Strengthening Participatory Federalism & Decentralization

What is the Project About

Dialogue with Political Parties on Future of Federalism and Democratic Devolution in Pakistan. Photo: UNDP Pakistan/Torsum Khan

The 18th Constitutional Amendment passed unanimously in April 2010 and brought about a paradigm shift in the architecture of Pakistan’s governance. The Amendment represents a consensus among divergent, conflicting and competing interest groups that was anchored by a 27-member Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR) representing all parties with representation in either National Assembly or the Senate of Pakistan. The PCCR amended, revised, and inserted 102 Articles out of a total 280 Articles that make up the Constitution.

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. To learn more about the impacts of the Amendment, UNDP undertook provincial and national consultations to understand the needs of both federal and provincial governments in its implementation. Eight major political parties, 16 key provincial government line departments from all four provinces, 117 NGOs, key donors and international development organizations, and academic research institutions took part. The findings and recommendations of these consultations laid the groundwork for Strengthening Participatory Federalism and Decentralization (SPFD).

SPFD is a five-year project focusing on the governance, development and public policy aspects of the 18th Amendment to identify key areas where support can build informed and effective transition management at federal, provincial and local levels. 

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, and works with civil society to advocate for an inclusive development agenda at the community level.

SPFD also works closely with the Government of Balochistan to develop legislative, institutional and policy frameworks for health, education and taxation, and with local governments in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan as they institute participatory development planning, implementation and monitoring at the lowest tiers of governance. 

What Have We Accomplished So Far

  • A consultative process involving 413 academics and faculty members, 427 civil society organizations, 81 representatives of development partners, 206 government officials, 209 media personnel, and 161 politicians aligned the SPFD strategy with the needs of Government.
  • The project collaborated with the Government of Balochistan to establish the Chief Minister’s Policy Reforms Unit (CMPRU) with a mandate to provide technical assistance to the line departments on devolution management in the Province.
  • Consultation with drafters, experts and civil society activists led to recommendations for draft Right to Information legislation. Recommendations at both the federal and provincial levels were later incorporated into the approved legislation.
  • SPFD conducted pre-legislation consultations at the district level on the draft Local Government Law in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. About 200 participants took part and produced 55 recommendations on political, administrative, and financial aspects, some of which were incorporated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act 2013.
  • UNDP organized a conference on joint and equal ownership of natural resources that provided stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the emerging issues, challenges and opportunities.
  • The first Federalism Fellowships were awarded to 12 M.Phil. students.
  • First course on Pakistani Federalism - 20 faculty members from 10 universities were trained.
  • Dialogue organized on Operationalization of Joint and Equal Ownership of Natural Resources.
  • International Conference on Participatory Federalism and Decentralization organized with representation from political parties, federal and provincial bureaucracy, civil society, academia and development partners.
  • Training of Trainers organized on Balochistan Local Government Act 2010 in partnership with Balochistan Rural Development Academy which was participated by 23 Local Government Officials. 

Who Finances it?

United Nations Development Programme

Delivery in Previous Year

Delivery in 2013-14 was USD 880,456

Photographs of the International Conference on Participatory Federalism & Decentralization


Created with flickr slideshow.

Project Start Date
March 2013
Estimated End date
December 2017
Geographic Coverage
Islamabad Capital Territory & All Four Provincial Capitals
Focus Area
Democratic Governance
Implementation Partners
Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, Forum of Federations, Council of Common Interests, National Institute of Management & Civil Society Organizations
Assistant Country Director
Amir Khan Goraya
Chief Technical Advisor
Dieter Wolkewitz
Programme Officer
Faiqa Umer