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The largest ever UN gathering is now history. On Friday June 22, the last day of the Conference, representatives of more than 180 governments approved the outcome document of the conference entitled “The Future We Want.” If one reads the document, clearly there is a reaffirmation of key principles and agreements made in 1992. For example, a commitment to sustainable development and putting people, equity and inclusion at the center of that effort; a recognition that eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and a sine qua non element for sustainable development; reemphasizing the importance of democratic governance (rights, freedom, gender equality, rule of law); and acknowledging that sustainable development can be achieved only if different realm of policy inter-link and articulate effectively, as well as the

In this Issue Viewpoints Highlights Article - The Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) 2011: Measuring Citizens’ Experiences Event - The State of Civil Service and Human Resources in the Public Sector in Latin America Thematic Web Site Golstat Welcome Agenda

joint work in alliance and partnership of government, the private sector and civil society organizations.

This was a key theme expressed by Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator, at a lecture she offered in the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in The Rio +20 document is also more March of this year in Singapore. The explicit about the role of sub-national UNDP Administrator highlighted governments and governance in three elements of why governance is sustainable development, as well as today essential for sustainable issues related to transparency and development. First, government at all accountability. Both topics set the tone levels is in the business of promoting for the enabling environment of development and expansion of sustainable development, and highlight opportunities through “deliberate, the importance of institutions at all targeted, and pro-active planning and levels of government and their capacity delivery.” Second, sustainable to design and articulate policies and development and the resilience it action. Essentially, the adopted requires, is a complex and document not only is consistent with multidimensional process that the Rio Principles, Agenda 21 and the necessarily involves effective Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, governance and government. but it also sets the bar higher to Therefore, as the UNDP administrator improve and strengthen the current highlighted, “challenges countries face governance institutional framework. It Regional Centre LAC today demand policymaking which is clear that without effective views economic growth, poverty governance, sustainable development xxxxxxx is unattainable. Continue on next page

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reduction, social development, equity, and sustainability not as competing goals to be traded off against each other, but as interconnected objectives which are most effectively pursued together.” And third, citizens more than ever need to feel meaningfully engaged with governments, informed about policies and have the possibility to participate in the decisions taken by government that affect their lives. Therefore, transparent and accountable government matters for sustainable development, as does the existence of independent institutions, which can hold government to account. As the UNDP administrator highlighted, “fair, reliable, and accountable governing institutions build trust between people and government and such institutions need to be free of corruption.” As such, the key document that emerged from Rio +20 called for institutional reform to promote sustainable development. This is not about more government, but more effective governance. Such call could not be more relevant for the Latin American and Caribbean region, which is going through its longest

period of democratic regimes, and unprecedented prosperity and levels of human development. This is the basis for sustainable development. However, along with progress there is also a growing citizen frustration with the persistent wealth and power inequality, and a growing citizen insecurity and erosion of the rule of law. The region not only remains the

most unequal in the world, but it also shows three additional tendencies that could directly affect resilience and sustainable development. First, the region remains highly centralized, in spite of some progress in delegation and desconcentration some competencies to sub-national governments; second, the region is the most urbanized in the world; and third, despite the impressive human and economic development trends and the array of anti-corruption actors, tools and legal frameworks,

transparency indicators remain relatively low in the region and the perception of corruption remains high. Therefore, more effective and accountable governance is needed in the region, not only to respond to the Framework of Action and Follow-up of “The Future We Want,” but also to manage the transition to a more decentralized and transparent region and to handle the challenges of growing urbanization. The aspirations of Rio +20 provide the opportunity for better governance at both the national and sub-national levels, rooted in basic principles of transparency and accountability. A centralized, opaque and un-planned urban growth could lead to a nonsustainable future and cannot be an option. Rio +20 has laid down the ground for a long-term transformation, and institutional reform that offers an opportunity to enhance governance accountability capacity from the bottom-up. The generation of an integrated and strategic approach to strengthen subnational governance will be critical to respond to already emerging and potential challenges. For example, unplanned urban sprawl and Continue on next page

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population densities of cities and new urban centers; extreme weather and natural events including floods, fires and natural disasters have further heightened community awareness for more effective land-use planning that minimize risk; public transport that supports fast and reliable transit within and between urban centers; supporting better urban design, quality open and green space with innovation and research in building and construction to enhance wellbeing; and regional and/or commonwealth development opportunities to alleviate pressure on capital cities and the national government. The sustainable development implementation gap in the Latin America and Caribbean region can only be closed if capacities of subnational governments are enhanced. For example, key capacities in terms of identifying, managing and mobilizing resources and designing investment strategies. Similarly, capacities are also needed to allocate and re-distribute resources to ensure efficiency and equity, and citizen participation. Sustainable development at the sub-national level also requires more effective and adaptable institutions in the public and private sectors. It also requires innovative urban planning and greater entrepreneurship and clear cooperation of all the spheres of government. A new governance xxxxxxx

design needs to emerge at the country level, as to have effective mechanisms to articulate multi-level governance. There is a policy space that is dysfunctional at the subnational level (municipalities, parishes, and counties), as dealing directly with national government actors, as opposed to sub-national actors, weakens sub-national governance capacities. The intermediate level of government needs to be strengthened and/or where non-existent, new and effective institutional arrangements need to be designed and implemented. This can have enormous potential to promote sustainable development principles, but is often not there and/or if it exists is characterized by overlapping and fragmented governance structures. At this level it is important to develop spatial strategies that promote an infrastructure configuration that maximizes sharing and minimizes excessive mobility and resource use. The document “The Future we Want� is also more explicit in terms of accountability and transparency. Accountability is seen as a means and ends for a broad range of actors, such as governments, the business/private sector, the non-governmental sector and even the donors, including the United Nations System. Transparency is seen as a complementary means

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and ends, related in particular to the policy making process, citizen participation and budget and financial information. It is impossible to undo the culture of unaccountability with the stroke of a magic wand. The current institutional weave and its interfaces or lack thereof, cannot be changed overnight. It is a process that requires leadership, and longterm dedicated commitment. What is needed is a set of drastic incremental steps to begin creating an alternative culture of accountability that refines, reinforces and rewards the habits of accountability. Unlike 1992, Rio +20 provided an opportunity to take stock and to move forward an agenda to achieve sustainable development. Amidst progress and set-backs of the last 20 years, it was an opportunity to renew political commitments and respect of previous commitments and building on the Rio principles, Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. Beyond the multiple demands and the mixed media coverage, the outcome of the Rio +20 has injected significant impetus towards strengthening subnational governance and accountability. And frankly it cannot be only about the adopted document, the differences between 1992 and 2012 or the mixed reactions to the Continue on next page 3

outcome. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. Sustainable development depends on leadership and initiative from governments, the private sector, NGOs, academic and educational organizations and donors working together to enhance governance capacities for sustainable development. There are already many pledges and commitments made for the Rio +20 agenda. The Sustainable Energy for All initiative for example, and other pledges were made for green economy and disaster reduction, and to deal with desertification. There was a pledge to plant 100 million trees by 2017, where more than 7,000 schools in 150 countries are said to participate.

The greatest commitments came from schools and universities, with nearly 250 pledges, many in kind, such as degree programs, campus eco representatives, and reducing the ecological footprint (see more commitments here) The Rio +20 document also provides explicitly a number of clues to zzzzzzzzz

strengthen subnational governments. Section E of the document, with numerals 97103, lay down a number of elements to enhance subnational governance and accountability. There has been already some constructive reaction from the Latin American Federation of Cities, Municipalities and Local Government AssociationsFLACMA, the UCLG, the joint statement, and FOGAR. A strong signal could be sent, if in the region more commitments and pledges are made and implemented to strengthen sub-national governance and accountability for sustainable development.

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The Use of the Integrated Financial Management System as a Financial Tool for Transparency and Control by Society IADB March 2012. The study analyzes and discusses the role of the Integrated Financial Management System as an inducer of transparency and control by the society, it serves as a tool for generating reliable and accurate information; and the technological aspects to produce and disseminate the State´s financial information. Through online search, the transparency web sites of 18 countries in Latin America were evaluated, with the purpose of identifying three types of requirements related with: (i) the disclosure of contents on public finances management; (ii) availability of historical and timely information ; and (iii) usability and accessibility. The results show a positive evolution of fiscal transparency in the majority of the countries evaluated. The study identifies three preconditions for greater fiscal transparency: (i) the public financial management (PFM) needs of the Integrated Financial Management System as an integrator operating system of all the other systems, using Public Accounting as a tool for registering and integrating information from the (PFM); (ii) Institutional capacity generated by qualified human resources; and (iii) the disclosure of public information to the society as an instrument of social audit. [To download click here] Linking Local Government Discretion and Accountability in Decentralization Serdar Yilmaz, Yakup Beris and Rodrigo Serrano-Berthet. Development Policy Review, Blackwell Publishing, 2010. This paper suggests a methodology to analyze the links between local government discretion and accountability. It integrates both supply side (public sector) and demand side (social) perspectives, in three dimensions: political, administrative, and fiscal. From the analysis of existing literature and taking as an example cases from Asia and Latin America, it is argued that the relationship between local discretion and accountability is far more complex than accountability being an automatic outcome of increased discretion. In fact, increasing resources allocated for public services and expanding local government discretion over the use of these resources require a special attention to fixing accountability incentive structures. Otherwise, decentralization efforts will most likely not convert into more accountable governments. As decentralization reforms become more widespread across the world, they often try to increase the autonomy and discretion of local governments without thinking through bout the incentive structure of accountability that are crucial to obtain more responsive and governments. Even when accountability is taking into consideration, the efforts tend to emphasize only internal governmental mechanisms, neglecting external and citizen vigilance and political oversight, or vice versa. In addition, the relationship between discretion and accountability in decentralization reform is further complicated when fiscal, administrative and political aspects are separated – a point often missed in such reform efforts.

Sustainable Development and Sub-national Governments: Going Beyond Symbolic Politics? Sander Happaerts Research Institute for Work and Society (HIVA) 2012.

This paper takes a closer look at the sustainable development policies of subnational governments. In the past decades many subnational governments have taken many concrete initiatives to institutionalize sustainable development. The paper shows that most subnational policies are characterized by symbolic politics, which means that they have a high political-strategic effectiveness, but low impact effectiveness. Those symbolic politics can be explained by two dynamics. First, sub-national governments lack an overall political will to pursue fundamental changes for sustainable development, although they perceive the need to do something’ about it. Second, symbolic politics are favored by the sub-national governments’ ambition to follow international standards. The paper has two sections; the first section presents a comparative case study analysis of five subnational governments: Quebec (Canada), Flanders (Belgium), Wallonia (Belgium), North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and North Holland (the Netherlands). The second section offers a conceptual framework of symbolic politics. Finally, the paper also looks ahead to the possible impact of Rio+20 and the new concepts that the summit might endorse, such as “green economy.” [To download click here] Towards an Accountability Policy in Mexico Superior Audit of the Federation/CIDE/RRC 2011.

This book is the result of the discussions and presentations in the framework of the International Seminar "Towards an Accountability Policy in Mexico” that was held in August 2011 in Mexico, organized by the Accountability Network of Mexico (RCC), a coalition of about 50 organizations committed to the topic of accountability. The objective of the Seminar was to define and discuss the causes of the problem that generate lack of accountability in Mexico. The Book is a product of the Seminar and contains 7 articles that analyze various issues and dimensions of accountability. It is recognized that the reforms achieved in the last few decades have created a set of public expenditure oversight institutions, which has allowed evaluation of public policies, to measure government´s performance and analyze the impact of access to government information. Similarly, there is an acknowledgement that civil society has gained more and better capabilities to participate in public life, and demand accountability. In spite of this progress, one of the main conclusions of the book is that to overcome the accountability challenges in Mexico is not necessary to have more laws and uncoordinated entities, but instead to build an articulated institutional framework, concrete and with well-defined objectives. [To download click here]

Local Governance and Decentralization Newsletter [To download click here]


A country’s transition from low-income to middle-income status implies a shift in the relationship between government agencies and civil society organizations in the way they interact to each other. In low-income countries, policymakers generally rely on anecdotal evidence/narrative to assess the quality of its public administration and public services delivery, but this information is often misleading and at best incomplete. To confront the new social, economic and institutional challenges, policy-makers need to be informed; citizens (i.e. civil society) with information are empowered, and an informed/empowered citizen can have a greater responsibility towards his/her community and country. The relationship between governments and citizens has shifted in most developing countries in the last decade, and Viet Nam is not an exception. The better educated and informed citizens are the better and more efficient administrative services they will demand from governments. Nowadays, as Viet Nam enters into the range of middle income countries, citizens increasingly demand a public administration system free of bureaucratic and administrative corruption, patronage, nepotism, diversion and stealing of public funds. Similarly, they demand public administration systems that promote development and equity, more participation in the decision-making processes of public policies, as well as on their implementation and monitoring. In a context of increasing demands for engaging citizens in government affairs, UNDP Viet Nam has stepped up its policy an advisory service with innovative ways to provide objective and evidence-based measures to policy–making decisions. The Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) is a pioneering

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effort to engage citizens’ experiences on how to reduce corruption and improve governance in a one-party State. The PAPI gives voice to citizens on their experiences with governance and public services. It is the largest exercise of its kind measuring experiences with governance drawn from citizens’ interactions with governmental authorities at different levels, including issues of transparency, accountability and control of corruption. A total of more than 13,600 citizens were consulted on their direct experience with the performance of provincial and sub-national authorities on various governance and public administration issues. The PAPI research offers a comprehensive picture of the current state of affairs of sub-national governance in all 63 of Viet Nam’s provinces. It also provides extensive analysis of governance and public administration performance at the national level. The PAPI policy research also includes information on a range of issues affecting ordinary Vietnamese, including on land, health and education. In the area of land for example, the PAPI survey finds that 8 out of 10 citizens at the subnational level are unaware of land use plans. Getting land use rights certificates remains a problematic public administrative service that systematically scores lowest among the four types of administrative procedures measured in both the 2010 and 2011 PAPI surveys. According to PAPI 2011 findings, of the one-third of citizens who lost land only 9% of those surveyed said the compensation they received was close to the market value. This is a decline from the 2010 results, where 17% said the compensation was close to the market value. Continue on next page


In the area of corruption in the public sector, a third (31%) of those surveyed said bribery is needed to receive medical care; almost a third (29%) that it is needed to get a job in the public sector; two in five (21%) that it is needed to apply for a land use right certificate; and 17% that bribery is needed for children to get better treatment in schools.

The PAPI survey looks at six different dimensions of provincial governance and public administration. This includes: (i) participation at the sub-national level; (ii) transparency; (iii) vertical accountability; (iv) control of corruption in the public sector; (v) public administrative procedures; and (vi) public service delivery. The full report is available here.

The research is helping policy makers and the international development community better understand Vietnamese people’s experiences, and to draw concrete lessons on how to reduce corruption and improve citizen satisfaction with public administration. For example, in 2010 Kon Tum province in central Viet Nam was ranked as one of the lowest performing provinces in the index. As a result, the provincial authorities decided to use the survey data and good practices from other provinces to develop an action plan to tackle corruption and informal payments and improve public services. This plan is now being implemented across the province.

Since the launch of the 2011 survey in May 2012, there has also been extensive Media coverage and discussion of the results. The media debate is continuing and this is helping to keep attention on the issues and problems raised, as well as the need to focus on solutions and actions. PAPI is a joint policy research initiative implemented collaboratively between the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies under the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations, the Commission on People’s Petitions under the Standing Committee for the National Assembly, and UNDP in Viet Nam.

*Policy Advisor, Public Administration Reform and Anti-Corruption, UNDP Viet Nam. E-mail, Local Governance and Decentralization Newsletter


On July 9th the Conversatory “The State of Civil Service and Human Resources in the Public Sector in Latin America: Where are we and How are we Doing?” was held in the LAC Regional CentrePanama. The event target practitioners from UNDP’s Panama Country Office, the Regional Center, and other United Nations System, and academics. It was an opportunity to exchange ideas about the state of the civil service in Latin America and to share results of recent studies. What follows is a summary of the main issues highlighted in the event. The ensuing regional and sub-regional studies that have been promoted by international organizations since 2000 (Reports of Civil Services, IDB, 2006; BAROMETER 2009 and 2012) to monitor the degree of implementation of the principles contained in the Ibero-American Charter for the Public Service show that the efforts in building meritocratic and flexible civil services have been a partially and diversely successful. There are distinctions between the countries, but within each country there is also a mosaic that combines segments of meritocratic, parallel, clientelistic and administrative bureaucracy (See How Democracy Works). Within that regional diversity that shows more shades of gray, the deliberate focus was on unique experiences that cannot fit in a general model of “the” Latin-American civil service, far from being a homogenous whole. According to the Ibero-American Charter for the Public Service, professionalization implies combining merit and flexibility in the civil service system’s design. It also implies the translation of these principles into concrete management

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practices. This requires regulatory capable and politically supported institutions and senior executive management level involvement. (See Iacoviello y Strazza, 2011, Iacoviello y Pulido, 2012) Let's see some concrete regional experiences in terms of professionalization of the civil service. Management of merit requirements The meritocratic incorporation has been installed as a general principle in the Costa Rican, Brazilian and Chilean civil service, but also in segments of public employment in most of the countries in the region. In addition, the dramatic situation that countries such as the Dominican Republic, Peru and El Salvador had to deal with in the early years of the XXI century have been reversed, thanks to the initiatives that promote the gradual introduction of competitions of access to public employment. At the time of design, it is interesting to consider the option of selection committees that are integrated by third parties such as it occurs for example in the case of the Senior Public Management System implemented in Chile, which incorporates the figure of a Council of technical profile and political diversity. This Council is the guarantor of sustained improvement in the process. Implementation of flexible mechanisms The management model that supports the Ibero-American Charter for the Public Service does not propose a scheme of a "zero sum" between merit and flexibility. Rather, flexibility is meant to be what ultimately guarantees sustainability of meritocracy (LONGO 2002). Among the mechanisms of contractual flexibility, the employment relationships without stability with defined deadlines and pre-defined tasks. There are many examples of successful policies to reduce the labor condition gap Continue on next page


between contracted and permanent staff in the region. For example, the “hiring” system in Chile, with the right to have a career and results-based responsibilities; the changes introduced in the recruitment process in Argentina through the Law of Public Employment; and replacing "non-personal services" with administrative contracts in Peru.

and Costa Rica, as well as more recently in the Dominican Republic, Peru, Paraguay and El Salvador, can be attributed to the institutional strengthening of the civil service responsible.

Functional flexibility helps to adapt the decisions of human resources to the challenges faced by public organizations. In this line the Senior Public Management System implemented in Chile (Sistema de Alta Dirección Publica ), the Board of Government Administrators in Argentina (Cuerpo de Administradores Gubernamentales) and most recently the Board of Public Managers in Peru (Cuerpo de Gerentes Públicos de Perú) are examples of flexible employment management approaches, with meritocratic selection based on background and skills.

The best design of public employment policies falls in a vacuum without a cadre of senior managers with competencies and incentives to be actively involved in managing their teams or units. For this reason it is important to analyze and highlight the regional experiences of regimes especially for senior public managers (vis-à-vis those generic civil service), such as the case of Chile and Mexico with senior management employment systems, or the already mentioned crosscutting professional systems in Argentina and Peru.

The wage flexibility completes the repertoire although there are fewer experiences in the region. The case of Chile can be highlights with its equitable wage structure and variable payment through a bonus that is associated to individual and institutional performance (both are for permanent and recruited staff). In the rest of the region there is still a large deficit in terms of internal and external remuneration equity. Although critical situations such as the cases of Ecuador and Peru have been reversed in recent years.

In sum, in spite of uneven development and the ongoing unresolved challenges in Latin America, in its civil service experience one can find in all four aspects mentioned above initiatives that are aligned with the precepts of the IberoAmerican Charter for the Public Service. We are referring to initiatives that go far beyond the establishment of merely normative rules of the game. That is, it is a question of implementing meritocratic and flexible management approaches.

Hierarchy of the regulating body for human resources policy

As was done in this event, it is worth highlighting positive experiences of civil service professionalization, not to transfer them automatically to other political-institutional environments but rather to inspire reforms situated in the concrete reality of Latin American countries

Having a regulatory capable and politically supported institution is an unavoidable requirement to sustain the professionalization of civil service. Much of the sustained improvements in the civil service in Chile, Brazil, Colombia

Leadership of senior public managers

*Associate Expert of the Democratic Governance Area of the UNDP Regional Service Center for Latin America and the Caribbean. Local Governance and Decentralization Newsletter


The Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate (GOV) GOV is a specialized website of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which provides governments with tools to adapt their public sector arrangements to the changing needs of modern society. It is a comprehensive platform that contains reports, documents and statistical analysis. GOV has seven main areas of work: 1) budget and public expenditure, 2) fighting corruption in the public sector, 3) public employment and management, 4) innovation in the public sector and e-government, 5) regional development, 6) regulatory policy and 7) risk management. GOV provides access to the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, aimed to systematically collect, categorize, analyze and share innovative practices from across the public sector, via an online interactive database. The website is aimed at civil servants, academics, policy makers and practitioners. To visit the web site, click here

We are pleased to welcome Lissa Schafer, who since August has incorporated to the Democratic Governance Team in the Regional Centre. Lissa was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and holds a BA in Public Translations at the University of Saarland. Currently she is studying a Master in International Relations at the University of Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with main emphasis in development, economy and cooperation. In 2010, during her last semester of the translation career she made an internship for 4 months in the Argentinian Main Consulate in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She worked in the representation group REFRA which belongs to the Argentinian Embassy. Among other projects, translations and exercises she helped in the organization of the Argentinian representation as honor guest of the international Book Fair in Frankfurt.

According to the Pro- Decentralization Peru Newsletter No 13, in 2011, local and regional governments in Peru had a lower implementation rate of public expenditure in investments than the national government. Local and regional governments implemented 62%, and 64% respectively, while the national government had an 82% implementation rate. Similarly, if the 2011 implementation rate is compared with 2010, the observed trend is negative, as only the National Government shows a positive variation of 9.5%, while regional and local governments present a declining trend of 5% and 13.5% respectively. In 2010, local governments implemented in national currency (new soles) approximately the equivalent of US$ 3.6 billion, and in 2011 3.2 billion respectively was implemented. As far as regional governments, in 2010 they implemented in national currency (new soles) approximately the equivalent of US$ 1.8 billion, and in 2011 1.7 billion respectively was implemented.

Mission of Associate Expert Alvaro Galvez to UNDP Honduras, to provide advisory services for institutional strengthening of the st th Rafael Landaverde Foundation August 1 to 15 , Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

International Youth Day, August 12.

Regional Workshop: From the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to Anti-Corruption Policies in Latin America, August 23 – 24. UNODC and Regional Service Centre UNDP, Panama.

 Youth Organizations Dialogue Meeting: Opportunities and Challenges of Youth Participation in Subnational Governance. August 26 – 29, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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Regional Caribbean Workshop “Enhancing Young Leaders’ Skills for Engaging in Social Audit Processes”, September 19- 21, Kingston, Jamaica. Regional Workshop on Governance and Accountability in the Water Sector, September/October, Panama City, Panama.

Democratic Governance Area Community of Practice Meeting, October 24 – 26, Mexico.

Fifth UNDP Global Anti-Corruption Community of Practice Meeting, November 5 – 6. Brasilia, Brazil. Local Governance and Decentralization Newsletter


Newsletter No 21 - Local Governance and Decentralization  

Newsletter No 21 - Local Governance and Decentralization

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