Political Will & Vision
Process matters: Political will and a common vision
In many countries decentralisation is relatively high on the agenda of political actors, and in principle not controversial, since many will be able to subscribe to some of the objectives pursued with decentralisation. However, the transfer of political, administrative and fiscal powers from the centre to the regions and/or local government is often a challenge in practise, since this means that some will face a decrease of political, administrative and fiscal powers. Though there might not be open opposition to decentralisation reforms, in many cases political will of current elites and higher civil servants to push decentralisation forward is limited. The testing ground for political will is often the approach to fiscal decentralisation. If the centre maintains control over finances it in effect can also steer and command the decentralised units with incentives and conditions and in effect limit their decision-making power.
Sometimes different political actors pursue different aims with decentralisation. If there is no common vision among the main stakeholders, it will be difficult to agree on and implement a coherent design and to build processes and an atmosphere conducive to decentralisation.
Process design matters for supporting inclusive political decision-making on the future state organisation as well for the process of actually transferring tasks from the centre to the decentralised units. This process of implementation normally requires careful sequencing and clear vision who will be doing what, when and with what kind of resources.