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University of Amsterdam (2019)

Local government capacity building through decentralized cooperation : a case study on the partnership between Tyre (Lebanon) and Zurich (Switzerland)

Hochuli L.

Titre : Local government capacity building through decentralized cooperation : a case study on the partnership between Tyre (Lebanon) and Zurich (Switzerland)

Auteur : Hochuli L.

Université de soutenance : University of Amsterdam

Grade : MSc International Development Studies 2019

Résumé
In late 2017, the city of Tyre and the city of Zurich entered into a city-to-city project partnership with the aim of mutual government capacity building through knowledge exchange focussing on the topics of slow traffic / soft mobility and refugee reception. This partnership offers an especially interesting case to study decentralized cooperation. Tyre hosts a large number of refugees and is characterized by a distinct multilevel governance context. Previous research has not focused on the interplay between decentralized cooperation and the dynamics of a multilevel governance context. Consequently, this thesis aimed at answering the following research question : How is the city-to-city project partnership between Zurich and Tyre situated within the multilevel governance context of the two cities and what is its potential for being instrumental to mutual local government capacity building, taking into account their respective governance contexts ? This research is based on in-depth expert interviews and participatory observation both in Tyre and Zurich, complemented by document analysis. Through thematic content analysis, this research shows that the multilevel governance dynamics prevailing in Tyre not only influence the current position of the Tyre municipality but also profoundly influence the partnerships’ setup and thematic focus. The partnership’s collaborative governance approach to government capacity building is new to Tyre and offers the potential for (mutual) learning. It can be instrumental for targeting obstacles stemming from the multilevel context. However, the interplay between the context and the partnership is not yet clearly addressed within the partnership leading to a diffusion of the partners’ roles and the levels of intervention, thus limiting the partnership’s potential for peer-to-peer learning. For the efforts of the partnership to be sustainably instrumental to government capacity building in such a complex context, these dynamics have to be systematically addressed and included.

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