Future is our daily business

Governance & Society

In large parts of the developing world the global shift of paradigms towards democratisation (devolution of power, decentralisation, privatisation) has encouraged governments to embark on policy and administrative reforms. Support to these processes in the form of capacity building will be required for some time to capacitate decentralised administrations to fulfil their mandates.

If development cooperation is to improve the odds of sustainable development it needs to address political, legal/regulatory and institutional issues. Governance – from the national regulatory framework down to local public administration and development management – has to prioritize the needs of those being governed. In order to support this citizen orientation, development cooperation needs to deal with a rapidly expanding scope of stakeholders – in the areas of decentralisation and participatory planning at local level, land and natural resources management with rural communities, the private sector and public administrators, etc.

Subject areas

Developing countries still face multiple challenges in implementing decentralisation reforms and in achieving municipal public service delivery for all populations in the necessary quality and quantity. ECO’s counselling services address all aspects of this governance challenge:

  • at national level by advising governments on policy reforms and regulatory frameworks, and by providing institutional counselling for national public administrations, e.g. Ministries of Finance in establishing municipality financing mechanisms allowing to reverse taxes collected by national revenue authorities at local level to the municipalities according to certain redistribution criteria;
  • at deconcentrated level by advising sector ministry administrations in their regional development planning and their supporting role for municipalities, e.g. public administration at regional or provincial level responsible for land and/or natural resource management in governing land access procedures or forest use in close collaboration with municipalities and stakeholders;
  • at municipal level in the fields of development planning, fiscal decentralisation, citizen and civil society participation, e.g. through the establishment of efficient tax mobilisation procedures and tax payer registers, by accompanying municipalities in promoting the local framework for inclusive economic development, or by supporting effective and transparent communication between elected representatives, citizens and civil society for enhanced public accountability;
  • at community level in the areas of basic democracy, e.g. through participatory community planning and joint management of development projects and basic infrastructure, or by accompanying multi-actor dialogue for a social cohesion.

A strong focus is on participatory governance processes as a key factor for achieving inclusive socio-economic development without discrimination against any groups (young people, women, ethnic groups, etc.). This inclusion of citizens into development planning and execution also paves the way for a strengthened social cohesion in multi-cultural and multi-ethnic – often fragile – societies. ECO supports (especially local) governments and public administration in promoting mechanisms for active participation of citizens and civil society and for public accountability.

Governance furthermore has interfaces with basically all other development sectors, as each sector is governed by laws and regulations and managed by public administrative institutions at national, deconcentrated and decentralised level. ECO consult has long lasting experience in advising stakeholders in the fields of land governance, rural development and participatory natural resource management, especially for land rights, forest management, access to water and agricultural resources, etc.

Related Links

  • ProDEC Niger
  • ProDeGoL Togo
  • IDR Tunesia
  • PBG Capacity building for decentralisation actors, Mauritania
  • PDDC Burkina Faso