ICLD documents, analyses and disseminates knowledge in the fields of local democracy development and decentralisation.  

ICLD functions as a hub for knowledge and research into local democracy. We document, analyse and disseminate new findings on local self-governance, decentralisation and capacity development within the field of international development collaborations. We initiate and finance new research and regularly organise conferences, workshops and forums linking researchers and practitioners. 

The Knowledge Center captures, develops, and channels knowledge and expertise on local democracy, local self-governance, and decentralization found and developed within ICLD’s various areas of operation. By linking research projects to municipal partnerships and the training programmes undertaken by ICLD, the Knowledge Center aims to contribute to more equitable, inclusive, and evidence-driven governance, while also increasing the collective understanding of principles and dynamics of local democracy within the research community.

For this purpose, research projects are funded in two categories: larger projects with strong academic relevance that support ICLD’s thematic networks and provide a knowledge base for educational efforts, and smaller grants that directly respond to a municipality’s specific challenges.

Our aim, in providing this support, is to help increase our knowledge of the challenges and opportunities we face when working with democracy at a local level. ICLD prioritises projects that support local operatives in the efforts to promote democratic development. The knowledge and proven experience within municipal partnerships and international training programs are leveraged, disseminated, and further developed through collaborations with academic institutions. To assist decision-makers and civil servants in addressing complex democratic challenges, ICLD offers various platforms where researchers, local administrations, and other experts can meet.

As part of its research-related activities, ICLD also organizes seminars and conferences. For instance, ICLD hosts the Local Democracy Academy biennially, gathering researchers in local democracy, and Local Democracy Labs, where politicians and civil servants discuss their challenges with selected experts.

ICLD’s Advisory Group plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and selection of research conducted or funded through the Knowledge Center.