Decentralisation


“Decentralisation is usually referred to as the transfer of powers from central government to lower levels in a political-administrative and territorial hierarchy . This official power transfer can take two main forms. Administrative decentralisation, also known as deconcentration, refers to a transfer to lower-level central government authorities, or to other local authorities who are upwardly accountable to the central government (Ribot 2002). In contrast, political, or democratic, decentralisation refers to the transfer of authority to representative and downwardly accountable actors, such as elected local governments” (Larson).

• “The term decentralisation is used to cover a broad range of transfers of the “locus of decision making” from central governments to regional, municipal or local governments” (Sayer et al.).

• Decentralization reform refers to “transforming the local institutional infrastructure for natural resource management on which local forest management is based” (Ribot).

• “Decentralization is “the means to allow for the participation of people and local governments” (Morell).

• Decentralization is transferring the power from the federal to regional level or delivering management functions to other authorities. Decentralization in decision making including in forest management: user-defined functions being transferred tothe private sector, and arrangements for the Forest Fund are transferred to the regions/administrative units of the Federation, which are badly prepared to implement these rights (Malysheva).



• “Definitions of the different types of decentralization vary and the same terms are sometimes used in inconsistent ways in the literature on the subject”.

The paper by Gregersen, Contreras-Hermosilla, White and Phillips adopts the following definitions:

o “Political decentralization: Groups at different levels of government–central, meso and local–are empowered to make decisions related to what affects them.

o Administrative decentralization: Different levels of government administer resources and matters that have been delegated to them, generally through a constitution. In terms of decentralization as a process of change, and according to the level of transfer of responsibilities, it is useful to distinguish between deconcentration, delegation and devolution.

o Fiscal decentralization. In this case, previously concentrated powers to tax and generate revenues are dispersed to other levels of government, e.g., local governments are given the power to raise and retain financial resources to fulfill their responsibilities.

o Market decentralization: Government privatizes or deregulates private functions, such as occurred in the case of New Zealand forest sector”. (World Bank 2000 in Gregersen et al.) http://www.worldbank.org/publicsector/decentralization/admindecen.htm

• “In Bolivia, decentralization of forest management was strongly linked to two ongoing processes initiated in the mid-1990s. The first sought to institutionalize social participation as part of a broader process of institutional reform of municipalities, and the second was aimed at reforming the forest regulations dating from the mid-1970s. Both have been interlinked through promoting a larger involvement of municipal governments in a wide range of forestry-related issues since the second half of the 1990s” (Pacheco).

• “Decentralization of forest management in Guatemala has taken the form of “municipalization”, or deconcentration, as a highly centralized forest regulatory system has been delegated to municipalities” (Elias and Wittman).

• Decentralization is transforming the local institutional infrastructure on which local forest management is based. Three basic elements of decentralization are accountability, discretionary power, and security (Ribot).

• “Decentralization in Zimbabwe’s forest sector has been varied depending on the tenurial status of the land on which the woodlands are found. In protected forest zones, collaborative resource management regimes have only recently been introduced. Collaborative resource management is a variant of decentralization in which communities residing at the margin of state forests can access a limited set of products from the forests” (Hlambela and Kozanayi).

• “Decentralization means to hand over political, financial and administrative authority from central to local (district/city) governments, so that the government can facilitate and guarantee better public services for the people. Decentralization of the forestry sector should, however, be viewed as a positive development to bring public services closer to the people through managing forest resources in a sustainable manner for the community’s welfare” (Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia). As mentioned above, there are various types of decentralization such as deconcentration, devolution and delegation.