It is only over the 1990s that local government bodies have started to apply participatory methodologies with any consistency. This is surprising given their mandate to meet the needs and interests of local people. This overview discusses the many issues surrounding participation and local government. These include: the reasons why local government has failed until recently to employ participatory methodologies; how local government officials in both the North and South can learn from each other and how participation can be used to influence new styles of leadership that are more democratic, transparent and accountable.
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International Institute for Environment and Development