Land Use Planning and Decentralisation

Land use planning and decentralisation are at the heart of the coherent and participatory territorialisation of public policies and the construction of citizenships. However, their implementation in developing countries faces many obstacles.

The issues

While land use planning and decentralisation policies are developing as a response to the heterogeneous expectations of different groups of actors, they are partly based on the functioning of traditional societies, characterised by a principle of autonomy in the management of local affairs. In many states, particularly in Africa, these policies are also influenced by the power relations between the ruling classes and the traditional authorities. Beyond these historical and socio-cultural elements, which are essential to take into account, decentralisation processes in the South face common challenges, notably: the low effectiveness of the transfer of competences and resources, the insufficient level of training of elected officials (i.e. many mayors are illiterate) and agents, the difficulties in generating their own financial resources, the lack of clarification of the territorial limits of local authorities, the often opaque management of local affairs and insufficient accountability. The land use planning processes are limited by their high technicality, linked to the need to develop not only multisectoral but also prospective analyses.


Our services

Whether it is a question of land use planning or decentralisation, we place the issues of governance and participation at the heart of our interventions. We draw up national, regional or municipal land use plans for general or specific purposes (agricultural, ecological, etc.). We use innovative tools: ad hoc calculators to assess the costs and benefits of different planning choices (impacts on production, employment, ecosystem degradation, etc.); “serious games” that enable prospective simulations to be carried out with the stakeholders concerned. We also conduct socio-economic studies and participatory diagnoses, and work within the framework of participatory territorial planning, for example through modelling of territories and land use dynamics. We intervene in the different phases of the decentralisation support project cycle and accompany decentralised territorial entities and communities in the design, implementation and evaluation of their development actions. Finally, we develop ad hoc training for various audiences (central and decentralised administrations, local elected officials, community leaders and actors, etc.) on these two themes.

References in this area