The suggested utility of decentralized development in Iraq and the Palestinian occupied territories is meant to provide policymakers new alternatives to managing and resolving these conflicts. This paper aims to address this issue.
The overall paradigm of decentralization is presented and how participatory development relates within it is described. As the conditions in Iraq and Palestine are then discussed, cited qualities and results of decentralized participatory development are shown to directly address the fundamental issues that perpetuate these conflicts.
The paper finds that decentralization to local communities of development planning and management reinforces national sovereignty when national governments actively support its implementation. The productive partnerships among government, civil organizations and private groups that can result from decentralization – both vertically and horizontally along administrative tiers – strengthen both local community and national autonomy.
The decentralization strategy presented – participatory development – has been shown in cases around the world to also generate vital economic, social, and environmental benefits in a more expeditious and at a lower cost than typical development assistance programs. These outcomes, among others, are what is needed to help resolve conflicts in Iraq and between the Israelis and Palestinians – conflicts rooted in matters of sovereignty, development and reconciliation. In Iraq, decentralization of development will give the national government legitimacy, the Iraqis ownership of their own reconstruction, and the opportunity to incorporate reconciliation as part of the process. In the Palestinian occupied territories, decentralized development will bring immediate relief and build socio‐economic self‐reliance in a way that restructures their economy to be less dependent on Israel and help reduce tensions and violence.
There are important theoretical and applied values of this analysis. By explaining how different ideological perspectives (socialism, neo‐liberalism, alternative development and others) relate to the various organizational arrangements of decentralization, a detailed description of the decentralization paradigm is provided. Then by presenting participatory development as a strategy of decentralization and showing how it can be implemented in Iraq and Palestine, it is shown to be a practical tool with outcomes that correspond fittingly to the fundamental requirements for resolving these destabilizing conflicts. The analysis contributes to both the theoretical and applied knowledge of decentralization.
Ben‐Meir, Y. (2009), "National sovereignty through decentralization: A community‐level approach to conflict management in Iraq and the Palestinian occupied territories", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 29 No. 5/6, pp. 237-251. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330910965778Download as .RIS
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