Making Decentralisation Work in Chile

Towards Stronger Municipalities

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This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges confronting Chile’s centralised growth model and recommendations towards developing a more integrated territorial approach, capable of mobilising regional productivity catch-up potential in order to strengthen the role of regions and municipalities.

The Chilean government has launched an ambitious decentralisation agenda, aimed at empowering municipalities by providing them with the legitimacy, financial resources, human capacities and tools required to improve their autonomy and performance. This study seeks to assist the government by covering several dimensions, looking at municipal responsibilities, fiscal and human resources, equalisation mechanisms, local public service performance,  citizen participation, and co-ordination mechanisms across levels of government.


The participatory challenge

Strengthening participatory governance at the local level

The fifth crucial dimension of decentralisation reform is community participation and democracy at the municipal level as a means to building a more inclusive and more democratic society through formal mechanisms but by promoting transparency and accountability practices and greater citizen participation. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the state of participatory governance in Chile using engagement, community, voter turnout and trust in government as indicators. It then presents the country’s main levers for promoting transparency, accountability and participation, and identifies some of the key issues surrounding their implementation. Following this is a discussion of what may help address the primary challenges, and the chapter concludes with a series of recommendations for action.


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