GUIDEBOOK "Direction: an efficient state"
The Polish Decentralisation Guidebook aims at presenting in a synthetic way the experience of Poland regarding the re-introduction of local government and the decentralisation process since 1989. Its main goal is to provide representatives of central and regional authorities, experts, and representatives of opinion-forming circles in Armenia and Georgia with relevant information and knowledge. The idea of the authors of this Guidebook was to facilitate mutual learning between the countries, the exchange of good practices, and lessons learned.
The territorial division of Armenia was established in 1995. Now the country has two levels of administrative division – regions and communities – and the local self-government is exercised only on the level of communities. In the case of Georgia, administrative reform aimed at introducing local government started in 1997. Currently, self-government in Georgia is exercised on just one level – in municipalities (including self-governing cities and self-governing communities). Poland’s experience, in which local government units are established on all three levels of territorial division, might be useful to Armenia and Georgia, if they wish to further reform their territorial administration and pursue decentralisation.
This Guidebook is comprised of four main parts. The first part is devoted to the presentation of the Polish experience in five selected areas:
- Empowerment of local communities
- Financing of local government units
- Providing public services
- Absorption of external funds by local governments
- Crisis responses
The second part is dedicated to the presentation and analysis of needs and main blocking points in decentralisation in Armenia, while the third one concentrates on Georgia. Both of them are structured around the five above-listed areas.
The last but very most important section of this Guidebook provides a set of recommendations for Armenia and Georgia based on the Polish experience in introducing local government and decentralisation.
The country-specific sections of this Guidebook were prepared mainly on the basis of the results of desk research. This included reviewing the existing literature, relevant state strategies and action plans as well as reports developed by local and international organisations. Key legal acts were also reviewed. In addition, interviews with representatives of local municipalities and other stakeholders were carried out in Armenia and Georgia.
This Guidebook was developed as part of the project called ‘Direction: an efficient state. Polish experiences of decentralisation and modernisation, lessons learned for Armenia and Georgia’ co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. It is the joint work of three partner institutions: CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research based in Warsaw, the Tbilisi-based Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP), and the Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC) from Yerevan.