Capacity Building of Local Government on Participatory Development Planning in Khyber Pkhtunkhwa (KP)

Contributed By: Kashif Hameed


There is lack of people’s participation in the development planning structures at the Local government levels in Pakistan. Although there are national and provincial level strategic frameworks in place which encourages participatory development planning practices at district and tehsil levels however lack of technical capacities and skilled human resources in local public institutions is one major constraint in the way of increasing people’s participation in local development planning system. Resultantly, top down decision making still largely prevails in the district/tehsil development planning process. There is no community led development planning mechanism at local levels which restrict the corrupt practices and wastage of already acute financial resources available at district/tehsil level.

Article 140A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, provides for establishment of a local government system and devolution of political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments. Subsequent to passage of this amendment Khyber Pkhtunkhwa Local Government Act 2013 has authorized district government to approve long term and short term development plans, annual and supplementary budgetary proposals of district government including proposals for changes in the schedule of establishment for devolved offices and, where required, intra-district fiscal transfers. Tehsil Council has been tasked to approve long and short term development plans; Village Councils and Neighborhood Councils have been empowered to provide leadership for council-wide development and preparation of budget.

Subjects devolved under the Act include Primary and Secondary Education, Vocational Education, Special Education, Adult Education and Literacy, Mother and Child Health Care Centers, Basic Health Units, Rural Health Centers, Social Welfare, Community Development, Sports and Culture, Revenue & Estate, Agriculture (Extension), Livestock, On-Farm Water Management, Soil Conservation & Soil Fertility, Fisheries, Cooperatives, Social and Farm-forestry, Hospitals other than District Headquarters, Teaching and Tertiary Hospitals, Rural Development & Rural Works, Communication and Works, District Roads and Buildings, Public Health & Public Health Engineering, Population Welfare, Coordination, Human Resource Management, Planning, Development, Finance and Budgeting functions for the devolved offices.

At present most of the resources allocated for social development are extremely underutilized (See the Table below). This happens mainly due to lack of community participation in identifying local needs and participating in resource mobilization, implementation and oversight of local development projects.

PSDP Allocations and Expenses on Social Sector
(in million Rupees)
Allocation – Expenditure / Year 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Roads 10259.00
Water 196203.910
Health 10970.255
Agriculture 300.655
Education 6088.00
Source: PSDP Unit Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP)

There are 25 districts in KP with 1540 members of District Councils having 1015 general, 342 women, 61 workers and peasants, 61 minority and 61 youth seats. There are 73 Tehsils with 1631 total seats including 1015, 349 women, 89 peasants and workers, 89 minorities, and 89 youth seats. According to 2008-09 records there are 997 Union Councils (likely to increase to more than 1000 Neighborhood and Village Councils) with total number of 12961 total seats out which there are 3988 male Muslim seats,1994 female Muslim seats, 1994 male peasant and workers seats, 1994 female workers seats and 997 minority seats. There would be 997 Nazims and 997 Naib Nazims at Village and Neighborhood Councils.

There is an urgent need to work on priority basis on developing skilled human resources and technical capacity building of local government institutions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in order to enhance collaborations among communities, civil society and local government institutions on the establishment of participatory local development planning system all across the province. It requires undertaking capacity building trainings of the elected local government representatives at district, tehsil, and neighborhood/village councils’ levels for participatory integrated development planning process all across the 25 districts, 73 tehsils, and 1000 (estimated) neighborhood/village councils.

After undertaking extensive capacity building trainings in line with the designated development planning functions at district government/district city government, tehsil government/tehsil municipal administration, and neighborhood/village councils’ levels, there is also need to provide technical facilitation to elected representatives of local government bodies in the preparation and implementation of integrated participatory development plans at district, tehsil, and neighborhood/village council’s levels.

The types of integrated development plans include master plans and land use/zoning/spatial plans at district/tehsil levels. The plan-making process would be mainly based on the development needs identified and prioritized through a participatory consultative process at neighborhood/village councils’ levels. The development plans would mainly focus on cost effective utilization of available resources at local, provincial, and national levels and exploration and utilization of new resources untapped at the local and regional levels. The operational strategy and plan implementation framework and mechanisms would be given priority in the overall plan-making process in order to encourage acceleration in implementing the development plans in the given time framework of 3-5 years.

All such capacity building of local governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regarding integrated participatory development planning would largely contribute in increasing the performances of public representatives within their respective spheres in terms of active participation in local plan making process; influencing policies and budgets; accessing funds and getting local development schemes approved. It would also help in increasing the capacities of more than 20000 local governments elected representatives (councillors) and 200 planning departments’ officials on participatory integrated development planning. It would also highly contribute in establishing and promoting participatory integrated development planning system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through active participation of local governments, civil society, and communities and lead towards enabling local governance systems and structures to provide rights based services to the people and their representatives at the local level.