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Prior to establishing a sustainable local governance system, a post-conflict country must
first go through a peace building transitional process , during which issues of justice,
victims’ reparation, and national reconciliation will be addressed.

THEME.1: Challenges to Decentralization Policy in Post-Conflict Countries

To make this transitional process be successful a suitable way should be found to get
closer to local communities and even to households for a better voicing of people and for
building trust. Reaching people where they are, listening to them and motivating them to
get into action, becomes the first critical step establishing the conditions for a successful
and peaceful decentralization process. Without this considerate connection, stability to
pursue a democratic process, in which decentralization including decentralized
governance is rooted, will be problematic.

The search for justice and the process of national reconciliation will often involve victims’
reparations so as to establish conditions for credibility and accountability. This will
normally end with the establishment of a genuine democratic system which
accommodates rule of law, security and safety for all in view to generate more peace
and development for each individual.

THEME.2: Decentralization as a Tool for Peace and Development

Decentralization as a proximity engine will therefore constitute a tool of stability and
successful as well as a participatory economic and political reconstruction in a post-
conflict situation. The effectiveness of decentralized governance may ultimately depend
on the enabling environment created by policy-makers to enhance the prospects of the
success of decentralization process. But it is important to be aware of the fact that
decentralization by itself without convenient decentralized governance may cause
controversial consequences as follows:

• Decentralization might exacerbate the existing divisions, thereby failing to hold
the country together

• Decentralization might cement national integration and facilitate social fabric
reconstruction. To this end, as a tool for peace and development, the success of
a post-conflict decentralization program will depend on the following factors:
i. the degree of political participation and accountability;
ii. the degree of trust in government by local communities;
iii. the pace and prospects of economic recovery and reconstruction;
iv. the degree of empowerment of local politicians;
v. the degree of empowerment of local communities;
vi. transparency and accountability from bottom up;
vii. Ethics and good conduct of empowered leaders at central and local levels;
viii. Quality of service delivery at the local level even food security within
Case Studies
Document.1: Enhancing Local Governance through Decentralization Policy in managing
conflict-affected Regions in Indonesia
Document.2: Decentralization: Prospects for Peace, Democratization and Development

Document 3: Decentralization and Sustainable Peacebuilding in Mozambique : Bringing
the Elements Together

Document.4 : The Role of Women in Reconciliation and Peace Building in Rwanda: Ten
Years after the Genocide – Contributions, Challenges and Way Forward

Additional readings
Case of Sierra Leone:

Case of Rwanda:

The Role of Decentralization in Peace-Making and Conflict online at

Kauzya, J ohn-Mary, “Decentralization: Prospects for Peace, Democracy and
Development”, DPADM Discussion Paper, September 2005. Online at

Lake, David and Donald Rothchild, “Territorial Decentralization and Civil War
Settlement”. Online at Papers/Lake Rothchild final.pdf

Cheema, Shabbir G. and Dennis A. Rondinelli, “From Government Decentralization to
Decentralized Governance”. Online at