Decentralization for Poverty Reduction (E/ESCAP/CPR(2)/1)

Decentralization for Poverty Reduction (E/ESCAP/CPR(2)/1)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The popularity of decentralization can be seen from the fact that it is being considered or attempted in
almost all developing countries as well as countries with economies in transition. Decentralization in most
countries of the region has not been carried out for the sole purpose of poverty reduction. However, the
institutions it establishes can lead to improved delivery of services to the poor, participatory planning and
implementation of development activities and programmes particularly for the benefit of the poor,
opportunities for the poor to articulate their needs and preferences and improved governance at the local
level, all of which can help in poverty reduction.

Since the institutions and framework of decentralization are conducive to poverty reduction, these
should be strengthened for the design and implementation of pro-poor policies. The institutional, technical
and managerial capacity of local governments should be built in order to carry out the tasks of poverty
reduction. Decentralization also entails various costs, and adequate provision should be made for such
costs. The idea that decentralization, if implemented appropriately, can play a major role in poverty
reduction should be promoted. More research needs to be undertaken in the future to further explore and
enhance linkages between decentralization and poverty reduction.

Countries may wish to share their experiences in decentralization and help to develop
recommendations to enhance the positive impact of decentralization on poverty reduction. The Committee
may wish to provide guidance to the secretariat as to any further work in the area of decentralization and
poverty reduction.