We work on research, policy, capacity building, and facilitation to support local governance actors.   We help promulgate internationally funded development programs to support the decentralization process and build local absorption capacities. We also facilitate dialogues among local and national stakeholders on both the technical and political levels to promote better policies and legal instruments. We audit policies, programs, and projects to assess their impacts and ability to meet their targets. 

Our services in this field include: 

Research & Analysis 

Scenario Development 


Stakeholder Engagement 

Capacity Building

Monitoring & Evaluation

Related Works

Date:  9 July 2024

An article explores the Syrian Constitutional debate, highlighting the tension between identity and citizenship. It argues that both principles are essential for a cohesive state, discussing religious and linguistic diversity, and illustrating how respecting identity and guaranteeing equal rights can coexist within a constitutional framework.


Date:  2 July 2024

An article presents a framework to analyze the drivers behind the transition from highly centralized to decentralized governance, focusing on power balances, legitimacy, economic challenges, peripheral uprisings, and external factors, illustrating through global case studies the complexity and context-dependence of effective decentralization.


Date:  29-30 April 2024

We speak at the UN ESCWA workshop addressing strengthening public governance in post-conflict Arab regions. We discuss effective local governance frameworks, drawing on case studies from conflict situations, and emphasizing the critical role of bottom-up reforms and municipal empowerment in service delivery.  


Date:  26 March 2024

Decentralization in the MENA region emerges as a crucial pathway for addressing systemic issues of marginalization and uneven development exposed by the Arab Spring. It offers a framework for enhancing local governance, fostering stability, and reconciling divided societies by decentralizing power, thereby laying the groundwork for sustainable peace and development.


Date: November 2022

We present to the Civil Society Support Room (CSSR) - at the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria - on Syria's administrative evolution from the Ottoman era to present, highlighting key events, legal changes, and the interplay of internal and external factors shaping its journey towards decentralization.


Date: 26 October 2023

Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj, a Partner at LUGARIT, led a session on decentralization in post-conflict settings at Swiss Peace's course in Basel, Switzerland. He focused on types of decentralization, and engaged participants in critical discussions and simulations to understand decentralization's role in peacebuilding.


Date:  2-4 May 2023

We join the Civil Society Support Room’s working group in Geneva to conclude the work on local governance in Syria. The group, after months of collaboration, presented key recommendations, focusing on legal reforms and decentralisation strategies.


Date:  September 2022

Publisher:  LSE - London School of Economics

A research report investigates the complex history of Syria's administrative divisions post-independence, examining political, economic, and social factors influencing the creation and renaming of governorates. It highlights how demographic, service, and political motives, including centralization and regional influences, shaped these changes, with specific case studies illustrating broader trends.


Date:  June 2021

Publisher:  GCSP – Geneva Center for Security Policy

A research project report on Syria's political economy highlights the ineffectiveness of externally induced political transitions and sanctions, emphasizing the need for local empowerment and fiscal decentralization. It underscores the importance of shifting from top-down aid approaches to sustainable, community-based strategies to reform Syria's entrenched political and economic systems.


Date:  November 2020

Publisher:  Omran

A paper examines the relevance of Prindex survey findings for the land governance in the Arab region. It shows the region has one of the highest rates of tenure insecurity in the world.  It also highlights what shapes perceptions and how they, particularly among young adults, urban renters, and women, contribute to land governance challenges.


Date:  March 2019

Publisher:  LSE – London School of Economics

Summary of 2 presentations at the LSE conference highlight the complexities of property rights and urban planning laws in post-conflict Syria, emphasizing the challenges in housing and land management, and discussing the political economy of local elections, noting their role in reinforcing the regime's patronage network, rather than promoting fair representation or democracy.


Date:  November 2015

Publisher:  PLATFORMA

A paper examines decentralisation in the Mashrek region, focusing on its impact on local development, democratic change, and social cohesion. It reviews various approaches to decentralisation, analyzes the influence of European policies, and offers broad recommendations for future aid. The paper aims to foster dialogue and re-evaluate local accountability in development.


Date:  September 2015

Publisher:  Lebanese Center for Policy Studies

A chapter on Yemen in a book titled "Local Governments and Public Goods" examines the country's unique decentralization journey. Influenced by tribal dynamics, colonial history, and unification challenges, Yemen's approach blends traditional loyalties and modern governance structures, highlighting the complexities and gradual evolution of its decentralized system.


Date: September 2012

An op-ed examines the complex relationship between democracy, state formation, and identity in the Arab world. It highlights the historical development of European democracies and contrasts this with the formation of states in the Arab world, emphasizing the challenges of political identity and the impact of colonialism. The piece concludes by contemplating the future of democracy in the Arab region, stressing the need for inclusive and representative governance.


Date: 16 July 2012

An op-ed discusses the critical interplay between ethics and democracy, particularly in the Arab context. It emphasizes that a moral foundation is essential for democracy, critiques the reduction of democracy to majority rule, and advocates for reevaluating moral values to support democratic growth, balancing individual and societal freedoms, and promoting active citizenship.


Date: June 2012

An op-ed outlines ten principles essential for establishing democracy, especially in Arab nations. These principles emphasize the rule of the people, equal rights, separation of powers, periodic elections, responsibilities accompanying rights, transparency, electoral integrity, consensus building, and viewing democracy as a continual process. The piece stresses dialogue and consensus for democratic transformation.