District Strategic Planning - Main Users / Purpose

files/images_static/user.jpg Mayors, councillors, local governments, NGOs, development organisations

Worldwide political changes has given rise to the necessity to address local demands and the need to bring economic and political systems closer to local communities. On the one hand, economic mobility has led to the creation of supernational bodies to manage the growing economic integration amongst nations. On the other hand, more and more “public” services can be efficiently provided by decentralized (and often private) organizations. Finally, the sheer collapse of central economic systems has been an important impetus for the emergence of regional and local governments in the political and economic process.

Local self-governments are meant to be more responsive to their citizens and decision-making is to be more transparent and predictable. Opportunities for poor to voice their opinions are to be strengthened. Frail democratic systems should be strengthened in order to render the electoral system to greater accountability. Strong local participation can overcome weak formal election systems, but powerful elites make this difficult in many places. Formation of an association or council of local self-governments is one approach for counter-acting the power of the elites and existing central administrations. In many countries the existing legal framework provides sufficient scope for the formation of associations. The success of the associations is often dependent upon:

  • Elected local councils: Elected mayors and councillors at the community level are a condition for the associations / unions
  • Formalisation of the association: The federation of individual local councils within a mutually agreeable spatial area (i.e. an administrative zone such as a district or region) and the formalisation of this process through the registration of the association (i.e. as a non profit organisation, as an NGO, etc.)
  • Establishment of operational rules: A manual that regulates the operations of the association / unions is an essential element in ensuring transparency, accountability and good governance
  • Access to funds: The ability of the association to access resources, especially money is an important ingredient. The fund should be managed by the association
  • Marketing and fund raising: The association / union must actively market the work of the local self governments in order to diversify its sources of revenue beyond those of local taxes, levies and fees.
  • Links to the government administration: Formal links between the association / union and the government administration need to be developed. Potential forums for this could include district and regional development committees.