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.



Participation and Accountability

One of the key arguments in favour of decentralisation is that it can improve participation; as government is ‘closer to the people’ citizens are more likely, able and empowered to participate in political life and government is therefore held to better account. The resources below consider the impact of decentralisation on political participation and outline key mechanisms to improve participation and accountability at a local level. Several resources focus on the participation of groups who are often excluded from local political processes, in particular women.


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