Local governments are often the first to collapse when factions fight for territorial control. In post-conflict settings, the state is often unable to effectively reach parts of its territory for years. Given these challenges, it is no surprise that decentralization and local governance provisions are increasingly prominent in peace agreements and national post-conflict peacebuilding agendas.


This online course explores how decentralization contributes to peacebuilding and identifies the elements of local governance that are most relevant in a post-conflict/peacebuilding context. Concrete case studies are used to illustrate successful decentralization reforms and peacebuilding efforts at the local level.



Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:


  • Analyse the different forms of decentralized governance (deconcentration, delegation, devolution) and their implications on the organisation of the State at the subnational level;
  • Identify key elements that can improve the effectiveness of a decentralization process for peacebuilding;
  • Examine the relationship between decentralization and peacebuilding, and assess the extent to which effective decentralized governance may help prevent or mitigate the risk of violent conflicts, and/or contribute to their peaceful resolution


Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

This online course combines self-paced modules and tutor-led online sessions and webinars. Participants are primarily responsible for their own learning. The format allows live interaction among participants during the tutor-led online sessions.


At the end of each week of training, the tutor will hold a webinar to further discuss topics of the course and the input that the participants have shared through the “Knowledge Sharing Corners” and respond to participants’ questions on the training modules studied during the week.


To participate in this tutor-led online course, participants will need a computer (or mobile device), a reliable internet connection and either a headset with microphone to connect to the audio through the computer or a telephone. No special software is required, but participants must be able to access WebEx.


In order to receive a certificate of successful course completion participants must:


  • Complete all the modules and the related quizzes;
  • Submit one final written assignment to be reviewed by the tutor, who will provide written feedback.


Although not strictly required, participation in the live webinars once a week is strongly recommended.


Average workload: 35 hours (estimate based on an average of past courses).

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

The modules focus on:


  • Decentralized governance: key concepts;
  • Effective decentralization for peacebuilding;
  • The politics of decentralized governance;
  • Fiscal decentralization and accountability;
  • Security, crime and rule of law in a decentralized framework;
  • Role of decentralization in improving local economies in the delivery of basic services;
  • Decentralization case studies.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

UN professional staff and partners working in decentralization, development, peacebuilding, development, and humanitarian assistance. Open to non-UN staff.

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