Forty-five experts and activists from the fields of governance and development met on November 7, 2013 for the Washington Launch of the 2013 State of Participatory Democracy Report. The event was held in the large conference room of InterAction, the Washington-based alliance of 180 international NGOs.
I led the meeting, and was delighted to receive excellent suggestions on how to strengthen the initiative in its second year. These include:
- Put even greater stress on the link between local government and development effectiveness.
- Examining the literature of those who are skeptical or opposed to decentralization, and directly confront their arguments.
- Review the literature more deeply and compile the evidence base that shows the advantages of decentralization to improved service delivery, reduced corruption and economic growth.
- Go both wider and deeper – more countries, and a deeper understanding of the players in each country, particularly organizations who might be able to utilize the index in focus groups or other more interactive settings.
- Help some of the weaker decentralization advocacy platforms access funding and capacity building opportunities.
- Include religious networks in countries to find more local partners.
Several organizations who could not attend this event have offered to host follow-up events in the next few weeks, and attendees were generous in suggesting other organizations that would be interested.