International development is replete with examples of failure. This has led to notes of cynicism being struck in commentaries on development, whether in relation to failed states, donor ineptitude or the unaccountability of NGOs. Precisely because the grand visions have not been realized and macro-level policies have been so controversial, attention turned to initiatives at the local level. However, too many expectations were placed on interventions at the local level and it did not take long before they became formalized, institutionalized and bureaucratized, losing their capacity for rapid response and flexibility.
This book is about an alternative approach. Starting from a critical engagement with theories of decentralization and a review of social funds, it explores the value of funding local initiatives that are designed not only to support development activities but also to promote local democracy. Reviewing experiences from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the book demonstrates how, at their most innovative, local funds can deliver development within the context of a rights-based approach and as a critical component of democratic decentralization.
Funding Local Governance will appeal to academic, professional and practitioner audiences. It will be of considerable value to people working in international development agencies, NGOs and in local government. It will be of interest to researchers, teachers and students of development, urban studies, local government and politics, geography and urban planning as well as area studies specialists.