Local Governance Reform Programme
Title: Local Governance Reform Programme (LGRP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Palestinian territories
Lead executing agency: Palestinian Ministry of Local Government
Overall term: 2015 to 2018
As the backbone of public administration, local authorities in the Palestinian territories carry special responsibility for providing basic services to the population. However, municipal and local authorities are severely affected by the occupation and the related economic and political crisis. The local economy is in stagnation; many citizens are unable or unwilling to pay fees or taxes. Thus the budgets of the local authorities are shrinking and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to deliver important local services.
Municipalities that have undergone political, fiscal and administrative reforms are able to deliver public services more effectively.
GIZ is implementing this programme in cooperation with a number of Palestinian partner institutions. These include the Ministry of Local Government and the Municipal Development and Lending Fund, as well as selected municipalities and civil society organisations.
In accordance with the principles of good governance, the programme supports the partner authorities in modernising their administrations, introducing transparent financial management and improving the quality of their service provision. Elected local officials and employees of civil society organisations receive training that enables them to contribute to local policy planning and decision-making processes, and to carry out joint initiatives. In this way the programme supports local reform processes, strengthens the participation of citizens in the political process and promotes the development of democratic structures.
The priority at the national level is to establish a conducive environment for the local authorities. Above all, this means shaping the relationships between national, regional and local levels, allocating responsibilities and establishing a funding basis for the cities, towns and municipalities, while providing incentives for transparent budgeting and planning, and strengthening social accountability mechanisms.
The programme is building on successful measures introduced by the earlier Local Governance and Civil Society Development Programme, which brought about the following changes, among others.
- Local development and public investment are now carried out in accordance with policy guidelines for strategic local development and investment planning, which were prepared in cooperation with the partners and a group of local authorities. For the implementation of these guidelines, local authorities in the West Bank receive financial support from the Palestinian Municipal Development and Lending Fund. GIZ is contributing to the fund, together with 12 other development partners, including KfW development bank.
- Strategic development and investment plans have been prepared in all municipalities. Local non-governmental organisations, private sector associations and other civil society organisations – particularly representatives of women’s organisations – have been actively involved in discussing and identifying development priorities and measures. A number of forums for exchange have been established, such as the first German-Palestinian local government forum. As a result of cooperation with the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA), the German political foundations and GIZ, interaction between the local authorities has intensified in the form of specialist learning processes, exchanges of experience and the collective representation of interests.