Good governance

Good governance

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Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development
International development
International development or global development is a concept that lacks a universally accepted definition, but it is most used in a holistic and multi-disciplinary context of human development — the development of greater quality of life for humans...

 literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance
Governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)". The term governance can apply to corporate, international, national, local governance or to the interactions between other sectors of society.

The concept of "good governance" often emerges as a model to compare ineffective economies or political bodies with viable economies and political bodies. Because the most "successful" governments in the contemporary world are liberal democratic states
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

 concentrated in Europe and the Americas, those countries' institutions often set the standards by which to compare other states' institutions. Because the term good governance can be focused on any one form of governance, aid organizations and the authorities of developed countries often will focus the meaning of good governance to a set of requirement that conform to the organizations agenda, making "good governance" imply many different things in many different contexts.

Forms


In international affairs, analysis of good governance can look at any of the following relationships:
  • between governments and markets,
  • between governments and citizens,
  • between governments and the private or voluntary sector,
  • between elected officials and appointed officials,
  • between local institutions and urban and rural dwellers,
  • between legislature and executive branches, and
  • between nation states and institutions.


The varying types of comparisons comprising the analysis of governance in scholastic and practical discussion can cause the meaning of "good governance" to vary greatly from practitioner to practitioner.

Reform and standards


Three institutions can be reformed to promote good governance: the state, the private sector and civil society. However, amongst various cultures, the need and demand for reform can vary depending on the priorities of that country's society. A variety of country level initiatives and international movements put emphasis on various types of governance reform. Each movement for reform establishes criteria for what they consider good governance based on their own needs and agendas. The following are examples of good governance standards for prominent organizations in the international community.

IMF


The International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) declared in 1996 that "promoting good governance in all its aspects, including by ensuring the rule of law, improving the efficiency and accountability of the public sector, and tackling corruption, as essential elements of a framework within which economies can prosper." The IMF feels that corruption within economies is caused by the ineffective governance of the economy, either too much regulation or too little regulation. To receive loans from the IMF, countries must have certain good governance policies, as determined by the IMF, in place.

UN



The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 emphasizes reform through human development and political institution reform. According to the UN, good governance has eight characteristics. Good governance is:
  • Consensus Oriented
  • Participatory
  • following the Rule of Law
    Rule of law
    The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

  • Effective and Efficient
  • Accountable
  • Transparent
  • Responsive
  • Equitable and Inclusive

World Bank


The World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 is more concerned with the reform of economic and social resource control. In 1992, it underlined three aspects of society which they feel affect the nature of a country's governance:
  1. type of political regime;
  2. process by which authority is exercised in the management of the economic and social resources, with a view to development; and
  3. capacity of governments to formulate policies and have them effectively implemented.

International humanitarian funding


Good governance defines an ideal which is difficult to achieve in full, though it is something development supporters consider donating to causes. Major donors and international financial institutions, like the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) or World Bank, are basing their aid and loans on the condition that the recipient undertake reforms ensuring good governance . This is mostly due to the close link between poor governance and corruption.

Democratization


Because concepts such as civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

, decentralisation
Décentralisation
Décentralisation is a french word for both a policy concept in French politics from 1968-1990, and a term employed to describe the results of observations of the evolution of spatial economic and institutional organization of France....

, peaceful conflict management and accountability are often used when defining the concept of good governance, the definition of good governance promotes many ideas that closely align with effective democratic governance
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

. Not surprisingly, emphasis on good governance can sometimes be equated with promoting democratic government.

Example


A good example of this close association, for some actors, between western democratic governance and the concept of good governance is the following statement made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 on August 12, 2009:

Role of political parties


Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute
Overseas Development Institute
The Overseas Development Institute is one of the leading independent think tanks on international development and humanitarian issues. Based in London, its mission is "to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement...

 have criticised past studies of good governance to place tool little importance on developing political parties
Political Parties
Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy is a book by sociologist Robert Michels, published in 1911 , and first introducing the concept of iron law of oligarchy...

, their capacity and their ties to their grassroots supporters. While political parties play a key role in well-functioning democracies, elsewhere political parties are disconnected from voters and dominated by elites, with few incentives or capabilities to increase the representation of other voters. Political parties can play a key role in pivotal moments of a state's development, either positively (e.g. organising and instigating violence) or negatively (e.g. by leading dialogue in a fractured society). While differences in the electoral system play their role in defining the number of parties and their influence once in power (proportional, first past the post, etc.), the funding and expertise available to parties also plays an important role not only in their existence, but their ability to connect to a broad base of support. While the United Nations Development Program and the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 have been providing funding to political parties since the 1990s, there are still calls to increase the support for capacity development activities including the development of party manifestos, party constitutions and campaigning skills.

Criticism


According to Sam Agere "The discretionary space left by the lack of a clear well-defined scope for what governance encompasses allows users to choose and set their own parameters."

In the book, "Contesting 'good' governance" Eva Poluha and Mona Rosendahl contest standards that are common to western democracy as measures of "goodness" in government. After applying political anthropological
Political anthropology
Political anthropology concerns the structure of political systems, looked at from the basis of the structure of societies. Political anthropologists include Pierre Clastres, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Meyer Fortes, Georges Balandier, Fredrik Bailey, Jeremy Boissevain, Marc Abélès, Jocelyne...

 methods, they feel that governments believe they apply the concepts of good governance when executing their activities, however, cultural differences result in conflict with the standards of the international community.

See also

  • Due diligence
    Due diligence
    "Due diligence" is a term used for a number of concepts involving either an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care. It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary investigations...

  • Good government
    Good government
    Good government is a normative description of how government is supposed to be constituted. It has been frequently employed by various political thinkers, ideologues and politicians.- Thomas Jefferson and Good government :...

  • Peace, order and good government
    Peace, order and good government
    In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the phrase "peace, order and good government" is an expression used in law to express the legitimate objects of legislative powers conferred by statute...

  • Worldwide Governance Indicators
    Worldwide Governance Indicators
    Based on a long-standing research program of the World Bank, the Worldwide Governance Indicators capture six key dimensions of governance between 1996 and present...

  • Governance
    Governance
    Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...


Book sources


found at Google Books

found at Google Books

External links