Arab states take up reforms at local governance forum
Recognizing a trend fast gaining importance in the region, representatives from Arab states gathered at their first Local Governance Forum in Sana'a, Yemen, earlier this month to discuss experiences, opportunities and challenges in pursuing reforms.
A number of countries have strengthened legislation on municipal institutions, and several, including Lebanon and Yemen, held local elections. Many challenges remain, however, including uneven commitment to reform and decentralization measures restricted to the administrative realm.
The forum, organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Regional Bureau for Arab States, was an opportunity to address these challenges and create a network for dialogue and partnership.
Yemen's Prime Minister Abdulkader Ba-Jammal told the forum that his country has created and implemented a legal framework for public participation in local governance. "The Government is committed to enhancing local authorities and local governance as part of its efforts and commitment to establish the principles of decentralized and democratic governance," he said.
Participants came from Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. They included representatives from central and local governments, civil society, and UNDP staff from the region. — (menareport.com)
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