The UN JPLG is a joint programming tool for alignment of UN priorities to governments as well as to multiple development partners' strategies and to coordinate programme implementation and financial management of the five participating UN agencies. In addition, this joint programme ensures the complementarity of inputs of technical agencies and to develop a singular interlocutor for the all partners.
Five UN agencies (UNDP, UNICEF, HABITAT, ILO and UNCDF) have been working in partnership to deliver the Joint Programme for Local Governance and Service Delivery (JPLG) since 2008. The programme, which is funded by six donors (EU, UK-DFID, SWEDEN - SIDA, NORWAY, DENMARK – DANIDA & SWITZERLAND - SDC), continues to achieve significant results in enhancing local governance in Somalia. It is envisaged that the new programme will continue the core areas of successful work delivered in JPLG I and II while drawing on lessons learnt, to deliver a more coherent and contextually relevant JPLG III.
The JPLG for Somalia is a programme implemented by ILO, UNCDF, UNDP, UN-HABITAT and UNICEF which commenced its Phase II on January 01, 2013 and is scheduled to end in December 31, 2017. The overall objective of JPLG Phase II is to:
promote improvements in local governance quality that can contribute to peace consolidation, state development and equitable service delivery.
For JPLG's overall objective to be realized, a number of agents will have to promote change that can alter the status quo in a direction that fosters a stronger, more responsive and accountable compact between the state and its citizens in the provision of service delivery. During the first phase JPLG has demonstrated its ability to partner with development actors and support these in promoting peace and state building with a clear and unique focus on local governance processes. It has thus created a platform consisting of strong partnerships, robust methodologies for improving accountability of service delivery and valuable local level experiences that can inform policy making at the central level. This also entails continued engagement with local and central level authorities, but increasingly extending beyond Ministries of Interior further engage/include sector line ministries, to ensure that future service delivery models are consistent with mandates, capacities and funding levels.
To achieve this, the programme outcomes are structured around three mutually reinforcing strategies:
- Supporting policy and legislative reforms for functional, fiscal and administrative decentralization that clarify and enhance the roles of local governments, their relationships to central government, and as a means to improve local service delivery: Outcome 1 focuses on policy and legal frameworks across Somalia and is designed to address weaknesses in current laws on decentralization in Somaliland and Puntland. These provide a complete account of the responsibilities and functions to be devolved to local government, ignore the fiscal implications and lack supporting regulations for implementation. These issues need to be clarified in order to resolve disputes between central ministries and districts, and to provide a stronger foundation for local governments to move forward;
- Improving local government capacity for equitable service delivery: Outcome 2 aims to address the weak capacity of local authorities in Somalia by providing a comprehensive package of training and technical support covering basic elements of local administration. It also seeks to improve coordination between districts and the centre in planning and programming to ensure better consistency and use of resources. It is concerned with increasing locally generated revenues and strengthening the role and coverage of the Local Development Funds (LDF); and,
- Improving and expanding the delivery of sustainable services to citizens in an equitable, responsive and socially accountable manner and promoting local economic environment: Outcome 3 focuses on improving the delivery of local services. This is to be achieved by collaborating more closely with central line departments, engaging more directly with non-state providers, and enhancing the accountability of local governments to their constituents. Another element relates to strengthening the local economy, promoting private investment and enterprise, and creating more and better job opportunities.
In approaching its work in Somalia, JPLG has adopted a number of principles, which have guided the programme and continue to be revised and adapted as evolving contexts and developments require. These will continue to provide the basis for engagement and programming and are summarized below:
- International engagement in fragile states: Implementation of the JPLG incorporates principles advocated by the OECD such as: take the context as the starting point, focus on state building as the central objective, do no harm and act fast and stay engaged;
- Harmonization: Harmonization of all processes and practice for more effective programme delivery.
- Coordination. Maintaining effective coordination mechanisms to ensure efficient and effective implementation, management and utilization of resource;
- Cooperation and working together: Cooperation between national and sub-national entities, their constituents including the private sector to enrich understanding of local needs and delivery of services within a coherent and productive framework;
- Learning-by-doing: This is a core element of JPLG's approach for sustained capacity development, complemented with formal training, on-the-job training and mentoring;
- Capacity development linked to investment: A local development fiscal transfer mechanism allows districts to access funds for investment in service delivery projects.
- Predictability: Certainty of a minimum annual allocation through the LDF allows districts to undertake multi-year planning and budgeting;
- Transparency, Accountability and Participation: Principles of good governance embedded in the public expenditure management processes improves overall trust and accountability between the people and their local governments;
- Simple, Action and Solution Oriented: Systems, processes, tools and procedures are designed to be simple and context specific while ensuring attention to accountability, efficiency and quality;
- Ownership and institutionalization: The full engagement and endorsement of government partners and other relevant stakeholders (including the private sector, communities and civil society) aims to ensure ownership and the ultimate adoption as a national practice;
- Criteria for selection of target districts: Criteria for selection of target districts includes recognition by the UN (those that existed in 1991); accessibility for UN staff based on DSS criteria; a district council in place; one that operates a basic financial management system; and one whose selection will not provoke disputes over boundaries or armed conflict;
- Common approach and practice across agencies: Adherence to common practice in key areas including procurement, recruitment and remuneration of local partners and consultants;
- Respect for people's rights: An emphasis on equity and inclusiveness particularly of women and minorities;
- Promotion of peace: All interventions to be based on conflict analysis with the aim of ensuring that Programme interventions promote peace, and do not favor particular clans, entities or other groups;
- Labor considerations: An emphasis on creating decent work opportunities, and promoting minimum quality standards and conditions of employment; and,
- Value for money: Programme activities to achieve value for money, entailing assessments of the Programme's effectiveness, efficiency and economy.