Governance under Decentralization: Oman and in the Arab Region








This two-year study of Omani governance under decentralization sought to better understand the many challenges facing the decentralization process in transitioning states. The study employed a multi-method approach to explore the challenges and potential impacts of decentralization. The goal was not only to expand our understanding of decentralization in the Omani context, but also to establish sustainable scholarly and policy-relevant networks and dialogues around these issues. As part of this project, we engaged policy experts and officials from Oman and elsewhere in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.  

Our research was conducted through focus group discussions to better understand the relationship between community practices, gender, and deliberation. The aim was for these discussions to provide insights into how decentralization may be realized differently across the country. We also engaged with scholars, policy experts, and officials from elsewhere in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States through workshops to put the Omani experience in comparative perspective while fostering a comprehensive network of decentralization scholars. Results have been disseminated through events in Oman, Sweden, and beyond in an effort to strengthen policy efforts in Oman and the MENA region.

It was run by Co-Principal Investigator Marwa Shalaby (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Co-Principal Investigator Ellen Lust (GLD, University of Gothenburg), participating researcher Chagai Weiss (University of Wisconsin, Madison), and participating senior researcher Kristen Kao (GLD, University of Gothenburg).  This project is being funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.



Lust, Ellen; Kao, Kristen; Weiss, Chagai; Shalaby, Marwa; Vollmann, Erik; Bergh, Sylvia I., Karmel, Ezra; Bohn, Miriam; Kherigi, Intissar and Kadirbeyoglu, Zeynep. (2020) The Dynamics of Decentralization in the MENA: Processes, Outcomes, and Obstacles. The Program on Governance and Local Development Working Paper No. 31, University of Gothenburg, Available At:

Worrall, James. (2020) Power and Process: Decentralisation in Oman. The Program on Governance and Local Development Working Paper No. 32, University of Gothenburg, Available At:







Bergh, Sylvia and Marwa Shalaby 2020. "Power to the People? The Right to Information Law in Morocco."  Carnegie SADA, 30 September. Read Article.



  • The Dynamics of Decentralization in the MENA: Comparative Lessons for Oman, Gothenburg, Sweden, March 2-3, 2020.



Marwa Shalaby, Ahmed Jazouli, Intissar Kherigi, and Ahmed Al-Mukhaini. "Local Governance in the Arab World: Cases and Experiences," APSN-GLD Webinar, May 26, 2021. Watch here





This project was supported by the Local Governance under Decentralization: Oman in Comparative Perspective (Carnegie Corporation of New York - G-18-56248), PIs: Ellen Lust and Marwa Shalaby.

Project Funders