Based on Berghof and Globalview’s interest in the country’s dire situation, and based on the importance of the subject of empowering the Local Authorities, the German foundation Berghof in collaboration with Globalview for Peace and Development held a workshop entitled ‘Challenges Facing Local Authorities and their Empowerment to Enhance Stability, Provide Services and Achieve Development.’ The workshop was under the patronage of the Minister of Local Administration, Mr. Abdurraqeeb Fateh, and Hadramout Governor, Maj. Gen. Faraj Salmeen Al- Bahssani, on the period from 19th – 20th Nov. 2017 in Mukalla, Hadramout Governorate.
The workshop was attended by twenty participants of nine different governorates in Yemen emerged from conflicts at a rate of two participants per governorate and four of Hadramout the coast and valley. The participants were representatives of the local authorities in the governorates of Aden, Lahej, Abyan, Addale’a, Shabwa, Soqatra, Almahra, Ma’areb, and Hadramout.
The opening ceremony was attended by Maj. Gen. Faraj Salmeen Al-Bahssani, Governor of Hadramout. He started the session with a speech welcoming the workshop participants as guests of Hadramout and representatives of their governorates’ authorities. He described the workshop as an important one which will help the local authorities to overcome these challenges and enable them to provide a decent life for citizens through which they get their minimum rights from basic services such as electricity, water, education and health, and enjoy security and stability. These are the main services that local authorities must provide to citizens in the framework of their role and the governmental tasks entrusted to them.
Three main themes were discussed in three sessions at the workshop. The first session entitled ‘Discussing and Evaluating the Experience of Local Authorities.’ The participants discussed the challenges facing the governorates emerged from conflicts in Yemen generally. The main challenges were the lack of services, lack of financial resources, security, absence of the government due to the current conflict and the centralization of the decisions. Then they discussed the challenges facing each governorates emerged from conflicts.
Second session was about ‘Challenges of Local Authorities in Providing Services and Humanitarian Aids and Security in Governorates Emerging from Conflicts.’ In that session, the participants discussed the trends of strengthening the local authorities of the governorates so that they can achieve stability and provide basic services. The participants reviewed a number of challenges they agreed to be included within three main fields, financial resource, humanitarian aids, and services.
Third and last session entitled ‘Ways to Strengthen the Governorates’ Authorities to Enable them Providing Services, Stability and Development.’ The participants gave presented the main subjects agreed about the in the groups formed before.
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The participants of the workshop discussed the various challenges facing the work of the authorities of the governorates emerging from the conflict and preventing them from providing basic services to their citizens. They also discussed the various problems that prohibit their efforts in enhancing security and stability, and activating development activities in their governorates as well as possible treatments for the most important issues related to the themes of financial resources, security, humanitarian aids and basic services. The limited powers of the Local Authorities and the electricity problem dominated the discussions of the participants. Stressing that the problem of electricity is the concern of everyone in the all nine governorates as a result of its connection to other basic services such as relief, health, water and sanitation, education and other major services that have taken the ladder of importance. Considering that, these challenges are a common concern that disturb most citizens of Yemeni governorates emerged from conflict. In addition, the absence of financial resources and security performance and the reflection of these at all levels of other services are considered as a common concern for the participants and the people of their governorates.
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The final outcome was a list of recommendations suggested by participants to provide solutions to overcome shared challenges facing local authorities in the governorates.
After the first workshop, the parties highlighted the urgent need to reach actionable proposals that contribute to the local authority’s action, serve in turn to promote the development of the resources of the liberated governorates, strengthening the power of the legitimate authorities in the liberated governorates and raise the efficiency of performance in them. The proposals also serve to strengthen the role of the state and the legitimate authority represented by His Excellency President, Marshal Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi.
With the support of His Excellency, Mr. Abdurraqeeb Fateh, the Minister of Local Administration, and Hadramout Governor, Maj. Gen. Faraj Salmeen Al- Bahssani, the German foundation, Berghof in cooperation with Globalview for Peace and Development held another workshop on 1-2 May 2018 in the city of Mukalla. The workshop was with active participation of commissioned officials from all the liberated governorates. The governorates participated were Aden, Hadramout, Lahj, Abyan, Mahra, Taiz, Marib, Shabwa, Socotra and Dhale’. During the two days, the participants reached a basic outcome for this workshop.
The representatives of all the liberated governorates during the two days of the workshop reviewed the reality of the financial resources and concluded this vision and the practical program for developing local resources in the governorates; in light of the inability of state institutions to provide budgets and limited donor support. Most of the participants are directors of the financial offices of the governorates.
In his opening statement, the CEO of Globalview for Peace and Development. Eng. Bader Mohammed Basalma stated that this workshop is the second one that Globalview organized with Berghof in Yemen since its beginning. The first workshop focused on the challenges of the local authorities facing the governorates emerging from conflicts and wars have great challenges in, the security aspect, development, relief and needs in various fields in light of the inability of the state to provide any financial and technical support because of the circumstances of war. The international community is reluctant to provide necessary support in the aspects of reconstruction and development, except relief, which are considered as insufficient services.
He also promised the participants that all the proposals made in the first workshop, in addition to those ones which come out of this workshop will be raised to the international community with the aim of giving more powers from the center and invigorating the role of local authorities to be able to meet the needs of citizens, because it is considered as the interface of citizens that they complain to.
On the first day, the workshop reviewed the assessment and reality of the financial resources and development section of the authorities. They also discussed the most important problems facing the local authorities in terms of financial resources.
The representatives expressed their gratitude and appreciated the efforts of Berghof foundation and Globalview for Peace and Development for organizing the workshop. “We are so glad to attend this workshop which deals with the financial resources core, a main and an important core in development,” one of the representatives commented.
On the second day, the participants began their discussion on the control and accountability of local resources and a number of proposals aim at promoting the development and rationalization of domestic financial resources. They, the participants, have been divided into work groups. An abundance of controversial issues in the financial side discussed and are being under talk.
By the end of the workshop, and as an outcome, the participants agreed to present a proposal to the Minister of the Local Administration, Mr. Abdurraqeeb Fateh. They presented to his Excellency as he is directly responsible for the local authorities and enable them to perform their tasks at this difficult stage experienced by the country, and work to implement the practical steps resulting from the workshop.
Now, the Ministry of Local Administration represented by, Mr. Abdurraqeeb Fateh, the minister, in cooperation with Berghof and Globalview for Peace and Development are organizing to held a third workshop under the title, ‘Strengthening the Capacities of Local Authorities.’ The workshop will be within the period 12th-13th of August 2018 in Aden.
The workshop is considered the first of its kind where the government meets with local authorities in the governorates emerging from conflicts in Yemen.
It will be attended by a number of representatives of the Yemeni ministries and the provincial agents as well as representatives of international organizations in Aden.