The Imperative of Good Local Governance: Challenges for the Next Decade of Decentralization


  • Edited by Joakim Öjendal and Anki Dellnäs

    Öjendal & Dellnäs front cover design1
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1229-9
    United Nations University Press
    October 2013

    The Imperative of Good Local Governance is a true state-of-the-art volume in the field of local governance, decentralization and local democracy summarizing a substantial part of the insights from original research in the last decade. It is also a future-looking volume with explicit policy relevance, paving the way for innovative thinking (and acting) on the next phase of development in the field. In a unique way it brings together authoritative contributions from authors that to a large extent have been defining the field for the last decade or more. From a theoretical perspective it is adjoining top–down and bottom–up rationalities, which is further illuminated through a wide variety of key case studies. The case studies are selected for their relevance for the theoretical perspectives offered, as well as for their paradigmatic power in the current global evolution of decentralized policies and politics. The volume concludes that overall, local development and local politics will not go away – it has a huge potential – but also that the field is full of unfulfilled promises, some of which could be remedied through the perspectives revealed in this volume.

    About the Editors:

    Joakim Öjendal is professor in Peace and Development Research, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He has previously worked on, inter alia, democratization, peace-building, decentralization and local governance, and has published in leading journals. Among his recent works are Beyond Democracy in Cambodia: Political Reconstruction in a Post-Conflict Society. Anki Dellnäs is a local governance expert currently based in Cambodia. She has a background in public administration and a PhD in History of Ideas and Theory of Science from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

    Table of Contents:

    Part I: Introduction and theoretical overview
    Introduction, Joakim Ojendal and Anki Dellnas
    Understanding decentralization: Key issues for successful
    Design, James Manor
    Decentralizing for development: The developmental potential
    of local autonomy and the limits of politics-driven decentralization reforms, Leonardo G. Romeo

    Part II: Local governance by designing decentralization
    Representation, citizenship and the public domain: Choice and
    recognition in democratic decentralization, Jesse C. Ribot
    Where is local government going in Latin America? Andrew Nickson
    Participatory budgeting and local governance, Harry Blair
    Recentralization in developing countries: Forms, motivations
    and consequences, Paul Smoke

    Part III: Local governance demands for local democracy
    Sanctions, benefits and rights: Three faces of accountability, Merilee S. Grindle
    Engaging civil society to promote local governance: Emerging
    trends in local democracy in Asia, G. Shabbir Cheema
    Popular aspirations, decentralization and local democracy, Olle Tornquist
    Citizen engagement, deliberative spaces and the consolidation
    of a post-authoritarian democracy: The case of local CSOs in Indonesia, Hans Antlov and Anna Wetterberg

    Part IV: Local governance as state-building
    Reconciliation in Cambodia? Decentralization as a post-conflict strategy, Joakim Ojendal and Kim Sedara
    Local politics, civil society and state formation in Uganda, Anders Sjogren
    Who won and who lost? The role of local governments in post-conflict recovery, David Jackson

    Part V: Taking stock: Challenges for the next decade
    Decentralization as a path to democratic governance and state-building? Conclusions on emerging challenges, Anki Dellnas and Joakim Ojendal