Working on the Policy Level

Working on the Policy Level

Successfully implementing best practices is one thing – to achieve changes on the policy level which would improve national legislation and administrative procedures in favour of good governance is quite another.

While democratic local governance is the responsibility first of all of local stakeholders – the political leaders on local level, local administrations and civil servants, elected councillors and civil society representatives - national policies and legislation can either be supportive or create difficulties for the process of improvement of democratic local governance. As part of the DELGOSEA projects, all five project countries have worked on suggestions for the improvement on the policy level.

Take Indonesia, for example: After some intensive discussions on the local level, the four pilot cities came up with their policy recommendations for the improvement of national policies, legislation and administrative procedures to support the efforts of the current and future replication of best practices. These were compiled into one policy recommendation paper to express the views of all pilot cities, which was then presented at the midterm conference.

All Indonesian cities had found some room for improvement in the current legislation as well as in the budget available to the local level. The recommendations to the national level include increasing capacity building to enhance the level of knowledge and skill, as well as better cooperation and coordination in the usage of sea resources and in the scheme of “Environmental Preservation for Sustainable Management of Social and Economic Development.”

Vietnam also had some very clear ideas on what could and should be changed to encourage democratic local governance, starting with the suggestion to introduce decentralization mechanisms on the municipal level. Administrative reforms should be better enforced, and, on the project level, the eco-saver programme, which is being piloted in Vinh city, should be integrated into the school curriculum drawn up by the Ministry of Environment, Education and Finance.

The other three countries, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines, went through a similar exercise, also presenting their ideas at the midterm conference. The next step is to update these recommendations based on the experiences of the pilot cities, which will emerge as part of the on-going monitoring of the best practice implementations. The local government associations together with the DELGOSEA partners will be the ones responsible for further lobbying and bringing in the proposed recommendations to the policy-making community.