ten this phase and how to rapidly generalize lower cost alternatives?
  • What are the political and institutional pre-conditions that an "enabling environment" would have to set up?
  • How to start a learning by doing process?
  • How to best help building a local planning/implementation capability?
  • How to best involve civil society organizations?
  • How to obtain a better convergence of external financing in assisting local development programmes?
  • What could be the role of projects, with respect, in particular, to the setting of the "rules of the games"?

    A more general question which is raised for possible discussions in the workshops regards the relevance of this approach which could become a backbone of the Convention.
    Is this approach relevant, taking into account Governments resistances to effective local democracy?
    Will the developped countries support a pro-democracy conditionnality of aid? Is this approach reallistic and feasible?
    We argue that such an approach should be firmly supported as it could be a start up for a long term process of bottom up democratization.
    Democracy is a necessary component - and condition - of sustainable development.
    Lessons from early rise of democracy remind us the basic of an actual grassroot participation.

    Let us quote A. de Tocqueville's statement in " On Democracy in America " :

    "The "commune "is the only form of association that is so much a part of nature that where ever men are gathered together, a "commune" comes into being by itself..But although the "commune" has existed as long as mankind, communal freedom is a rare and fragile thing...
    It is the continual action of laws and customs, circumstances and, above all time, that consolidates communal freedom. Of all the nations of the continent of Europe, it may well be said that not a single one of them knows such freedom.....
    Noneless, it is in the "commune" that the strength of a free people resides. A nation without communal institutions may give itself a free government, but it will lack the spirit of freedom...
    Now take away the strength and independance of the "commune", and you will find nothing but governed men and never citizens."

    Rome, 31 May 1996