Toward Mainstreaming Social Accountability: Mapping of Participatory Planning in East Asia


Planning for local development has always been considered an expert driven, top‐down exercise. With the emergence of decentralized local governance in many countries the local governance institutions are now entrusted to plan, implement and deliver basic services to the citizens.

The mandate for these institutions to involve in local planning and the promise to engage citizens in the decision making process prompted many development actors to experiment participatory planning processes in the context of local governance. Before 1990s most of East Asian countries were highly centralised, whereas today sub national and local governments are most important vehicles of regional and local development.

Important factors that are driving decentralisation in these East Asian countries are first economic growth, urbanisation and a second wave of democratisation. However, not all of these countries are at the same page of governance reform. Decentralistion is often hailed for moving government closer to its citizens and providing opportunities for participation in decision making.

Enabling policies, programmes and institutions for participatory local planning is an important component of the reform process for decentralised governance in these East Asian countries. This study, done in partnership with PRIA Global Partnership, analysed such policies, programmes and institutions of Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Mongolia in the context of social accountability and following sections will draw references mainly from these countries.

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