Political and Social Inclusion in Asian Cities: Cases of Indonesia, India and Vietnam

Regional Focus: Indonesia, India, Vietnam
Sustainable Development Goals: #11
Time: November, 2016 to February, 2018

The proposed research project will examine institutional and structural barriers to full engagement of marginalized communities to promote and sustain local democracy in cities and towns. Specifically, it attempts to examine relationships between local democracy and different forms of barriers to political and social inclusion of marginalized urban communities, particularly women, youth, migrants and ethnic minorities in India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Research Questions:
– What are the barriers (structural and institutional) to political and social inclusion of the marginalized groups including women, youth, migrants and ethnic minorities in cities and towns in India, Indonesia and Vietnam?
– To what extent and how are the marginalized groups fully engaged in mechanisms and processes of local democracy – including local elections, community organization and participation, accountability and transparency of urban local governments, and better access to basic urban services – to cope with these barriers?
– What works in terms of decentralization policy options, innovations and good practices to meet the needs and aspirations of marginalized groups and contribute to the achievement of SDG 11?

This project will conduct a review of all relevant legislation, policy documents and other literature. Interviews with key informants including government officials, urban experts, policy makers and representatives of CSOs who focus on issues of gender, youth, minorities and other marginalized groups. Finally, a survey of a selected slum or squatter settlements in at least two of the cities in each country to assess practical barriers to political and social inclusion of the marginalized groups.

Shabbir Cheema, Ph.D. (Coordinator), Senior Fellow, East-West Center, USA
Debolina Kundu, Ph.D. National Institute of Urban Affairs, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India
Wilmar Salim, Ph.D. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bandung, Indonesia
Nguyen Duc Thanh, Ph.D. Vietnam Institute for Economic Policy Research (VEPR), Vietnam