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Local Governance & Decentralisation

Seeding Change – Enabling local governments and key influencers across Asia to learn, share and collaborate on strengthening governance
LOGIN Asia, 2019
This booklet captures a few of the many ways in which LOGIN has contributed to creating a more vibrant space for citizens and local governments in Asia. It showcases how transformation is enabled once peers across borders commit themselves to partnerships that are grounded in experiantial learning.

The Local Business Environment and Decentralised Cooperation
National business environment reform does not always lead to an improvement of business conditions at the local level, but through decentralised cooperation, local and regional governments can lead reforms that support business growth, create jobs and drive innovation, writes Simon White in a new study published by PLATFORMA.
The first objective of this study is to show that improving local business environment requires building the capacity of local and regional governments in partner countries and promoting decentralisation reforms. The second objective is to show the potential contribution of decentralised cooperation to help local and regional governments undertake business environment reforms and advocate for decentralisation reforms.

Decentralised cooperation in the Mediterranean and the Middle East
The Tuscany Region & PLATFORMA, 2019
The Tuscany Region and PLATFORMA have recently published a mapping of Italian decentralised cooperation projects in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. It combines a quantitative analysis on the data relating to all cooperation projects promoted in the Mediterranean basin and a qualitative survey on some of the most significant experiences in this area.

Decentralised Cooperation To Achieve the 2030 Agenda
The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) & PLATFORMA, 2018
Development cooperation no longer lies only in the hands of public authorities. While non-governmental organisations might be the most traditional counterpart of governments in international aid and development cooperation in many countries, they are experiencing the rise of other players. How to put all these stakeholders together in order to create more efficient, coherent and complementary multistakeholder partnerships for decentralised cooperation? The authors explain with concrete examples and case studies how local and regional governments strive towards leading this new era of development cooperation. The objectives of this study are to reinforce the new and innovative landscape and alliances for decentralised cooperation, in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the EU answer to the territorial dimension.

European Union Support to Decentralisation Reform in Ukraine: a Peacebuilding Endeavour?
Berghof Foundation, 2017
The Scholarly Article on Governance Reform was produced as part of the project “Whole-­‐of-­‐Society Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding” (WOSCAP). It wants to contribute to the ongoing debate on the question of what role decentralisation can play in building sustainable peace, and under which conditions support to such reform efforts can be successful. More specifically, it aims to analyse the EU’s capabilities to support decentralisation reform in Ukraine through a whole-­‐of-­‐society centred peacebuilding lens.

Assessing the impact of governance programmes: GIZ support to citizen participation in local governance in Benin
DIE, 2018
This publication provides an exemplary impact assessment of a decentralisation programme in Benin. It analyses whether and how external support to citizen participation contributes to the quality of public services and local governance in the context of Benins decentralisation process. The study measures the effect of GIZ activities on the quality of selected citizen participation formats and evaluates the impact of these citizen participation formats on the quality of public service provision and local governance.

Maintaining the Momentum of Decentralisation in Ukraine
OECD, 2018
This Multi-level Governance Series study by OECD focuses on Ukraine’s advances in regional development, territorial reform and decentralisation since 2014. The Government launched a reform to merge local governments and strengthen the decentralisation process, giving additional power and resources to sub-national authorities. In a short period, successful steps have been taken toward achieving municipal mergers and greater fiscal, administrative and political decentralisation, complemented by the State Strategy for Regional Development 2015-2020.

The future is decentralised: Block chains, distributed ledgers & the future of sustainable development 
UNDP, 2018
Block chains can ease the frictions that prevent a vast array of sustainability, humanitarian, and environmental initiatives from fulfilling their potential.
This white paper explains how this unconventional technology works and how it is already being used to pursue conventional ends. It illustrates how block chains have brought new levels of efficiency and effectiveness to the fields of development aid, supply chain management, renewable energy, economic growth, and several others.

Devolution after Brexit – Managing the environment, agriculture and fisheries
Institute for Government, 2018
This report by the Institute for Government argues that after Brexit all four governments of the UK – Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Westminster – must go back to the drawing board to redefine their relationships. The authors argue that the devolution arrangements of the late 1990s were designed to function within membership of the EU. On that account, the report makes recommendations for how the four governments can work together now and after Brexit.

Community-driven development: Does it build social cohesion or infrastructure?
International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), 2018
This paper synthesises evidence on 23 community-driven development programmes. It examines whether programme objectives and design have changed over the decades and how effective community driven development (CDD) has been in improving outcomes. It combines narrative synthesis and meta-analysis to examine the impact of these programmes along
their causal chain.

“It is about time to promote policy and institutional coherence for the SDGs”
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), 2018
The SDGs are designed as “indivisible” and this means that each Goal needs the involvement of several or many sectors at several levels. This paper by
the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) suggests combining nine different approaches to promote coherence for implementation of the SDGs, and outlines ten recommendations for achieving these goals.

Decentralization and redistribution: irrigation reform in Pakistan’s Indus basin
World Bank (2018)
This paper examines a governance reform in Pakistan’s vast Indus Basin irrigation system and raises the question whether decentralising the allocation of public resources reduces rent-seeking and improves equity. Using canal discharge measurements across all of Punjab province, the analysis finds that water theft increased on channels taken over by local farmer organisations compared with channels that remained bureaucratically managed, leading to substantial wealth redistribution. The increase in water theft was greater along channels with larger landowners situated upstream. These findings are consistent with a model in which decentralisation accentuates the political power of local elites by shifting the arena in which water rights are contested.

Successfully promoting decentralisation: the potential of the multi-stakeholder approach
Lisa Groß, German Development Institute (DIE), Briefing Paper 2/2018
Sustainable Development Goal 17 assigns an important role to multi-stakeholder approaches in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Multi-stakeholder approaches aim to involve all stakeholders from politics, civil society and the private sector that are relevant for a reform process. In this publication, the advantages and impacts of a multi-stakeholder approach in decentralisation programmes are discussed. The paper argues that the multi-stakeholder approach supports the effectiveness as well as the sustainability of decentralisation and that the horizontal as well as vertical cooperation in the multi-level system is important when promoting decentralisation.

Making Decentralisation Work in Chile: Towards Stronger Municipalities
OECD (2017)
This report examines the multi-level governance framework in Chile. It provides a diagnosis of the strengths and challenges of the Chilean multi-level governance system and includes comparative data and a set of benchmarks to promote the exchange of good practices and foster learning. It offers recommendations on how to further improve the system, with a particular focus on strengthening and modernising municipalities in the context of Chile’s decentralisation reforms.

Multi-level Governance Reforms: Overview of OECD Country Experiences
I. Chatry et C. Hulbert, OECD (2017)
This report provides an overview of past, recent and current multi-level governance reforms in OECD countries, focussing on their institutional and territorial dimensions. It describes the rationale for different reforms, as well as their characteristics and outcomes. It also focuses on the obstacles faced by governments in reform design and implementation, and on solutions identified to overcome them, as past reforms´ successes and failures can provide guidance to policy makers for future multi-level governance reforms. While analyzing reform processes While analyzing reform processes in all OECD countries, this report focuses in particular on Finland, France, Italy, Japan and New Zealand, which have experienced over time several multi-level governance reforms, sometimes with mixed results.

Decentralisation in Morocco: The Current Reform and its Possible Contribution to Political Liberalisation
Houdret A. and Harnisch A., German Development Institute (DIE), Discussion Paper No. 11 (2017)
In reaction to the political unrest of 2011, the government and King of Morocco promised new laws for decentralisation reform intended to enhance the political participation of the population and make the work of state institutions more efficient and transparent. Six years later however, it is evident that the process of implementation has been delayed significantly. Against the background of international experiences in this field, this discussion paper reveals three bundles of factors that need to improve to make decentralization work and enhance the chances for political liberalization.

Decentralisation in Togo: The Contribution of ICT-based Participatory Development Approaches to Strengthening Local Governance
Anita Breuer et. al. , German Development Institute (DIE), Discussion Paper No. 6 (2017)
The findings of the current study serve as a contribution to the discussion of the potential of ICT-based participatory development approaches in strengthening local governance in general, as well as the basis for specific recommendations for the further development of the KfW’s ICT-based citizen participation platform in Togo in particular. To this purpose, the study uses social network analysis (SNA) to investigate the state of decentralisation in Togo by analysing the degree of local government discretion and downward accountability.

SDC Policy: Decentralisation, Democratisation and Local Governance
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), (2016)
This policy paper defines the SDC´s orientation and scope in the area of democratisation, decentralisation and local governance (DDLG). It is a normative document for the SDC and serves as a reference for partner organisations, but also for relevant departments of the Federal Administration and the wider development community. It describes the SDC’s underlying development vision and positioning in this thematic area, explains the principles that guide the agency´s work and spells out main thematic priorities and strategic approaches.

Global Stocktake of UNICEF Engagement in Decentralisazation and Local Governance, 2011-2015
Marija de Wijn, UNICEF (2016)
The purpose of this stocktake is to provide an overview of UNICEF DLG programming, to inform the development of a strategic Executive Summary framework and to strengthen UNICEF’s DLG work around the world, building on CO best practices and experience. At the same time, this report may also be useful to external stakeholders, including development partners, who seek to understand UNICEF work in this area.

Providing EU Budget Support in decentralised contexts: A methodological note
European Commission (2016)
The purpose of this note is to provide complementary analytical guidance for the design of European Union (EU) Budget Support operations in decentralised Partner countries.

Supporting decentralisation, local governance and local development through a territorial approach
European Commission Reference Document Nr. 23 (2016)
This EC Guidance Note aims to clarify how a territorial approach to local development (TALD), driven by developmental LAs, could be promoted through EU-supported programmes and projects with a view to promoting economic development, social cohesion and environmental sustainability.

Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2016
OECD (2016)
This second edition of Job Creation and Local Economic Development examines how national and local actors can better work together to support economic development and job creation at the local level. It sheds light on a continuum of issues – from how skills policy can better meet the needs of local communities to how local actors can better engage employers in apprenticeships and improve the implementation of SME and entrepreneurship policy. It includes international comparisons that allow local areas to take stock of how they are performing in the marketplace for skills and jobs. It also includes a set of country profiles featuring, among other things, new data on skills supply and demand at the level of OECD sub-regions

How “Participatory Governance” Strengthens Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Electoral Authoritarian Oaxaca, Mexico
Benton, Allyson Lucinda; GIGA (2016)
The study supports research revealing the anti-democratic effects of participatory institutions in democratic Latin American nations. Building on research on political decentralization in authoritarian regimes, the author argue that participatory institutions can be used to channel citizen demands and to incorporate citizens into authoritarian systems, thereby strengthening authoritarian rule. However, following research on democratic participatory governance, she also argue that participatory institutions will work better in this regard when designed from the bottom up rather than from the top down.

Sub-National Governance in Afghanistan
Aarya Nijat, Kristof Gosztonyi, Basir Feda, and Jan Koehler (2016)
This issues paper, by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit and the Afghanistan through the Governance Forum Afghanistan (“Govern4Afg”) programme, presents the challenges and opportunities for improving sub-national governance in the country. The paper also provides empirical evidence and conclusions regarding village and district representation in Afghanistan.  The authors consider subnational governance structures at provincial, district and municipal levels that are either part of or significantly regulated by the state. Thereby, the paper puts a focus particularly on the influensive shura structure, in which both traditional as well as modern Afghan governance is intertwined, as a key area for potential subnational governance reform.

Humanitarian responses by local actors: Lessons learned from managing the transit of migrants and refugees through Croatia
Maren Larsen, Elma Demir, Maja Horvat; IIED (2016)
The Croatian Government managed the transit of 650,000 migrants and refugees in late 2015 and early. This paper analyses the impact of the crises and derives that the decentralisation of resources and capacities in sectors relevant to managing shorter-term humanitarian emergencies or longer-term integration of new citizens is difficult within the current structure of local self-governance in Croatia. Therefore, enhancing the role of local authorities in such situations would likely need to be accompanied by institutional reforms or mechanisms ranging from shared services, to regrouping of functions, or long-discussed administrative and territorial re-organisation in Croatia.

Considering the state: perspectives on South Sudan’s subdivision and federalism debate
Mareike Schomerus and Lovise Aalen; ODI (2016)
The report analyses the new changes in the South Sudan’s administrative structure. It recommends what might be the best structure for South Sudan. In 2015 the number of states was increased from 10 to 28. Decentralisation and Federalism are discussed in countries’ context. Especially the relationship between the central and newly constructed local structure is discussed. This report is a practical example of decentralisation which applies theories of deconcentration and devolution in the context of South Sudan.

A Governance Practitioner’s Notebook: Alternative Ideas and Approaches
Alan Whaites, Eduardo Gonzales, Sara Fyson and Graham Teskey (OECD/GOVNET) (2015)

Decentralization in Ethiopia – Who Benefits?
Chaurey, R. and Mukim, M. (2015)
This paper shows that greater autonomy to cities in Ethiopia, given through a process of city proclamations, led to better economic outcomes at the city level, lowering regional spatial inequalities. Further, it concludes that these newly empowered cities did not misuse their new powers by favouring particular companies over others. According to this paper, increasing administrative powers played an important part in making Ethiopian cities more competitive.

Local Governments: Legitimate Actors for Development
UCLG & CIB (2015)

Decentralization in the Mashrek Region
Platforma (2015)
Decentralization has been one of the main Tools advocated in recent years as a process for empowering local communities to engage more effectively in leading their own processes development, improve Service delivery, enhance social cohesion and, above all, Support fundamental democratic changes. Many of these objectives have guided international aid programs in recent years. This paper aims at looking at how such processes have fared in the context of the Mashrek region of the Near East, with strong lessons learned for future aid programs, particularly those supported through the EU and other European bilateral programs. A broad review of current issues and themes has been presented to allow both regional stakeholders and European ones to open a discussion on the issue and build new visions and entry points for framing further cooperation on the issue.

Infrastructure Asset Management: Can the Canadian Municipal Experience Help Inform Better Practices in Southeast Asia?
ADB (2015)

Timor-Leste: The Adventurous Tribulations of Local Governance After Independence
Rui Graça Feijó (2015)
Although decentralisation has been a constitutional mandate since Timor-Leste’s independence, the implementation of the reform process has proved to be very difficult. Based on own field research and a literature review, the author of this paper analyses the different policy options for policy-makers on both the theoretical level by distinguishing between the various forms of decentralisation and on the empirical level. Furthermore, the implications of those policy options for the democratisation process at the intermediate, district and grassroots village level are analysed and discussed.

African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development
African Union (2014)

20th by 2020 – Buthan’s drive for improved governance
ADB (2014)
The questions that this publication tackles are: (a) why focus on Bhutan’s efforts at strengthening governance; (b) what is it about Bhutan’s performance in instituting good governance in general, and in tackling corruption in particular, that merits attention; and (c) what specific areas could the government focus on for further improvements?

The Role of Decentralisation/Devolution in Improving Development Outcomes at the Local Level: Review of the Literature and Selected Cases
Local Development International LLC; DFID (2013)
Public sector decentralisation has become a global phenomenon. Many countries pursue it with the stated intention(s) of improving service delivery, enhancing governance and accountability, increasing equity, and/or promoting a more stable state, among others. Despite the level of attention that decentralisation receives, our systematic practical knowledge about it is modest. In recent years efforts have intensified to better understand how decentralisation performs on the ground. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) plays a leading role in supporting decentralisation and is increasingly promoting the use of evidence in targeting development assistance. This review assesses what existing literature has to say about how decentralisation affects development outcomes, broadly defined.

La descentralización y el financiamiento de políticas sociales eficaces: impactos, desafíos y reformas. El caso de la Argentina
UN ECLAC / GIZ (2013)
The study assesses decentralisation processes in Argentina. It details the changes in decentralisation modes over the last ten years and investigates the role of each level of government in the design, implementation and financing of social policies. The history of decentralisation in Argentina has been characterised by the dominance of fiscal constraints on the design of sectoral policies and, consequently, there has been a lack of coordination mechanisms of social services among different levels of government. This has had a negative impact on the provision of services and caused inequality between territories. The authors argue that there has not been sufficient attention to the institutional and financial capacity of each government in respect to their assigned responsibilities, neither have necessary policies for the coordination between territories and compensation from the central level been developed.

Decentralisation, Civil Society Institutions and Citizens’ Participation on the Level of the Commune (Jamoāt) in Tajikistan
INEF (2013)
This working paper is concerned on the one hand with the process of decentralisation, with all its contradictions, in Tajikistan. This, despite intensive international support and a statement of commitment which was in fact issued years ago by the government, is only progressing slowly, and when this paper was finished even partial fiscal decentralisation was far from being achieved. The paper is concerned on the one hand with the collective and individual opportunities for involvement of the population on local processes of decision in the context of the organisation of society in Tajikistan. A further publication will deal with the execution of concrete development projects on the level of the rural commune (Jamoāt) and individual villages (kishlak). The results summarised here are based on the one hand on a secondary analysis of the most important literature, which includes not only legal texts but also unpublished studies and assessments of various donor organisations on the topic of communal development. Moreover, a total of five project-related trips were made, particularly to the regions of Khatlon and Gorno Badakhshan, as well as three external evaluations, in Sughd and Khatlon amongst others.

Decentralizing for Development: The developmental potential of local autonomy and the limits of politicsdriven decentralization reforms
ICLD (2013)
This paper points at the missing link between decentralization and local development in so many countries whose decentralization reforms are driven by political rather than developmental goals. It suggests that decentralization reforms in developing countries could be better designed, sustained, and externally supported, if understood as domestic efforts to build “developmental states”, rather than attempts to implement an international “good governance” agenda.

Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes
EC (2013)
The European Commission released a communication specifically stressing the importance of decentralisation and strengthening local governments in order to foster more effective development outcomes. The publication is directly addressing European policy makers and calling for using a territorial approach to development. It recognizes the potential of local authorities to ensure social inclusion, to overcome or prevent fragility and to enhance the overall social and ecological resilience of a country system.

Localizing Development – Does Participation Work?
World Bank (2013)
The report briefly reviews the history of participatory development and argues that its two modalities, community-based development and local decentralization, should be treated under the broader unifying umbrella of local development. It suggests that a distinction between organic participation (endogenous efforts by civic activists to bring about change) and induced participation (large-scale efforts to engineer participation at the local level via projects) is key, and focuses on the challenges of inducing participation.

Local and community governance for peace and development in Nepal
DIE (2013)
The end of the ten-year-long armed conflict between the Maoists and the government and the peace agreements of late 2006 brought widespread hope for a more inclusive and well-governed Nepal. However, six years later in early 2013, the failure to produce the promised new constitution and an alarming deterioration of governance have exhausted the hope of most Nepalis. In 2011/12 the author carried out a study to examine the contribution of local and community-level governance for promoting peace and development during Nepal’s post-conflict transition and beyond. The study also examined in detail the performance of four donor-supported programmes for local governance, poverty alleviation and peace building. This book presents the findings of the study and provides many insights into the situation of chronic political instability and the possibilities for fostering good governance, peace and development in Nepal.

Central Control and Local Welfare Autonomy in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau
Lo, Sonny (2013)

Every Development Is Local”: Why Local Public Governance is Key to Achieving Human Development Goals
UNDP (2012)

Decentralisation in Turkey
AfD (2012)

Deconcentration and Decentralization Reforms in Cambodia: Recommendations for an Institutional Framework
ADB (2011)

Local Governments and Indigenous Peoples
UNDP (2011)

An Unbreakable Path? A Comparative Study of Decentralization and Local Government Development Trajectories in Ghana and Uganda
Nicholas Awortwi (2011)

Governance of Public Policies in Decentralised Contexts: the Multi-Level Approach
OECD (2011)

Decentralisation Processes in Developing and Transition Countries: Evidence Based Lessons Learnt
SDC (2011)

SDC Support for Sustainable Local Government Finances
SDC (2011)

GOLD II: Local Government Finance: The Challenges of the 21st Century
UCLG (2010)

Efffective Aid through Municipal Contracting
VNGi (2010)
This document aims to provide a better understanding of the Municipal Contract model as an aid modality for supporting local governments. This includes an overview of results and lessons learned with the actual implementation of Municipal Contracts in a selection of countries and a critical analysis of the model in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

From Political Won’t to Political Will – Building Support for Participatory Governance
Civicus (2009)

Mind the gaps: Managing Mutual Dependence in Relations among Levels of Government
OECD (2009)

Impact of the financial crisis on decentralisation processes – Literature Review
Karem Roitman (2009)
Through a broad literature review, this Review contributes to the identification of possible entry points to mitigate the effects of the current global financial crisis (GFC) while ensuring macro economic stability and proper functioning of public services.

Sourcebook of donor approaches to governance assessments
OECD (2009)
The Sourcebook is divided in two parts: Part I explains why donors assess governance, what they assess and how they assess. Part II provides a succinct overview of the tools and methodologies that aid agencies have reported during the survey carried out around 2007

Contribution of Decentralized Cooperation to Decentralization in Africa
UNDP (2008)

From Porto Alegre to Europe: Potentials and Limitations of Participatory Budgeting
Yves Sintomer, Carsten Herzberg, Anja Röcke (2008)
Participatory budgets have been one of the most successful participatory instruments of the past 15 years. Ever since it was invented in Latin America, it spread over the entire globe.

The Role of Civil Society in Decentralisation and Alleviating Poverty. An exploratory case study from Tanzania
Walter Egli  and Dieter Zürcher (2007)

Local level service delivery, decentralisation and governance. A comparative study of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania Education, Health and Agriculture Sectors – Synthesis Report.
Per Tidemand, Jesper Steffensen and Hans Bjorn Olsen (2007)
Decentralisation reforms are currently ongoing in the majority of developing countries. The nature of reforms varies greatly – ranging from mundane technical adjustments of the public administration largely in the form of deconcentration to radical redistribution of political power between central governments and relatively autonomous local governments. This document is a synthesized final report of a comprehensive comparative study of the Health, Education and Agriculture sectors of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya and provides a basic comparative analysis of the forms and processes of decentralisation in those countries.

Supporting Decentralisation and Local Governance in Third Countries
European Commission (2007)
This Reference document tries to provide strategic and operational guidance on how best to support processes of DLG in third countries and how to ensure that EC support to sector policies (eg. in health, education, water & sanitation) take into account and reinforce ongoing decentralisation processes.

Lessons Learned on Donor Support to Decentralisation and Local Governance
OECD (2004)

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