MoUD report stresses need to strengthen local government

Kathmandu, November 9

If the local authority is not strong, the presence of higher-level agencies makes the local institution defunct by concentrating power at a higher level and exploiting local resources, says a report recently published by the Ministry of Urban Development.

According to the report, a strong local authority can initiate changes in the local development process and can mobilise support of higher-level agencies in facilitating communication between the central and the local system.

“Decisions should be taken at the level closest to citizens. Only tasks, which cannot be carried out effectively at the local level, should be referred to higher levels. The potential cleavage between private interest and social interest could be reduced through the activities of civil societies. While the objective of mobilising the private sector resources is a welcome step, a strong government action is imperative to guide their activities for the benefit of the poor,” it states.

The report also stresses the need for improving participation and human rights in urban development. “It is necessary to decentralise deeper down to the level of people and make the local political system derive its power from the people rather than from the top. This requires good governance and easy access of people to resources and goods and services,” it states.

Access can be increased through capacity building and training. The involvement of ordinary people in the decision-making process is equally important to prevent channels of public service delivery. When leaders represent people’s interest, there is less chance of power being abused, according to the report.

What the poor will be given should not be based on charity or favour but their share should fall under the domain of human rights. Teaching the poor to use their rights is the correct strategy.

Human rights can only be established through this approach. Local governance projects can institutionalise participatory process, the report states.