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Governance 2

Governance 2

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Published by Dena Flandez

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Published by: Dena Flandez on Jul 24, 2010
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 Knowledge-Sharing Kit
Canada Corps Knowledge Sharing KitGuide to key concepts in governance and development
1
Guide to key concepts in governance and development
Introduction
Canada Corps supports Canada and Canadians in promoting goodgovernance in developing countries and countries undergoing transition. Thisdocument will explain key governance concepts, and will illustrate whatgovernance looks like ‘on the ground’. The objective is to prepare CanadaCorps participants to write a case study about their overseasassignments/projects and include insights on how their work relates to thebroader promotion of governance in development.
What is governance?
 
Governance is about the way that decisions are made in towns, cities,provinces, and countries. For those in government, it is the
exercise of authority
to manage the affairs of a constituency. While the governmentnormally has the final say when it comes to public policies, programs, laws,and regulations, it is not the only player. Citizens, civil society organizations,and the private sector also have a role to play. Governance is about howgovernment, civil society, and the private sector work together. It tells us:
 
HOW the government functions
 
WHO is involved in the policy process, and
 
WHERE the effects, both positive and negative, of political activity, aredistributed in a society
How the guide is organized
This guide is divided into six parts:a)
 
Key elements related to governanceb)
 
Why is governance a development issue?c)
 
Governance and CIDA’s goalsd)
 
Governance and Canada Corpse)
 
Governance ‘on the ground’ f)
 
For more information
A) Key elements related to governance
 
Below is a list of terms often used when talking about governance. Each is anelement that can act as a lens through which one can look at governance.The relative presence or absence, strength or weakness of an element, canhelp us assess whether governance is “good” (i.e. strong) or weak, and howto channel aid through governance programming to reach the goals of 
 
 Knowledge-Sharing Kit
Canada Corps Knowledge Sharing KitGuide to key concepts in governance and development
2poverty reduction and sustainable development. Much is written and debatedabout each of these terms. The explanations below are not meant to bedefinitive but rather to give an introductory understanding to the elementsand how they relate to the broader concept of governance. A reflection onhow the terms link to each other follows in the next section.
Government 
The terms "government" and "governance" are sometimes confused.Governance is about government, but it has a broader meaning. It isnormally the role of government to have the final word on how best to servethe broad interests of the community — sometimes referred to as the publicinterest. The government provides goods and services (such as public health,law and order, social assistance, public highways, and garbage collection, toname a few) that will never be fully provided by the private sector. It alsocreates and enforces laws and regulations, collects taxes and spends publicmoney, operates public programs, and educates the public about importantissues.
Civil society 
 
Civil society can be described as the realm of citizen activities independent of the state and the beyond the household
1
. It is made up of organized groupsor associations formed voluntarily by members of society to protect or extendtheir interests, values and/or identities. Civil society organizations (CSOs)can be diverse, ranging from parent-teacher organizations, to neighbourhoodassociations, to well-known non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such asAmnesty International, or Greenpeace. According to UNDP, CSOs can play acritical role in developing the social and political capacities of the poor,increasing their effectiveness in influencing governance institutions andmaking the latter more responsive to their needs. Supporting civil society caninclude measures that promote access to information, freedom of expression,developing pro-poor associations, as well as examining barriers againstpolitical inclusion of the poor
2
.
Participation 
A key aspect of good governance is enabling ordinary citizens to participatein and influence decision-making processes, especially at local level. In the1990s, discourse on participation originally focused on community or socialparticipation of “beneficiaries” in development projects. In 1995, the WorldBank Learning Group on Participation defined participation as a “processthrough which stakeholders influence and share control over developmentinitiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them.” 
3
Since then,
1
For a more detailed discussion, see Gordon White, “Civil Society, Democratization and Development (I):Clearing the Analytical Ground”,
Democratization 
(Autumn, 1994) pp. 375-390.
2
For more information see http://www.undp.org/governance/civilsociety.htm
3
World Bank (1995), World Bank Participation Sourcebook, Environment Department Papers ParticipationSeries Washington D.C. World Bank.
 
 Knowledge-Sharing Kit
Canada Corps Knowledge Sharing KitGuide to key concepts in governance and development
3there has been an increasing emphasis on engaging people as citizens inactivities that traditionally formed part of the state sphere. It is argued thatsuch increased political participation will improve the efficiency of publicservices, will make local government more accountable, and will deependemocracy — complementing representative forms with more participatoryforms of democracy
4
.
Rule of law 
The rule of law refers to the effective functioning of institutions such as aformally independent and impartial judiciary, legislatures, police,prosecutors, and other formal institutions with some direct connection to law.It is a system in which laws are public, where no laws apply only to particularindividuals, classes, or groupings, and includes provisions for judicial reviewof government action. The rule of law is also something that resides in theconsciousness of the citizens of a society – how they understand, use, andvalue the law. In the context of good governance, rule of law must enablefreedom of association and speech as well as citizen capacities to participateconstructively in their society. Rule of law should ensure
predictability,
meaning fair and consistent application of laws and government policies
5
.
Accountability 
When the exercise of government decision-making is accountable, it addsstrength and legitimacy to state-society interactions. A classic form of accountability is the vote, allowing citizens to periodically hold governmentsto account for their rule. Fiscal accountability is ensured through effectivefunctioning of offices and roles of the controller and auditor-general. Othermodes of political accountability include the legislature, an effectiveopposition, sufficient staff resources and oversight committees. Betweenelections, accountability mechanisms include the operation of a free andindependent media, and civil society initiatives.
Transparency 
Decision-making processes, however well-intentioned, must be open topublic scrutiny or transparent. This is an essential ingredient in preventingcorruption. The lack of transparency in official governmental transactions isconsidered one of the biggest barriers to development today. Transparencyrequires that the system for designing rules and regulations be open, thatthe regulations be simple and clear, and that financial, supervisory andenforcement institutions have strong disclosure requirements. Transparencymeasures include codes of conduct, conflicts of interests regulations,effective accounting standards, procurement rules, civil society participation,government facilitating access to information, and an independent media.
4
For more information visit, http://community.eldis.org/pnet/ 
 
5
For more on this see, Carothers, T. 2003, 'Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: The Problem of Knowledge',Rule of Law Series no. 34, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington
.

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