperation between regional and local governments in areas related to security and community services.
Following the program requirements, 3 site visits to municipalities of fewer than 20,000 inhabitants in provinces of 3 different regions would be scheduled. The participants would have the opportunity to meet with representatives of local government and discuss issues of intergovernmental cooperation, as well as to establish contacts with counterparts who have developed strong models of cooperation in Spain.
The case studies would have presented specific models of successful cooperation. The first case was related to infrastructures and presented issues of cooperation and coordination between local, regional and central governments. The second case presented the Consortium as a tool of cooperation for municipalities and economic development for the region. A third case introduced a project of economic revitalization of a historical region involving 18 municipalities of 3 provinces in 2 different autonomous communities (or regions).
Three organized lunches with local officials and representatives of local associations would have further afforded the opportunity to establish contacts with local officials and associations to exchange ideas and to establish long-lasting relationships with Spanish counterparts.
Through the activities outlined for the program and the contacts made in Spain , we had anticipated that the Croatian delegation would have returned to their respective entities with clear and practical information regarding a modern European system of local and central government cooperation and with ideas on models to be developed for their communities in Croatia.
If you have a program or project that you wish to develop in Spain, please feel free to contact us to request additional information or an estimate.