Resource Guide on Decentralisation and Local Government

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Estimates suggest that decentralisation is currently being pursued in over 80 per cent of developing countries worldwide. For many people, local government is the part of government that most directly impacts on their lives, particularly via the provision of local services like water, sanitation, primary education and primary healthcare.

This resource guide provides practical guidance for designing, implementing and evaluating decentralisation reforms and local government practices to ensure they are as effective as possible. It also synthesises and presents current debates on the impact of decentralisation and local government on poverty reduction, service delivery and conflict as well as providing links to cuttingedge research and recent case studies.

The guide includes summaries of key texts. Each short summary provides a link to an extended summary which can be found in the alphabetised appendix.



Fiscal Decentralisation

In order for local governments to be able to embrace the potential of decentralisation in terms of poverty reduction, enhanced participation and improved local service delivery, they have to be adequately resourced. Fiscal decentralisation therefore involves important decisions about the assignment of central and local responsibilities as well as how these expenditure responsibilities should be financed. It is not solely about the transference of financial resources from one layer of government to another, it is also about the extent to which local authorities are able to make decisions themselves over the management and use of devolved resources and local revenues, and about how they account for those resources.


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