Published 13 February 2023

Promoting democracy, decentralisation and local governance in Tunisia

Tunisia is not ranking as high as it would like in the human development index. The Tunisia Local Governance Project (TLGP) is in place to improve conditions by helping Tunisian local governments perform better in terms of accountability, efficiency and services responding to citizens’ needs.

Improved conditions for human development in Tunisia through democratic local government was the overall objective of the TLGP project. The development can be compared in the Human Development Index, which considers the health, education and income in each country to provide a measurement which is comparable between countries over time.The project was designed at a time when there was a momentum of a gradual transition towards a democratic government in Tunisia to build on, that had been developing in the country since the Arab spring.

To promote democracy and increased power and influence at local level, TLGP provided technical assistance to both the parliament, national ministries and to municipalities. A key element has been to improve conditions for local governments to interact with citizens and better respond to their needs and demands. Another feature in the project has been the co-operation with SALAR’s sister organisation, the National Federation of Tunisian Municipalities (FNCT), which represents all local governments in the country. The project has strengthened FNCT as an independent and professional local government association representing municipalities in relation to the national government. Through the partnership with FNCT, the knowledge and experiences obtained in the project could be maintained in a local government hub to be shared with other local governments in the country.

Different kinds of support

At the legislative level, the project supported a process to outline the main national priorities in the decentralisation process. There was also a review of the existing decentralisation laws and legal frameworks to help municipalities deliver better services at local level.

To give municipalities better opportunity to collect their own financial resources, SALAR International helped to create an equalisation scheme to address differences between municipalities in local resources and extend municipal services to the poorest parts of the country.

Key beneficiaries of the project’s strengthening of local governments are marginalised groups who are given better opportunity to influence local decision-making. This provides better opportunity for quality of life for women, young people, people with disabilities, minorities, as well as other vulnerable groups in rural communities. Decentralisation gives local governments better possibility to respond to people’s specific needs and demands in a non-discriminatory way.

Examples of results

Below are examples of key results in the project:

  • enhanced legal frameworks and regulatory reforms to deliver services to the citizens in line with the Tunisian Constitution and on a non-discriminatory basis,
  • strengthened coordination and monitoring mechanism, enabling relevant state bodies to coordinate, monitor and contribute to the decentralisation process,
  • improved local finance and resource management capacities, including but not limited to, enhanced oversight and control support mechanisms enabling local governments in realising their roles in establishing routines for preventing corruption, and
  • increased level of municipal representation towards the national government and other entities. A strong local authority association offers services to strengthen its members’ performance, builds their capacities, and enables exchange with other local governments, as well as contributes to effective and gender responsive service delivery.


Yama Omari
Project Manager

Hoda Saad
Quality Assurance