Decentralization and Sustainable Development in Iran



Extended Abstract
In various political and managerial units, there is a meaningful relationship between the type of administrative system and the Sustainable development. As the administration of affairs became more complicated, the definition of the duties of governments and the participation of people in the political processes, and administrative and managerial structures underwent some changes from the traditional models to some sort of planning and acceptance of responsibility to enhance the process of development. In this regard, for the purpose of better management compatible with the needs of new circumstances, quantitative and qualitative organizing of space and the division of land to geographical (administrative and political) units was set on the top of the agenda of governments.
The adoption of a model of centralized or extensive, decentralized or federal, and policies of deintensification, decentralization, transfer of powers and autonomy in accordance with the geographical territory, the cultural and ethnic structure, topographical details, land management and the type of the dominant legal and political system founded the basis of approach taken by the political units.

The purpose of this research with such an approach is to study the theories, the experiences of developing countries, the dominant processes in Iran’s political system and to explain the relationship between decentralization and Sustainable development in Iran. To do this, an analytic and explanatory method and accumulation of data and the existing literature have been adopted to carry a library and document based research; and in some cases some interviews with experts have been added.

Results and Discussion
The findings suggest that in order to overcome the incompetence, many experts insist on the minimization of the government and transfer of the power to people and local authorities. Taylor, for example, observes decentralization of the central government as a necessity. Putnam points out to the role of decentralization in the formation and increase of human capital as a pivot of development. Ivans and Skocpol believe that the transfer of powers in both horizontal and vertical levels would create appropriate circumstances for human pivot development. Experts such as Fokoyama believe in the implementation of human capital for economic development, and Amartya Sen insists on the constructive role of democracy in a dynamic economy.
The experience of the developed countries is indicative of this point. In line with the expansion of details of government responsibilities, these countries have embarked on various methods to transfer the affairs in order to create a sort of balance among the abilities, powers and responsibilities. Most importantly, transfer of powers and taking parts in decision makings will settle the ethnic regional disputes and enhance the convergence and the participations. Quite the contrary, insistence on the centralization of administration of affairs will end in more divergence and escape from center. The communal administration in the United States in the form of federalism which makes for a desirable and successful administrative system can be seen with some changes in Switzerland and Germany. The transfer of powers to provinces in the Western Germany went well in removing the regional disputes. Further, for the purpose of amending the center_ suburb structure the decentralization has been one of the main goals of the national development in France.
Some researches and studies have been conducted by foreign experts in some projects such as Torsion, Bethel Memorial and Styrene and “the Islamic land management project” and “the general plan of country divisions” have been carried out by domestic organizations and researchers in Iran , too. And the related changes to centralization and decentralization have been surveyed out in all administrative, economic, financial and political dimensions and their skeletal effects. In line with decentralization and transfer of affairs to people and the regional and local authorities in order to minimize the central administration, the legislation have passed some articles to depart from this state of affairs and focus the attention of the government on its main duty to guide the development process.
Prior to 1978 revolution, the third, fourth and fifth development plans emphasized on the administrative reform and enhancement of decentralized system in the structure of the constitution. Following the revolution the first to the four development plans underlined the decentralization. The last legislation relating to the issue was article 73 in the land management of the fourth development plan. Accordingly, the government was bound to prepare an inclusive plan for the division of the country into the appropriate provinces with a decentralized approach, and for the transfer of power to local authorities and to strengthen the role of governors to offer to the Islamic Consultative Assembly. Much more important is the fact that the legislative body has rendered the creation of the new levels dependant on the above article; however these obligations have been neglected by the government.

Though some obligations have been imposed on the governments, they have not been duly fulfilled; or the reproduction of centralized power in a different form has led to imperfect divisions of the country. Formation of 2438 sub districts, the increase of districts from 497 to 929, and the number of townships from 190 to 368 and the number of provinces from 24 to 30 from 1978 to 2009 indicates the point. Thus, against the above facts, government in Iran has become more voluminous, swollen and inefficient.
The only way to overcome the situation is to adopt a decentralized approach, and to transfer the affairs to private sections and to increase the powers of regional and local authorities.