Elementor #202

Policy Reasearch and Governance

  • Experience since MDP’s formation shows that one of the major impediments to full decentralisation and effective service delivery of municipalities is the absence of enabling environments


The objectives of this component

  • To facilitate the adoption and implementation of policies and legislation in favour of decentralisation and appropriate fiscal and functional assignments between central and local governments
  • To promote policy analysis and dialogue that identifies opportunities and constraints for local government sector reform
  • To facilitate exchange of information and consensus building on policy issues among key stakeholders of municipal development.
  • To support adoption of local integrity practices in municipal governance.
    To promote democracy in the governance of municipalities.
  • To support analysis of policies on human development for municipalities, including urban poverty alleviation.


Develop policies and strategies of fiscal, functional, and political decentralisation.
Establish local integrity systems,
Support local government restructuring including:

  1. promoting participatory development and democratic governance
  2. rationalising organisational structure as well as functions and roles.
  3. rationalising local government revenue and expenditure; and
  4. incorporating poverty, gender, and environmental perspectives.

Implementation Strategy

The component will promote capacity building, informed dialogue, policy design, and reform based on establishing fora founded on high-quality discussion papers. A series of strategic technical and high-level policy workshop round-tables (or high-level seminars) will be convened by MDP to facilitate dialogue and. consensus building among the stakeholders who are key actors on policy issues. The round-tables will build on each other to ensure impact and contribute to a regional and Pan-African forum as in AFRICITIES 2000 and the African Fiscal Decentralisation Forum. The participants will be drawn from among ministers, parliamentarians, mayors, and senior officials. Representatives of civil society will also be involved. These activities will be based on policy studies and research findings developed since the establishment of MDP. The policy recommendations and follow up actions from the provisions seminars and the new activities will form part of the background ground papers at such seminars so as to improve on replicating experiences. MDP will also come up with successful practices and case studies on themes to be implemented.

A deliberate effort should be made to ensure that relevant documented policy recommendations and successful practices made at regional seminars are also available to participants of national policy workshops to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. Participating governments will be requested to produce summary papers on the state of policy and their concrete plans on what is to be done address the constrains and create opportunities for local government development.

Action research is a key and fundamental dimension of MDP and will build on six years of research experience. MDP will emphasise a strategic approach that kinks research findings to policy decisions and capacity building through training and institutional strengthening. The research will emphasise a multidisciplinary approach as well as participation of beneficiaries to ensure maximum utilisation of findings and recommendations. The research will cut across sub-programs and activities. Carry over research activities under Phase II will provide a smooth transition into a new research cycle. The principal areas of research for Phase III will include, among others:

  1. inter-governmental fiscal relations,
  2. capacity building for local government,\
  3. gender balance in local governing,
  4. local integrity systems,
  5. decentralised and international municipal co-operation, and
  6. poverty alleviation and municipal governance

MDP will continue to undertake regional and country-based initiatives in good governance focusing on issues that have immediate positive impact and high level of demand from the municipal governments. Special focus will be placed on developing the African Municipal Integrity Initiative (AMII) which will assist in the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of national and municipal integrity programs. AMII will provide regional, national, and sub-national workshops on local integrity to promote capacity as well as motivate municipal governments to undertake reforms and build transparent and accountable local service provision.

Expected Impact

The synergy Of Policy studies and seminars on a continuum basis will lead to a better. appreciation and possible commitment of policy makers to adopt appropriate frameworks and action plans. Results should include innovations, participatory and integrated approaches to local government, and reform of financing of services including inter-governmental fiscal relations. Overall, a facilitative environment for local government shall be created resulting in an improved level of service delivery and better quality of life.
Policy frameworks strengthening the capacities, role, and status of municipalities in service delivery and local government in general will be adopted.
Dialogue based on policy papers, reports, and publications on the state of decentralisation and governance of local government in Eastern and Southern Africa will be enhanced.
Successful practices on local government policy development and management in the region will be adopted and adapted.
Tools and techniques applied in urban policy research and city consultations on municipal issues will be improved.
Restructured local government systems including local integrity stems will be adopted by a number of reform-minded municipal leaders in the focus countries.
Clarity in defining decentralisation strategies and programs and the capacity to implement these in a sustainable manner will be improved.
Participatory and democratic practices will be adopted by reform-minded municipalities.

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