Expert Group Meeting on Decentralization and its Impact on Poverty Reduction
Decentralization is regarded by several development experts as one of the cornerstones of effective poverty reduction. It is argued that since many aspects of poverty are local in nature, responses to poverty reduction also need to be localized. Moreover, it is argued that the urban poor have a greater chance of participating in and influencing decision-making at the local level than at higher levels of government.
Effective decentralization is based on three “pillars:”
Decentralization or devolution of executive, legislative and fiscal powers to the local level
Capacity building of local governments to manage these powers effectively
Development of a vibrant and effective civil society to ensure public participation in decision making and accountability of local government
Most developing countries of Asia and the Pacific have introduced, or are in the process of introducing, decentralization policies. Whether these decentralization policies have contributed to alleviating poverty, as predicted, needs to be examined. Some of these policies have been documented in the 14 country-study commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The country reports can be accessed through this link. (http://www.unescap.org/pdd/PRS/PublicationsResources/huset2003/lgstudy/l...)
Expert Group Meeting
UNESCAP is convening an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Decentralization and its Impact on Urban Poverty Reduction from 22 to 23 November 2005 to examine whether decentralization has actually contributed to urban poverty reduction in Asia and the Pacific.