Decentralized Governance Programme
Description of the online resources available up to February 1999
In response to requests from national governments, the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) has been supporting country level decentralization initiatives for the past two decades through its extensive system of 132 country offices serving more than 170 countries across the world.
The policy formulation, research, and learning components of these efforts have
been recently consolidated in a global programme called the Decentralized Governance
Program (DGP) under the Management Development and Governance Division (MDGD) of
the Bureau for Development Policy.
The main goal of DGP is to contribute to the learning process of UNDP, governments
and other donors on how the capacities for good governance of the various actors-public,
private, and civic-at the appropriate levels-national, provincial, district, municipal,
or community-can be strengthened in the areas of policy formulation, resource
management, and service delivery/access in order to achieve poverty eradication
and other Sustainable Human Development (SHD) goals.
Five Immediate Objectives are Subscribed Under the DGP:
The first objective is to support, in a focused manner, the design of innovative
decentralized governance projects in direct response to requests from various
countries through the country office. To date UNDP has supported the design and
implementation of decentralized governance projects in Uganda, Bangladesh,
Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Mongolia, Yemen, Tanzania. Work has recently
started in Thailand and plans are under way for five other countries.
The second objective aims at increasing our understanding of the impact
of UNDP and other donor support on decentralized governance efforts at the
country level mainly through extensive monitoring, evaluation and documentation.
The third and fourth objectives focus on contributing to the global knowledge
on decentralized governance as a means of realizing sustainable human development
and enhancing the global sharing of experiences and access to information to all
countries and partners.
The fifth and final objective is to draw on the results of these various activities
to develop an effective and flexible methodology for supporting country level efforts to
decentralize governance to appropriate levels.
While UNDP is still at the beginning of the road in terms of documenting the knowledge it has generated on the issue of decentralization, some documentation is
already available in hard copy form as well as on MDGD's web site known as:
Magnet (http://www.magnet.undp.org) is the web site encompassing all of the already documented UNDP knowledge, information and policies on decentralization issues. The Decentralized Governance Program disseminates a wide array of information on this web site and is constantly working at
improving the content and ease of accessibility of this information.
The site features a brief slide show outlining the DGP (www.magnet.undp.org/dec/decen923/sweden/index/htm),
as well as, a text detailing the program, its objectives and activities (www.magnet.undp.org/dec/decen923/decenpro.htm)
The assessments and evaluations are compiled under the Assessments subtitle
where you can find a document outlining factors to consider when designing
Decentralized Governance Policies and Programmes to achieve sustainable people-centered
You can also find a framework for country level thematic assessments designed to help researchers conduct meaningful
thematic assessments that allow global lessons to be learned and applied
The research project focusing on nine country studies is considered an important
source of documentation on lessons learned. The nine studies have been conducted
in 1998 by national institutions with the joint collaboration of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT). Country summary reports and a synthesis will be published
soon. They will be available at this site as well. In the interim you will find a report
of an international workshop on decentralized governance held in Amman, Jordan in June
1998 in the context of the research project. (www.magnet.undp.org/dec/decen923/amrep.htm).
You will also find the conceptual and methodological framework underlying the research (www.magnet.undp.org/dec/decen923/casestud.htm).
A fairly important document on decentralized local governance, which resulted
from a United Nations sponsored global conference on innovative policies and
practices in local governance (Gothenberg, Sweden, September 1996) is available
(www.magnet.undp.org/dec/global2.htm) as is a brief description of an international
working group on decentralization (www.magnet.undp.org/dec/decen923/welcomed.htm)
under the overall heading of interchanges and networking.
On a regional basis experiences and initiatives in Africa and Asia-Pacific
are outlined in three documents under Asia-Pacific and one under Africa. The Programme Support Document for Mongolia
(March 1997) displays three of its components as separate documents (1) Democracy and people's participation component (2) Sound Governance Component (3) Economic transition component. The report of a programming mission to Sierra Leone, (Dec 1994) outlining a Pilot Case on capacity assessment for public sector management
and decentralization is featured under the Africa subtitle.
Finally, a fairly comprehensive and important Technical Advisory Paper on a
participatory local governance outlining a fairly successful UNDP initiative that
promotes local-local dialogue is available as a large downloadable PDF file
(www.magnet.undp.org/dec/life.pdf) as well as a methodological note on
participatory evaluation in programmes involving Governance
A variety of other documents, policy papers, Technical Advisory papers, and reports are also found on this website covering a wide range of governance issues.