Local Governance Assessment and Its Use for Improving Service Provision Mechanisms: An Egyptian Experience

Khaled Abdelhalim, American University in Cairo

The Egyptian revolution brought up two sets of people’s demands that are complementary in nature. One is decent living standard, particularly through equitable access to socio-economic opportunities and fair distribution of goods, services and jobs. The other is good governance, calling for government that is not corrupt, that is responsive to people’s demands, and that is transparent and efficient. There is a great potential for satisfying both sets of demands by introducing the dimensions of good governance into local service provision; at a scale where citizens would feel in a tangible way improved services as well as improved performance of local government.

Since what is not measured cannot be sensed nor controlled, a starting point for these targeted improvements was initiated by the Local Development Observatory (LDO) in Egypt, which introduced local governance assessment in local service provision in collaboration with the Social Contract Center and with support of UNDP. The local governance assessment was piloted in Fayoum governorate tackling three local services; namely local roads and transport, street lighting and environmental improvement including solid waste management. The presentation/paper will demonstrate the methodology used for the assessment and the key findings comparing the citizens’ and local administration staff’s perspectives in each of the good governance dimensions.

The main value of governance assessments is their use for improving service provision. The presentation will share the results of the LDO’s study of using the results of the local governance assessment in the local roads sector in Fayoum in proposing structural reforms in the service provision. These reforms include institutional restructuring of the roads directorate at the governorate level and reorganization of the functions of service delivery among the central, regional and local levels.

The presentation will conclude highlighting the challenges for local governance assessments in Egypt. These include the lack of data on local service standards and specifications, service delivery mechanisms and institutional capacity, and service availability and quality. The final recommendation, which is the upcoming work of LDO, is to map out local service delivery mechanisms and to map out the dimensions of good governance in each mechanism or process step in service provision. This will ensure making the local governance assessment a more straightforward exercise.

About the speaker

Khaled Abdelhalim graduated as an architect/planners from Cairo University in 1990, received M.A. in Architecture: Housing Studies from the University of Newcastle, UK in 1995, and Ph.D. in housing policy, planning and practice from the University of Central England in Birmingham, UK in 2003. He worked more than six years for German Technical Cooperation (GIZ-Egypt) in participatory upgrading of informal areas. He also worked as a consultant to UN Habitat for strategic planning of governorates in Egypt and contributed to a number of Habitat regional reports. Dr. Abdelhalim has been the director of the Local Development Observatory at the Local Administration Reform Unit; a UNDP program supporting the Ministry of Local Development on decentralization, local development and governance reforms. He is now the program dirctor. Dr. Abdelhalim has also been a lecturer at the Department of Architecture at Helwan University, and regularly lectures at other Egyptian universities. He is currently a visiting assistant professor of urban policy at AUC, the Public Policy and Administration Department, the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He is also a founding member of the Egyptian Earth Construction Association since 1996; NGO that promotes appropriate building technologies and sustainable development, and recently a co-founder of TAKAMOL; a foundation for integrated development. Dr. Abdelhalim has publications, studies and a combination of research and practice interests in the fields of informality, participatory development, local governance and local administration reform.

Venue: UNU-MERIT, Room 0.16

Date: 20 June 2017

Time: 09:00 - 10:00  CET