The Relation between Local and Central Government

Organizing a symposium for “The Relation between Local and Central Government” on 23-25 September 2002 at Intercontinental Hotel, in collaboration with Arab Urban Development Institute, with patronage with former Lebanese President General Emile Lahoud and the former Minister of Interior.

General Framework

Under the high patronage of his Excellency, the former president Emile Lahood, the Arab Urban development Institute, and the league for the development of municipal work in Beirut, in collaboration of the Lebanese ministry of Interior and Municipalities, we were please to organize a symposium entitled the relationship between the central and the local administration at the Phoenicia intercontinental Beirut, Lebanon between the 23rd and 25th of September 2002.




Development of municipal activities and continuous improvement of the quality of life requires quantitative and qualitative improvement of urban services and public facilities.

Local administrations play a vital role in providing such services and facilities and initiating development and prosperity of the regions, cites, and localities.

Furthermore, local administrations have major responsibilities in the implementation of development, plans, and in upgrading services – a burden that necessitates continuous improvement of their systems and internal mechanism, as well as their relationship with central administrations.

The success of local administrations in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities depends to a large extent on the type of their relationship and linkages with central administrations, and on the degree of compliment and transparency of that relationship within the frame work of the prescribed responsibilities and duties.

Various elements of the relationship between central and local administration, and their compliment were discussed in specialized symposium entitled “The relationship between central and local Administration”. Relevant case studies and actual experiences were also presented and discussed.


- Identify the principles, concepts, and types of relationships between central and local administration, and the developing of administrative trends that foster their compliments and conformity.
- Discuss the legislations and regulations that govern the relationship between central and local administrations.
- Identify the role of central administrations in monitoring and initiating administrative and economic reforms in local units within their respective jurisdictions.



The symposium will focus on the following themes:
- The conceptual, historical, cultural, and legislative, basis and the regulations that affects the relationship between central and local administrations in the municipal fields.
- The organizational structures of central and local administrations and their efficiency in responding to the needs of their administrative regions and jurisdictions.
- Decentralizing the administration of local affairs and its impact on enhancing administrative effectiveness and efficiency.
- The role and impact of financial systems and funding mechanisms (grants, subsidies… etc) on local – central administrations relationships.
- The effects of central – local administration relationships on the major activities and developmental programs of the municipal sector, especially in the terms of:

  • Urban and physical planning
  • Municipal services facilities and infrastructure
  • Municipal investments in urban developments

- Case studies and experiences of cities and other related departments.



The symposium was organized under the high patronage of his Excellency the former president of the Republic of Lebanon general Emile Lahoud, and was co-organized by:
- Ministry of Interior and Municipalities – Lebanon
- The Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI)
- The Scientific and technical arm of the Arab Towns Organizations (ATO)
- Municipal Development Association



Participation in this symposium was open to officials, specialists, and experts of public administrations, municipal and urban managements, urban development.


Recommendations of the symposium on
“The Relationship between Central and Local Authorities”


After thorough study of proposals during the symposium and after discussions, we have reached five recommendations that we hope Arab governments will take into considerations and apply in their cities for sustainable local development.


1. Support decentralization and management of local maters by giving local governments more privilege and power, keeping local governments far from political activities and providing laws and medium for election for qualified administrations on the local levels.
2. Reconsiderations of laws that govern the relationship between local and central governments and participation s of local governments in setting the laws that concern them.
3. Enhancement of the relationship between the two governments by defining each government’s role such that they are complimentary.
4. Giving local governments their own identity as well as financial and administrative independence.
5. Giving the local governments the right to find its own financial resources and encouraging local governments to start investment projects and participations of private sector in such projects.

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