Union of Togolese Communes (UCT)

Region: 
Africa
Member since: 
February 2020

The Union of Communes of Togo (UCT) is an association – as recognized under the Law of Associations 1901 – created on May 31, 1996 by the mayors of 9 “full-fledged” communes (association declaration receipt #1346 MISD-SG-DASPC-DSC on August 29, 2001). The UCT today includes all 117 operational communes in the country (full list attached). Its main goals are to strengthen the capabilities of municipal agents and leaders, to promote both decentralisation, as well as its members on an national and international basis, and to develop intercommunal solidarity. Due to its strategic placement, the UCT is, in many ways, a link in the chain of collaboration between local communities and civil society, thus fostering partnerships between these two important development actors.

In terms of seminar planning, the UCT has proven experience. Every year, many trainings and workshops are organised for municipal agents and leaders on a variety of topics: creation of projects and of Communal Development Plans, local financial resource mobilisation, geographic information system (GIS) training, Togolese Essential Services Charter validation, on the impacts of climate change, etc. These events are co-financed by important technical and financial partners, such as the EU, the French Embassy to Togo’s Cultural Cooperation and Action Service (SCAC), the Yvelines General Council, the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF), the PROCEMA, the UEMOA, the UNDP, etc. The UCT also collaborates very closely with civil society organisations. In fact, the Network puts together numerous projects, namely the foundation of resource centres. These are co-financed by multiple partners, including the EU through a national call for projects, and are executed by a partnership of four local NGOs, namely Communication pour un Développement Durable (CDD) in Dapaong, ARCOD in Sokodé, and Recherche-Action pour un Développement Intégré (RADI) in Kpalimé. Born out of the realisation that local development actors and the general population in Togo have limited access to information about territorial development and decentralisation issues, this project has brought nearby services to local communities and to development actors through regional resource centres (CRR), whose main objective is to become reliable regional platforms for local development. Today, these CRRs are operational in regional capitals, with the exception of the maritime region which has the CRR at the UCT headquarters.

Still regarding the expertise which the UCT can boast due the many, close partnerships forged over the years, one must mention the quadrilogue. In fact, the quadrilogue process is a consultation framework involving multiple actors, specifically the State, the community, service operators, and users, in order to find concerted solutions so that each citizen can benefit from sustainable access to essential services (e.g. drinking water, sanitation, transport, health, telecommunication, energy). Stemming from their proximity to the population and their expertise in service provision, local communities, and particularly communes, are at the heart of local development. By having such a tool for collaboration at their disposal, they can then establish projects that are supported, at the same time, by all the local actors and respond to the needs and requirements of government officials. Moreover, by involving civil society in the reflection process, the poor and marginalised communities, such as the disabled, can be taken into consideration in development projects. Introduced in Togo since 2007 with the technical support from the Institute of Delegated Management in Paris (IGD) and the involvement of decentralised cooperation developed by the French department of Yvelines, the use of quadrilogue has been widespread throughout Togolese communes, thanks to the support from SCAC through the Urban Governance and Local Taxation project (GUFL). Local quadrilogues introduced in Togo since 2012 have demonstrated the particularities of the process: neighborhood committee remobilisation, population awareness about water health, construction of wells and gutter maintenance, etc. Some communes have even widened the scope of responsibility of their committees to make it into a genuine collaborative planning tool, where decisions and directions are then submitted to the municipal council.

Furthermore, the UCT today has at its disposal a strong partnership base thanks to German technical and financial cooperation, through GIZ and KFW, respectively. While eagerly participating in its partners’ activities, the UCT wants to rely on its already acquired know-how in matters of civil state (e.g. archiving, sensitisation, training) and local finances (e.g. taxpayer data, training, tax compliance, accountability) in order to be able to share experiences and replicate the project.