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Bringing Non-governmental Actors into the Policymaking Process: The Case of Local Development Policy in Thailand

Discussion Papers


by SHIGETOMI Shinichi
August 2006


During the past two decades in Thailand, non-governmental actors, such as NGOs, intellectuals, and people's organizations, have found widening opportunities to participate in policy formation and in the implementation of local development. The government has facilitated the formation of civil society forums, in the expectation of influencing local-level governance. The last two national five-year development plans were formulated after taking into account the voices of people in the provinces. Even though they may seem petty, some state funds are now transmitted through non-governmental institutions for policy implementation at the grassroots level. These changes have their origin in a reformation of rural development administration in early 1980s. This reformation in due course led to policies that have allowed the participation of non-governmental actors. Meanwhile, rural people have proved their ability to engage in participatory development by forming various local organizations, while NGOs have grown to be proficient facilitators of local development. This paper describes the process whereby three leading actors, namely the government, local people, and the NGOs, have interacted to bring about a more participatory system of local development administration.

Keywords: social movements, local development, Thailand, NGOs, civil society
JEL classification: O20, R10

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