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Local Governance and Decentralization

Local governance indicators may inform local policy and strengthen local accountability. Local governance assessment also may be useful at national level in order to enhance decentralization policies, strengthen capacites and compare trends across cities or districts.  

Local governance assessments can be useful for: 

  • Capturing gaps and constraints in policy implementation;
  • Identifying specific capacity building needs and monitoring results of capacity building efforts;
  • Formulating change plans and soliciting donor or peer assistance for improving specific aspects of governance;
  • Creating a platform to involve civil society and the private sector in local governance;
  • Providing an objective account of achievements of local elected leaders, especially at times of re-elections, and thus building accountability.

When assessing local governance, a need also may exist for pro-poor and gender-sensitive indicators. For example, while in theory local governance has the potential to be more inclusive of women, the reality is that in many instances the actual participation rate of women remains low due to “time poverty”. In most countries, traditional family roles require women generally to fulfill all or nearly all household and childcare responsibilities. For women who also work outside of the home, there can be little time left to be involved in local government activities. Indicators that capture the views and needs of traditionally marginalized groups such as women and the poor can play a significant role in guiding policies to promote equality, inclusiveness and local development.

Examples of Initiatives

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