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The Essential Role of Local Governance in Yemen

The challenges to peace are myriad

This paper assesses the historical context through which the local councils came to prominence, their role in decentralization and governance, the challenges they have faced through the uprising and civil war, and their essential role in any negotiated cessation of hostilities and post-conflict reconciliation.

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The Essential Role of Local Governance in Yemen

To provide a balanced view of the challenges facing local governance in Yemen, this paper focuses on three specific areas of the country:

  • Sanaa, which is currently under the control of the Houthis and their allies;
  • Wessab, in central Yemen, currently controlled by local councils in coordination with the central government in the capital; and
  • Aden in South Yemen, currently under the nominal control of the internationally recognized government.



  • The Foundations of Local Governance
  • Limits to Local Power
  • The Budget Mechanisms
  • Local Governance During Revolution and War
  • The Impact of War on Local Governance
  • Security and Service Delivery
  • Current Budget Support and Revenue
  • Involvement in Hostilities
  • Humanitarian Crisis Response
  • Looking Ahead

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