In recent decades, local actors have begun to play a greater role in international relations. Thanks to globalisation and the new mass media, there has been a noticeable increase in the instances of contact between towns and cities in different parts of the planet. One form of contact between these actors is through decentralised cooperation.

Bearing in mind the place occupied by international cooperation in the framework of cooperation for development, the General Directorate for International Cooperation (DGCIN) includes decentralised cooperation as one of its areas of activity. It takes into account the policies established by the national government, which has as one of its principles the need to forge relationships with other nations on the basis of the concepts of equity, horizontality and equality, in order to attain shared goals in pursuit of fostering the autonomous development of the peoples that will guarantee the social inclusion of all sectors.

Strictly speaking, decentralised cooperation is cooperation between the sub-state administrations (provinces, municipal districts, departments, regions, federated states, communities, local authorities, cantons, etc.) of different countries, which have the capacity to forge links based on horizontal relationships for their mutual benefit. It encourages technical collaboration with a view to ensuring reciprocal advantages for the parties involved. The projects are co-financed (although not necessarily in equal parts) by those local governments that wish to link the strong and weak points of their respective territories in such a way that they complement each other and thus contribute to their development.

This form of relationship helps to encourage exchange and strategic alliances as equals on technical and organisational matters while fostering the establishment of political and institutional relations rooted in the closest territorial aspect to the inhabitants of the communities.

Creating links of decentralised cooperation helps to establish an integrated approach to local development, which includes the economic, social, cultural, environmental, institutional and human development of the territories concerned. These links must be related to the foreign policy of the nation states.

Since 2003, the General Directorate of International Cooperation has been permanently engaged in generating possible scenarios in which to promote decentralised cooperation in support of the local governments concerned. It thus facilitates and encourages ties between actors from Argentina’s provincial and municipal governments and their peers from local governments, principally from Europe and Latin America, in work with our representations abroad.