The World Bank Multilevel-Governance and Decentralization for Delivery Program

The role that decentralization plays in public sector management around the world is evolving. Whereas decentralization has traditionally been pursued in countries as a governance reform to increase political competition and to bring the public sector closer to the people, multilevel governance reforms to strengthen subnational governance and intergovernmental relations are increasingly understood as critical to promote inclusive service delivery and ensuring the efficient use of public finances.

By their very nature, the processes and systems of decentralization, multilevel governance and intergovernmental relations are complex and multi-faceted. Ensuring the effective functioning of the public sector across different levels of government to achieve equitable national policy objectives at the grassroots and local level, requires action to strengthen political, administrative, sectoral, and fiscal aspects of public sector management at the same time. As economic development, infrastructure and services are often delivered by subnational institutions, multilevel governance is critical for sector delivery in education, water, social protection, transport and urban development.

The role of the World Bank in multilevel governance, decentralization and public services

The World Bank Group works in every major area of development. It provides a wide array of financial products and technical assistance, helping countries share and apply innovative knowledge and solutions to the challenges they face.

For decades, the World Bank has provided technical assistance and other support to countries pursuing decentralization reforms. Within the Bank’s organizational structures, this support is often led by the Governance Global Practice.

Increasingly, it is recognized that effective multilevel governance arrangements are essential to the success of service delivery led by other global practices, including areas such as education, health service, access to water and sanitation, or inclusive growth and livelihoods. This requires that other Global Practices within the World Bank–as well as governments, development partners, and policy makers around the world–have access to the tools, techniques, and insights, that have been developed and used by the Governance Global Practice to analyze multilevel governance structures and improve public services in multilevel governance contexts .

Multilevel Governance and Decentralization for Delivery Program (MDDP)

Previous work done by the World Bank on decentralization and multilevel governance forms a sound basis from which to explore novel areas of research and contribute to the global understanding of decentralization and multilevel governance. Building on these efforts, the Multilevel Governance and Decentralization for Delivery Program (MDDP) aims to advance and curate global knowledge and strengthen World Bank support to client governments working at the intersection of decentralization, multilevel governance, and sector delivery.

The Governance GP will continue developing Global Knowledge. The WB contributed to this interdisciplinary field with several knowledge products such as (i) Primers on Decentralization, Multilevel Governance, and Intergovernmental Relations; (ii) Fiscal Decentralization, Local Public Sector Finance, and Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers; (iii) Conditional Grants in Principle, in Practice and in Operations and (iv) Subnational Human Resource Management. It also developed several lessons learned notes on engagements with multi-level governance and decentralization.

The MDDP will support World Bank lending and analytical operations. This will be achieved by fostering partnerships with stakeholders and by improving access to data and knowledge.

A Global Network & Partnership

Leveraging the World Bank’s convening power, the MDDP will mobilize Stakeholders operating in the multilevel governance, local service delivery and decentralization space. Stakeholders may include select country governments, development partners, private sector representatives, academia, and civil society. The network may help draw attention to the importance of this work and illustrate its beneficial impact across the world.

Read more about the World Bank’s Multilevel-Governance and Decentralization for Delivery Program (MDDP) on the World Bank website. Contact the MDDP Team for more information: Samuel Garoni (, Helene Grandvoinnet (, Timothy Williamson (, or Serdar Yilmaz (Practice Manager, Public Finance and Procurement, Governance Global Practice: