Understanding the transformation of relationships between territorial authorities, the State and supranational bodies

Relationships between territorial authorities and the State are mainly governed by a strict division of competencies and resources amongst the various levels of local authorities. The decentralisation process advocated by supranational bodies has strengthened the role of local authorities in many countries, but the level of financial, legal, regulatory and human resources available to them remains very uneven, and the actual impact of decentralisation--currently in flux--is an object of debate across the world.

A two-part question lies at the heart of this division of competencies: what is the pertinent level for decision-making and management of public policies? And how should the various levels be coordinated? This leads to a territorial and functional division that overlaps and combines with varying complexity depending on the country. In addition, local and territorial authorities act within a global context, so nowadays there is both more inter-city competition and more international dialogue between cities and between cities and supranational authorities. This dialogue is a sign of cities’ desire and capacity to position themselves beyond their administrative boundaries, a new element that affects relationships between local authorities and the State.

Texts gathered under this transition issue are intended to shed some light on the following questions:

10 dossiers