"Quadrilogues" for universal access to basic services.
Timeframe: 2006 - ongoing
Initiator: Institut de la Gestion Déléguée (IGD) / French Institute for Public-Private Partnerships
Partners: Partnership for Municipal Development (PDM)
Association Nationale des Communes du Bénin (ANCB)
Union des Communes du Togo (UCT)
The "quadrilogues" set up by the Institut de la Gestion Déléguée involve a meeting in an informal and neutral setting, between the four principal categories of actors involved in the management of basic services: government administrations, local authorities, service operators (public and private) and user representatives. The stated principle is clear: in the attemps to find ways of providing universal access to basic services, everything is negotiable between the partie. The discussions allow each party to express what it expects from the others and explain the constraints it faces when attempting to meet their expectations. The objective is to develop a vision then a strategy which are shared by everyone in order to improve the organization and management of services in an approach which is pragmatic as regards the resources which are effectively available, but constructive in the medium term. Under these circumstances, the shared commitment of the players present can be formalized.
Access to essential services is first and foremost a matter of good coordination between all the stakeholders. The policies implemented in Africa as well as in other regions of the world with the assistance of international donors have, for many decades, helped to achieve considerable results but obviously not enough. To most of the stakeholders it is not a question of the level of funds as that of their use which is the key to development and improvement of basic services. Experience also shows that there is the need to revisit the manner in which the policies and projects are formulated in the field of basic services. The sense behind all these reflections is to promote greater coordination and cooperation between all the stakeholders from the definition phase of the objectives of the projects to their implementation.
The Quadrilogues are a new type of instrument whose project is to link up the various stakeholders of essential services. The initial premise is : to be able to develop and ensure the access of all to basic services, it is essential that all the stakeholders (central authorities, local authorities, operators of the services, users) share common references, adhere to the same objectives and act, in a concerted manner, within the framework of his responsibilities. It is, therefore, necessary that these stakeholders find the opportunity to meet and exchange more often beforehand, express their expectations to their partners and hear those of their partners, and to follow-up and assess the implementation. Yet, in most of the countries this dialogue does not exist and this encourages the accumulation of misunderstanding and leads to conflicting relationships.
The aim of the quadrilogue is to establish a link between the stakeholders. They are structured on procedures that leave the content to the initiative of the stakeholders: unlike the training sessions which target the dissemination of best practices, the quadrilogue encourages the exchange of experiences and the recognition of the expectations of all from each party. These principles are as follows:
- An informal meeting with a representative but small number of participants in order to create favourable conditions for exchanges
- No media coverage for debates in order to encourage the freedom of exchanges
- The representation of several sectors of basic services in order to promote a broad-based view of the challenges and generate comprehensive responses
- According equal value to the expectations of each of the stakeholders in order to identify all the challenges in all their dimensions
- Seek consensus whenever the need arises in order to deal with the clash of interests
- Organisation of debates should be entrusted to third parties which play the role of mediators
These quadrilogues should only be the first stage in the definition, organisation and participatory management of essential services. They will only achieve their objectives so long as the stakeholders are willing to continue the dialogue in an independent manner and by expanding it to the highest level which they shall agree upon.
Three quadrilogues have already been implemented in Benin (2006), in Ghana (2006) and in Togo (2007). In Togo, the quadrilogue resulted in (i) the elaboration of a National Charter for Basic Services and (ii) the creation of an Interministerial steering committe in charge of implementing this Charter.
For more information please visit the web site of the project (in french).