The increased focus on decentralization reforms and good local governance in development policy is explained by its potential contribution to improving social service delivery, natural resources management, and local economic development, all factors that are important for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and improving rural livelihoods.
In development cooperation and related literature, the term “capacity development” is alternately used to refer to an objective, approach, process, input or result. It remains a complex and elusive concept, but is relatively unanimously considered to be a “key issue” for development. It is seen as an important element to improving the processes of decision-making, institutional development and empowerment, recognising the various actors who contribute to that improvement.
This dossier focuses on issues of capacity development for governance and decentralization. Capacity development is an essential basis for decentralization and local governance. All types of decentralization assume the transfer of authority and responsibility from the central to the local and sub-national levels of governance. The levels of governance need to have sufficient level of capacity to absorb the transferred responsibilities and to perform the delegated functions efficiently and effectively. Improving the quality of public services and promoting local development requires effective local institutions that can formulate and implement policies, as well as manage public services in line with citizens’ aspirations.
If you would like to make any comments on this dossier or suggest additional resources, e-mail Sjon van 't Hof. Inquiries on KIT’s expertise and activities in this field can be directed to Gerard Baltissen, Elsbet Lodenstein, or other members of the team of Rural decentralization and local governance.
For more resources on this topic, please refer to the KIT Portal Rural Decentralization and Local Governance.