Tackling Poverty Through Decentralization and Local Governance

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”; this timeless saying embodies the sustainable poverty alleviation approaches few development organizations are currently implementing. The conventional, aid focused, top-down poverty alleviation strategy has not been able to deliver its promise.…

Right to Participation: Moving from Symbolism to Substance

The rise of global  inequality and the concentration of wealth is undermining democracy and citizen participation. The rise of urban elites in developing countries in Africa and Asia is affecting and slowing down the process of decentralization. Institutional spaces are becoming inadequate to foster citizen participation in decision making for mobilization and utilization of public…

Making Local Government Work

One could argue that citizens are more aware of local problems than are public officials. However, active citizenry that takes party in decision making on both locally concerning and national issues requires an enabling environment that empowers and incentivizes people. The very aspect of initiatives on local democracy or social accountability should be empowering enough…

Local Government and Human Rights: A progress report by the Advisory Committee for the Human Rights Council

The Advisory Committee for the Human Rights Council presented its progress report on the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights (A/HRC/27/59)  for the 27th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, on September 4, 2014. Local Government is one of the seven thematic issues the Advisory Committee is…

Young people: The driving force for local democracy

September 15, 2014 marked the 7th International Day of Democracy. This years’ theme, Engaging Young People on Democracy, focuses on the challenges and opportunities young people face in engaging in democratic processes. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, called young people to contribute to building stronger democratic societies. He stated “I call on members of the largest generation of youth…

Building Agricultural Resilience in Response to Climate Change: A panel discussion on advancing global food security

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) held a panel on September 11, 2014 at IFPRI’s Washington, DC office. The panel targeted “the urgent need for strategies to build resilience for the world’s farmers to adapt to climate change.” The panel stipulated that “the food system is growing more fragile,…