National strategy for local administration [Archives:2008/1209/Reportage]

November 20 2008

By the Ministry of Local Administration
The national strategy for local government is the result of considerable efforts towards implementing the president's electoral agenda of promoting decentralization and expanding public participation in the running of local affairs.

This strategy is the outcome of parliament recommendations to the government to speed up the preparation of a national decentralization strategy according to the development challenges of the country.

It is the legal basis on which the government will prepare a national program to implement decentralization in a way to reflect, in both content and spirit, the president's initiative to develop a local government system.

The strategic analysis

For Yemen's particular approach regarding implementing decentralization in the region, a number of strategic planning methods were used in preparing and developing the strategy on both the analytical part and the concluding part.

The analysis investigated the weaknesses to full implementation of the desired financial and administrative decentralized system and was based on data taken from a number of sources, including:

– the reports of annual performance assessment, the utility and functional survey of the year 2002 and the studies conducted by the ministry of local authority

– the results of the field experiments, studies and analyses conducted by the Decentralization and Local Development Project (DLDSP(

– the results of the filed experiment, studies and analyses conducted by the social fund for development with special regard to community participation and the institutional development of the local authority institutions

– the results of counseling with the basic sector ministries responsible for the basic public services

In addition, studies and background papers dedicated to the preparation of the strategy which was done by local, Arab and foreigner experts were also reviewed.

The national strategy

The first step in building the strategy involved forming a strategic vision, mission and goals for the government to work on by 2015.

The second step focused on defining the strategic direction that the government- and all of the local and foreigner development partners- should commit to during the process of building and developing the local government system in a way that guarantees achieving the strategic vision by 2015.

To define the form and content of the desired local government system, a number of general principles were submitted to give direction to official and public efforts through the process of building and developing the local government system. The latter were derived from the Yemeni constitution, constitutional amendment projects presented by the president, the strategic vision of Yemen for the year 2025 and United Nations decentralization guidelines.

Strategic points were defined according to the legislative system, the constitutional structure, local human and financial abilities to develop the local government system.

Implementing the strategy

At this stage, the proper mechanism to implement the strategy was suggested in a national program defining the executive program, the required budgets, and institutions responsible for its implementation – not only the Ministry of Local Administration, but the government as a whole.

Supervision and evaluation

A system of supervision and assessment was also suggested to evaluate the transparency and efficiency of the program's execution. The assessment mechanism aims to discover and correct deviations from defined strategic goals before it is too late.

The commitment of the technical team in charge of preparing and developing the strategy in all its stages was invaluable:

First: in dealing with such a complex issue, juggling the horizontal components of state responsibilities, the vertical components of the local and central administration and the social dimension.

Second: in conducting deep analytical research into the current local authority in Yemen, its positive and negative applications and in emphasizing the importance of promoting the decentralization process in a complete and balanced framework.

Third: in involving representatives from all institutions concerned – representative of the local authority, civil society organizations as well as local and foreigner partners in development- and in developing the local government to enrich the strategy.

To achieve this goal, the following steps were taken:

1. Holding workshops that included representatives of the heads and members of local councils, executive institutions and the civil society organizations in all governorates, including the capital's municipality and nearly 35 percent of the republic's districts.

2. Holding two workshops in the Universities of Adan and Dhamar which included representatives of the House of Representatives, academic staff, local councils, executive institutions and civil society organizations, during which the main strategic points were reviewed, discussed and enriched by the attendants.

3. Designing a website for the strategy ( for the purpose of communicating with the public, receiving their remarks and inquiries in addition to deepening the awareness of the importance of transferring power to a local government system.

Foreign expertise

To involve foreign development partners, a display of the strategy's components was presented in the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and attended by representatives of foreign missions to Yemen and international development organizations. The finer points of the strategy were discussed with development partners in a series of bilateral meetings.

To make use of the international expertise in enriching the strategy, the draft of the document was presented and discussed with a number of international experts in the Yemen and during visits to foreign countries, notably France and Denmark.

In the conclusion, we put this national work in your hands hoping that you will approve its proposal to the ministries' council so that a national program for the strategy's execution can be prepared.