Enforcing the Participation of Civil Society in Local Decision Making: The Lessons from the South‐East Europe Experience

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Local civil society and the private sector should work in synergy with local authorities for education, economic development, social cohesion, and local good governance. Only the local community's participation can make local development sustainable, enforce transparency and accountability and make information accessible to everybody, minimising the dangers of corruption. Corruption is a real possibility when decentralisation is under way and the powers of the local authorities are undergoing transformation; to guard against it calls for the prior establishment of transparent structures, civil education and training. Enforcing the active participation of civil society in decision making is a central element of a strategy to improve governance in a region and foster policy effectiveness. This strategy should aim to strengthen transparency and accountability, define better the responsibilities of each stakeholder, increase the capacity and the professionalism of local authority officials, and promote the core values of citizens' participation in local community affairs. Training programmes for local authorities should be mechanisms that encourage participation of the local community and specific social groups.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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