Local Governance and Civic Engagement

Good or democratic governance is both a means and an end. It is a means to achieve the goals of human development, the main elements of which are articulated through the set of MDGs. It is an end in itself – as values, policies and institutions that are governed by human rights principles, i.e., equality and non-discrimination, participation and inclusiveness, accountability and the rule of law. Decentralising democratic governance to sub-national levels can accelerate and deepen improvements in access to basic services by the poor and in their capacities to make choices and contribute to decision-making processes directly affecting their lives.

Local Governance service line under Democratic Governance has provided UNDP an opportunity to continue expanding its reach—from collaborating with mainly national-level officials in the past, to forging solid partnerships with sub-national, local and community-level leaders today. Such shift is a testament to the organisation's commitment to always bring the development agenda back to where it matters the most.

Based on these comparative strengths and taking into account lessons from experience, UNDP’s niche in the area of local governance and civic engagement in Turkey lies in the following areas:

- Creating enabling environment and institutional framework at national and sub-national levels using participatory approaches
- Developing capacities of local democratic institutions, especially locally elected governments, as well as national agencies tasked with supporting them
- Strengthening citizen participation and community empowerment
- Facilitating partnerships among various actors and brokering knowledge and resources
- Strengthen cooperation with the local and regional governance and participation structures, for pluralistic and inclusive participatory structures
- Direct involvement to the strengthening of community participation structures such as the city councils, the youth councils and the women councils
- Advocacy and implementation of initiatives aiming community empowerment, with particular emphasis on neighborhood management, grassroots as well as decentralized public structures