Local Governance and Sustaining Peace Guidance Note

This note provides guidance to UNICEF country offices on programming for peacebuilding through local governance in fragile and conflict-affected settings. Its main objective is to inform the design and implementation of UNICEF peacebuilding interventions and to contribute to the overall effectiveness of UNICEF programming in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. It does so by providing programming examples (section 3 – The What) and by pointing towards key programming considerations (section 4 – The How). The programming examples offered in this guidance are not necessarily new. Many examples build on existing UNICEF local governance work, such as strengthening local planning and budgeting and inclusive decision-making processes. What is different, however, is that this guidance argues for a more intentional approach to conflict prevention and peacebuilding through local governance programming and encourages linking this work explicitly to peacebuilding results.

This guidance note illuminates UNICEF engagement in local governance in both rural and urban contexts. Although UNICEF considers national decentralization processes to be an important part of their context, and the actions proposed here can be applied to countries undergoing decentralization reform, this note is not intended to provide guidance on how UNICEF should engage in decentralization reform as an approach to peacebuilding.

The guidance note is based on a literature review and three UNICEF case studies. The note examines the best practices and lessons learned that were identified in the literature. It further incorporates guidance from UNICEF policy documents, including Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding: Programming guide and the Guidance on Risk-informed Programming.26 It draws from experiences engaging in peacebuilding through local governance, including case studies that document UNICEF country office experiences in Colombia, Kyrgyzstan and Somalia.27 These experiences are referenced in the note alongside the relevant peacebuilding and local governance issues they illustrate.

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United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)


Peace Education
Education Policy
Education for Peacebuilding
Community Participation