How can effective governance institutions support improved service delivery, particularly in post-conflict and fragile situations? How can international cooperation efforts be better aligned to enhance the impact of democratisation and decentralisation initiatives?
With some of these questions in mind, the Governance Team has signed a three year agreement with the Swiss Development Agency (SDC) to support their Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network (DLGN). The DLGN is composed of more than 150 individual members in 6 regions and 44 countries and includes SDC staff and others working for partner organisations.
The main goal of this cooperation is to challenge SDC’s workand practices by stimulating learning and exchange among practitioners in threedifferent realms:
- Developing and providing access to innovative governance research and newanalytical approaches to understanding common democratisation and decentralisation dilemmas
- Supporting the development of capacities of SDC head office,country staff and partner institutions through training modules and mirroring activities
- Strengthening and expanding knowledge sharing, communication and networking platforms across both institutions
The ongoing research carried out by the Governance and the Participation teams will feature novel experiences and findings on democracy and decentralisation to analyse and inform relevant SDC policy strategies in this field. To this extent, the research topics will focus around four thematic questions:
- How to improve the quality of citizen participation, accountability, andrepresentation in young democracies?
- How to ensure the sustainable funding of social inclusion strategies at thelocal level?
- How to better understand the political economy of decentralisation to ensurethat it works for the people?
- How to facilitate non violent transitions towards democracy in conflictcontexts?
Training and knowledge sharing
In addition to challenging policy practices, the new research will be followed by practical activities to adapt conceptual approaches to country contexts, to elaborate guidance tools and develop training modules in order to institutionalise best policy practices within SDC. Furthermore, IDS will play an active role to support the embedding of learning projects and activities within SDC staff, country officials and other partners within the network.
The range of research, training and knowledge sharing activities was featured during the DLGN’Face to Face meeting’ in Egypt in May 2013.
The Project Team
The project team is composed of nearly a dozen researchers from the Governance and Participation teams as well as IDS staff working on multiple areas of thematic expertise, including citizen participation, accountability, and representation, municipal finances and social Inclusion strategies, and support to non violent transitions towards democracy in fragile and post conflict contexts.