DECENTRALIZATION is characterized by the existence of locally elected authorities, distinct from the state’s administrative authorities, and exercising, in the framework of the law, their own powers and responsibilities for which they have a degree of self-government, under the control of the state. As understood in this way, decentralization in its modern meaning is inseparable from the idea of local self-government and the democratic principle.
Role of UCLG ASPAC
a) Global Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy (GOLD)
The Third Global Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy (GOLD III) is sponsored by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), which has presence in 140 countries in seven regions of the world. The first report in the Global Observatory on Decentralization and Local Democracy series (GOLD I) released in 2008 was on the theme ‘Decentralization and Local Democracy’. The second report (GOLD II) on ‘Local government finance’ was issued in 2010. The theme of GOLD III report, to be published in 2014 is on the role of local governments in facilitating access by citizens to basic public services such as water, sanitation, transport, solid waste collection and disposal and energy generation and distribution
The GOLD III report for Asia and the Pacific is partly funded by Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA). Support is also provided by the World Bank, the Foreign Affairs and Development Agency of France and the Diputacion de Barcelona.This observatory for the ASPAC region seeks to identify the specific needs of local authorities that may enable them to meet their responsibilities vis a vis provision of basic public services. Based on thorough analysis of the governance situation in a number of Asia Pacific countries, the report will propose recommendations on how to improve the ability of local governments to intervene and invest in provision of basic local services, jointly with other actors, to meet current and future service needs of residents in towns and cities.
Dialogue and Capacity Building of Local and Regional Authorities in EU partner countries in the fields of development and local governance (PLATFORMA), which brings together the majority of national, European and international associations of local and regional authorities (LRAs) active in development cooperation, obtained the support of the European Commission for a new project called ‘Dialogue and capacity building of local and regional authorities in EU partner countries in the development and local governance fields’. Under the support from PLATFORMA, UCLG ASPAC completed a study of local government associations in 2015 to provide an assessment of the state of play of the local government associations in Asia and Pacific countries.
c) Support to Decentralization in Developing Countries (SDCC)
The SDDC project is funded by the European Commission and collaborates with UCLG ASPAC to support decentralization and local democracy processes in developing countries. In order to enhance local development and good governance, the SDDC organises regional workshops on decentralization and basic services and assists in the implementation of surveys on Local Authorities (LAs). The objective is to strengthen LAs by expanding their capacity to define, and analyse the priorities on their agenda, and the program continues to dialogue with states and regional institutions to promote decentralization and empowerment of local authorities for development.
A Regional Study on Decentralization in Southeast Asia in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam completed at the end of 2012 recognised the challenges surrounding decentralization and made suggestions including the capacity development of Local Authorities (LAs) and Local Government Associations (LGAs).