Somaliland: The Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery (JPLG)


A JPLG funded road under construction in Hargeisa

Somalilandsun – JPLG aims to strengthen local governance and enhance decentralized services in Somaliland and other regions of Somalia. The JPLG coordinates its work with central and local governments, five UN partner agencies (UNDP, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNCDF and ILO), numerous development partners, as well as the private sector and communities. Activities are financed by Denmark, DFID, EU, SIDA and Switzerland.

In Somaliland, the constitution adopted in 2001, lays down the legal framework for decentralization. The President appointed champion for local governance, Vice President Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail Sayli, described how decentralization brings a tangible change in the lives of citizens, by bringing government and its services closer to them. To support these efforts, JLPG is being implemented in Somaliland by ILO, UNCDF, UNDP, UN-Habitat, UNICEF and Somaliland’s administration. Currently, JPLG is working with 7 districts (Berbera, Boroma, Burao, Gabiley, Hargeisa, Odweine, and Sheikh) to increase civil servants’ capacity, while developing processes and systems that more effectively deliver services to their constituents.

The JPLG is designed to contribute towards:

1. The Somali Reconstruction and Development Programme 2008 –12 (RDP) priority/goal(s) of deepening peace, improving security and establishing good governance and investing in people through improved social services, and specifically to the RDP target outcome of ‘Decentralised service delivery achieved in all of South-Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland.

2. It follows a comprehensive approach to rendering local governments as credible basic service providers, and strengthening civic awareness and participation in decision making. The JPLG covers Outcome 1, sub outcome 1.3 of the United Nations Somali Assistance Strategy (UNSAS) 2011 -2015.

Current donors to the JPLG

EC, DFID, SIDA (Sweden), USAID, Italy, Norway, Denmark, UNDP and UNCDF.

The overall objective of the programme is that local governance contributes to peace and equitable priority service delivery in selected locations.

It will be the responsibility of the respective governments to establish the Regional and District councils in accordance with their regulatory framework and ensure safety and security for UN operations in target areas. Then the JPLG will assist to develop, strengthen and initiate systems for these local councils to be recognised and legitimate, function professionally, perform effectively, and to be responsive, representative, participatory, open and accountable to their citizens and provide services. The JPLG will support the design, development and implementation of appropriate policies, institutional and regulatory frameworks that facilitate participatory, transparent and equitable decentralised delivery of services and good governance at the local level. It will build the capacity of districts to engage communities in the planning, implementation and monitoring of public investment in basic services in urban and rural areas, and improve delivery of and access to basic services through public-private partnerships and relevant institutional frameworks.

Emphasis will be on ensuring people are provided with opportunities to participate in the local level public expenditure management processes such as district planning, prioritising, monitoring and holding local authorities accountable; as well as to engage in the implementation of projects directly benefiting them. Consensus building, conflict resolution techniques and gender considerations will be important themes built into the policies and systems alike. A seminal piece of the JPLG is the development and implementation of a local development fund (inter- governmental fiscal transfer mechanism) and this will be in place in Somaliland and Puntland by 2011.

The specific objectives of the programme are:

• Communities have access to basic services through local government, and

• Local governments are accountable and transparent.

Throughout the JPLG strong emphasis will be placed on equity and participation of marginalised groups, human rights, and good governance principles of transparency, accountability and participation.

Duration :

5 years in 2 phases 2008-2010 (UNTP) and 2010-2012 with the project document being officially signed in April 2008.

Geographic scope

• A national programme and eventually all Regions/98 Districts of Somalia and starting with a small number in 2009 to pilot methodology.

• Separate and integrated Annual Work Plans and budgets for Somaliland, Puntland and South Central.

Partnerships for implementation

A joint programme of 5 UN partners – UNDP, UNICEF, UN Habitat, ILO and UNCDF who are committed to work together and with and for national stakeholders, local governments, communities for maximum capacity development impact. The joint programme pass through mechanism is the stated financing arrangement for this joint programme.

Principles of JPLG

Participation, accountability, transparency and capacity development.

By: Waris Mohamed

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Vice president participated in a meeting to discuss ways of further developing the Joint Program for Local Governance-JPLG project already implemented in 7 different regions of Somaliland.

The JPLG project is implemented by International NGOs such as UNICEF, UNDP, UN Habitat, UNCDF, and ILO, in cooperation with Somaliland’s Ministry of Interior. The vice president and the participants together analyzed progress made and obstacles faced during the past 6 months.

Attendees at the event included high ranking officials from the international NGOs responsible of implementing this project in Somaliland, and other notable figures of Somaliland’s government.

Somaliland’s vice president at the first speaker at the event spoke about the significance of such developmental projects in the country, in specific the JPLG project which needs further development and implementation throughout the nation to reach the rest of the regions in Somaliland.

During his speech, the Vice president of Somaliland Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail Saylici, praised the efforts of everyone involved in this project whether it’s the government or members of these international NGOs.

One of the main objectives of this project is to develop the administrations of different sectors of Somaliland such as Education, Health, and different districts nationwide.

In conclusion, other NGO officials also spoke at this meeting which ends tomorrow, expressing their enthusiasm in being part of such project.