State of Local Democracy (SoLD) in the Arab World

Image Courtesy of the United Nations

Image Courtesy of the United Nations

The State of Local Democracy (SoLD) in the Arab World report, conducted by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), provides an assessment of local democracy throughout the Arab World. The report includes case studies and a tool for carrying out self-assessments of the state of local democracy. The countries highlighted include Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen.

Some of the major findings include:


Local administration laws have been subject to repeated changes over the last four decades and are considered confusing and even ambiguous.


Despite the growing numbers of civil society organizations (CSOs) in many cities, their role is still largely concentrated in the capital and a few large cities, and is very limited in remote towns. The relationship between the municipal councils and CSOs is weak, as there is a lack of awareness of the importance of cooperation between municipal councils and CSOs.


The study highlights the absence of a participatory program and a unified vision of all partners concerned, resulting in an imbalance of applying local democracy’s principles. Therefore, a demand for participatory strategic planning to manage local concerns arises, which inevitably requires an openness between local institutions as well as the participation of all parties involved.


The search for and adoption of measures and practices that lead to a genuine societal and participatory governance is very much in demand. Examples of such practices include the establishment of real partnerships between local authorities and CSOs and raising social funds for development and society in general, with aims to increase participation in political life and to reduce high levels of poverty and unemployment.

The report is available in Arabic, English and Spanish

2 thoughts on “State of Local Democracy (SoLD) in the Arab World

  1. Kurt, I understand the short introduction does seem like an understatement considering all of the protests today. The report addresses the issues in Egypt in more detail and talks about a handful of specific problems, including limited funding and “fragmentation” of local administration. I’d love to find an article out of Cairo about the anniversary.


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