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Decentralization is a process where a central authority transfers responsibility for planning, management, and raising and allocating resources to field units of public agencies of subordinate levels of government. In recent years, many countries have begun to undertake decentralization to make government more efficient, responsive, and accountable. The core idea of decentralization is that local organizations may be more efficient and effective at providing public goods of a local nature such as schooling or trash collection than the national government. This is because they have better access to information on local affairs and are better connected to their constituents. However, decentralization may lead to less accountability and more corruption if local areas are less educated and/or have fewer resources.
The Asia-Pacific region has a wide range of models of decentralized governance. The range includes federal systems such as in India and Pakistan; regional governance in Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines; unitary systems like the Republic of Korea; and deconcentrated systems like Cambodia and Vietnam. Beyond this regional variety, there are also new models of decentralization being explored, backed by blockchain and platform technologies. Given these options, which conditions allow for successful decentralization? Are specific models of decentralization more effective than others? How can we evaluate the outcomes of decentralization efforts?
This workshop will address these important questions and help participants to deepen their understanding of decentralized governance, its impacts on key outcomes like public accountability, different models and practices of decentralization, and how to evaluate decentralization outcomes. The workshop is expected to enable participants to think critically about decentralization initiatives in their own national or local contexts and introduce new, innovative approaches to enhance the effectiveness of current practices.
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