State of Participatory Democracy Reports

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The 2014 State of Participatory Democracy Report (SPDR) presents the most extensive comparative global study to date on one of the most important, yet most frequently ignored, issues in development – the effectiveness of local government.  Fortunately, as the world formulates its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to end hunger and poverty by the year 2030, the importance of good governance at all levels is being treated as a priority.

To create this second annual edition of the report, experts from 52 countries submitted data to determine a globally comparable multi-dimensional Participatory Local Democracy Index (PLDI). In 32 of those countries, civil society organizations organized multi-stakeholder focus group discussions to generate a consensus assessment.

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2013 Report Available Here

From Thailand to Brazil to Kenya, countries are moving government closer to the people. Nations are devolving public resources and decision-making authority to the local level, and empowering citizens to engage directly in setting priorities and budgets. Participatory local democracy is widely perceived to foster better accountability and improved delivery of basic services, as well as defusing regional, ethnic and religious tensions. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, it restores people to control over their own lives and destinies.

Virtually all the challenges identified in the Millennium Development Goals—hunger, poverty, education, gender equality, health, water, sanitation and environmental sustainability—require solutions tailored to local situations. Yet local governance has not appeared as a priority on the international agenda.

Now, as the world works to formulate a Post-2015 development agenda, the local officials, academics and civil society activists who have pioneered and championed innovations in participatory local democracy are making their voices heard.

CLICK on the image to download the report in PDF format.

This report intends to put an international spotlight on the importance of these innovations. Following the lead of other “State of…” reports, it seeks to take this complex issue, and make it clear and measurable. It introduces a new multidimensional indicator – the Participatory Local Democracy Index (PLDI) – and applies it to 35 countries that are profiled in depth.

The report also addresses the many challenges to making participatory local democracy work, including lack of awareness and human and financial resources, as well as bureaucratic and political interference.

“Local authorities form a vital bridge between national governments, communities and citizens and will have a critical role in a new global partnership… Local authorities have a critical role in setting priorities, executing plans, monitoring results and engaging with local firms and communities.” —Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 2013