New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone
Chapter 15: Capacity Constraints on Local Government Environmental Policies in Ghana
Felix Ankomah Asante 1. INTRODUCTION Decentralization, a potential and eﬀective way of enhancing the quality of public administration, is deﬁned as the de-concentration and devolution of power and responsibility to local levels. Decentralization helps to generate good contacts with citizens, brings decision-making to the level where events generally take place, helps to strengthen the democratic process and lays the foundation for the emergence of autonomous institutions of governance within the structure of the national state (Ayee, 2003a). Tremendous shifts have been experienced under the current decentralization policy in Ghana. These shifts would not have been possible without a relatively high degree of political commitment on the part of the government. Not only is power – planning, administrative, ﬁnancial, legislative and executive – being transferred, the ingredients to operationalize local government and decentralization are also being provided side by side. However, the pace of transfer of resources, means and competencies has not been appreciable due to administrative, ﬁnancial, manpower, infrastructural and institutional reasons. The ability to achieve successful transfer of power depends, amongst others, on building administrative capacity at all levels of society, both by involving a wider range of organizations and by decentralizing authority and responsibility. It is essential to develop institutional capacity not only within the government structure, but also the institutional capacity of local organizations, and most importantly to construct both horizontal and vertical linkages between these organizations and the national political economy framework. Evidence abounds that the creation of a legal framework for transferring power does not...
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