Decentralisation is not always easily implemented and many developing countries have failed or are failing to introduce effective decentralised governance systems. But why? Francois Vaillancourt from the University of Montreal, Canada, considers the obstacles, conditions for success and how these might be relevant to European Commission staff.
Speaking at a recent event in Brussels, Mr Vaillancourt presented the findings of his book ‘Obstacles to Decentralisation: Lessons from the Developing World’ written with Jorge Martinez-Vazquez. Key to Mr Vaillancourt’s approach is that decentralisation is a tool for better service delivery and not an end in itself.
“Decentralisation should never be a goal, as such. Decentralisation is a tool for better public policy,” said Mr Vaillancourt. “Decentralisation usually makes it easier for people to get the level of services and the type of services they want in the region they live in than when it’s provided at a central level simply because the central level is physically, and in a sense intellectually, further away.”