Which factors contribute to effective citizen participation in local governance? This is one of the central questions underpinning the work of LogoLink, theLearning Initiative in Citizen Participation and Local Governance. The experienceof LogoLink partners and other actors devoted to promoting citizen participationsuggests that national and local laws and policies mandating citizen participationare important enabling conditions for participation to ensue. While this is fairly widelyrecognized, there has been little systematic research to date into the legal frameworksand policies that exist, their nature and scope.
The past two decades have seen a spate of legislation and policy-making that providesfor new opportunities for citizen participation. Much of this has taken the form ofconstitution-making and decentralization processes, often against a backdrop of transitionfrom authoritarian to democratic governance regimes. There are some commontendencies that can be observed in these processes in different parts of the world, butsome countries have gone further than others in terms of promoting participation.There is a sense among informed observers that discourses of decentralization andcitizen participation have been framed differently in different countries and regions,with concomitant differences in practice and impact.
The lack of systematic research on legal frameworks, the contexts in which they haveemerged and the different ways in which they are applied, constitute the rationalebehind the research project ‘Frameworks for Citizen Participation in Local Governance’,the findings of which are synthesized in this report.