Decentralization and Local Governance

What is the Project About

  Photo: UNDP Pakistan/Fatimah Inayet

Decentralization & Local Governance is a multi-year, multi-tier, multi sector and multi-stakeholder project launched by UNDP Pakistan to strengthen participatory federalism and decentralization against the backdrop of 18th Constitutional Amendment (2010).  The project views the 18th amendment through a governance, development and public policy lens and identifies strategic areas of intervention for transition management at federal, provincial and local levels. The core objective of the project is to develop policy support mechanisms and create institutional mechanisms to strengthen effective service delivery in a manner that is transparent and accountable to the people at the local level.

The 18th amendment introduced reforms that provide provinces with significant legislative, fiscal and administrative autonomy, but the implementation and institutionalization of these reforms face significant challenges in a country with a legacy of a dominant centre. After the passage of 18th amendment implementation mechanisms at the federal level, in the provinces and the districts are only little developed or even non-existent. Risks of failure of a timely, coordinated and fully implemented 18th constitutional amendment consist in terms of party, societal and security politics. Therefore, UNDP Decentralization and Local Governance project strives to strengthen all three levels (federal, provincial and district) in order to assist the Government of Pakistan towards an effective decentralized inclusive governance system. 

The project works with the Secretariat of the Council of Common Interest and the Provincial Departments of Inter-Provincial Coordination to improve the management of their shared responsibilities. At the provincial level the project assists provincial governments to develop legislative, institutional and policy frameworks on devolved subjects.

At the local level the project aims to assist local government departments to institute participatory development planning, implementation and monitoring at the lowest tiers of governance. The project also aims to work with civil society to advocate for an inclusive development agenda at the community level.

What Have We Accomplished So Far

Legal Reforms

  • Provided technical assistance to Gilgit Baltistan (GB)  select committee to draft and enact GB Local Government Act 2014
  • Supported the law department of Balochistan in preparing a baseline report on post 18th amendment legislative agenda. 18 laws were passed by the Balochistan Assembly, 11 laws are awaiting approval. All laws were required to be amended after the passage of 18th constitutional amendment.

Public Administrative Reforms

  • Established Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit in Balochistan to provide technical assistance to develop the post 18th amendment policy and institutional frameworks for effective transition management.
  • Trained/facilitated an Inter-Departmental Focal Persons Mechanism for 36 line departments in Balochistan.
  • Set up Diversified Technical Assistance Mechanisms through direct engagement with line departments (Local Government, Inter-Provincial Coordination, Law Department, Health Department, and Energy Department).
  • Introduced a participatory mechanism for public input on the Balochistan Budget (CSOs, Academia, Media, Political Party representatives). Through this mechanism 15 recommendations for the Balochistan Budget were generated 9 of which were incorporated in the Provincial Budget.
  • A Devolution Management Information System (DMIS) was developed for the Council of Common Interests Secretariat to document and streamline the devolution process.
  • Drafted the Institutional and Man Power Analysis for the Local Government Department Balochistan.
  • Drafted the Institutional Design for Higher Education Commission Balochsitan.
  • Introduced a participatory mechanism for public input for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Local Government Act 2013. Through this mechanism conducted series of workshops in 4 districts across KP which generated 55 recommendations for the Local Government Act KP.

Capacity Building

  • 40 Inter-Departmental Focal Persons from 36 line departments were trained on 18th amendment transition management.
  • Developed a Training Manual on Balochistan Local Government Act 2010 and trained 25 LG Officials through a training of trainers which led to training of 4000 Local Councilors on Balochistan Local Government Act 2010.
  • Developed 5 training manuals on Decentralized Development Governance Reporting and trained 500 media practitioners in Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar
  • Enhanced the capacity of provincial governments by assisting key line departments in preparing baseline reports on State of Public Finance in Balochistan, Balochistan Debt to Revenue Ratio and State of School Education in Balochistan.
  • Prepared a Union Council Wise Digital Map Book showing location of rural settlements and associated road/tracks network along with population size information to assist Planning and Development Department Balochistan.
  • Conducted an IT skills training of 90 Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) staff members.
  • Conducted an Institutional Analysis of Council of Common Interest to assist government functionaries in understanding roles, responsibilities, jurisdiction and workings of the Council of Common Interests.
  • Conducted a five day course for academia on Federalism. 20 young scholars and faculty members from 16 public and private universities from all 4 provinces of Pakistan participated in the course to enhance their knowledge on Federalism.
  • Federalism Fellowships were awarded to 11 M.Phil. students from Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltisitan. 

Civic Education

  • Conducted series of consultations in Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi and produced an Analytical and Legal Review of Right to Information Legislation.
  • Launched the Devolution Diary which offers readers access to news and analysis specifically focusing on Federalism, 18th constitutional amendment, social sector governance, Inter-Provincial coordination, Council of Common Interests, Local Governance, Right to Information and Ownership of mineral, oil and natural gas resources in Pakistan.
  • Established the Pakistan Study Group on Federalism (PSGF). PSGF will be mobilizing and networking a ‘community of practice’ on participatory federalism and decentralization in the country.
  • Organized a research based seminar on “Democratic Accountability: Examining the Efficacy of Constitutional Instruments”. The seminar was held to initiate an informed discussion on constitutional governance focusing on the performance analysis of the Council of Common Interests, National Economic Council, National Finance Commission and Principles of Policy reports and to critically examine the quality, frequency and efficacy of these instruments of democratic accountability.
  • Co-organized Balochistan Development Forum which provided a public forum to share Government of Balochistan’s vision and framework on paradigm shift from security to development.
  • Held a two day conference in Karachi which provided stakeholder a forum to discuss existing structure of development and regulating oil and gas resources sector in Pakistan.
  • A three day International Conference on Participatory Federalism and Decentralization: From Framework to Functionality was organized to provide an interface between research community and policy forums for informed and effective transition management of devolution process.
  • Organized a dialogue with political parties on how to optimize the dividends of the 18th constitutional amendment and to comprehend the plans of provincial government on local governments. The dialogue led to the establishment of a sub-committee in the Senate on tracking the progress of the 18th constitutional amendment. 

Who Finances it?

Government of Germany, Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Delivery in Previous Year

Delivery in 2016 is USD $ 720,000

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