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Contributor: United Nations Development Programme
Contact: Mounir Tabet

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:

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 ( 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 (, as well as, a text detailing the program, its objectives and activities (

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 development ( 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. ( You will also find the conceptual and methodological framework underlying the research (

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 ( as is a brief description of an international working group on decentralization ( 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 ( as well as a methodological note on participatory evaluation in programmes involving Governance Decentralization (

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.