Paper Example on Governance

Published: 2021-07-16
1648 words
6 pages
14 min to read
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Dissertation chapter
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Governance like sustainable development is a concept that was broadly embraced and explored in the late 1980s. It was an attractive area because it encompassed a comprehensive set of factors that were very vital yet remained insufficiently unrecognized in the conventional way of thinking (Kemp, Parto & Gibson, 2005). It also encouraged a more integrated comprehension of the interrelated factors. Scholars work on governance has portrayed the political system as complex informal and formal arrangements that are unbalanced and imprecise (Kemp, Parto & Gibson, 2005). This contrasts the conventional understanding of governments as clearly identifiable, structured and static entities. The government conjures up an image of formal structures reigning over people while the idea of governance highlights the increasingly vital role of informal and formal provisions in a political economy.

According to Plumptre and Graham (1999) governance refers to the practices through which societies are governed. Within the political science breath, governance has been associated with attempts to under changing patterns of societal or state interactions. Some theories have linked governance to new kinds of socio-political interaction (Meadowcroft, 2007). Rhodes (1996) defines governance as self-organizing inter-organizational networks that constitute an alternative to, not a hybrid of, markets and hierarchies (p.659). In the light, Jessop (1997) regards governance as a form of social coordination based on dialogic rationality where goals are modified in and through ongoing negotiation and reflection. Other scholars have defined governance differently and simply considered it as a more general term that embraces the various approaches to the achievement of coordination. Kooimans description of socio-political governance is an arrangement in which public, as well as private actors, aim at solving societal problems (Kooiman, 2003). Dynamics, diversity, and complexity drive the development of more wide-ranging governance activities encompassing hybrids of three chief kinds that is self-governance, hierarchical governance, and co-governance (Kooiman, 2003). Pierre and Peters relate the notion of governance to both interactive processes and institutional processes. According to Onyekachi (2013), governance means making and managing public policy, organizing people, controlling subordinates to exercise skill and commitment to achieve excellence in a given set of assignments(p.3). Governance is about ascertaining that the citizens follow a recognized course while apparatuses of governance offer approach to upholding culpability.

The Concept of Good Governance

Good governance and stability have far-reaching effects on the idea of sustainable development. The following literature review provides insights into individuals experiences with governance and political instability and how it affects sustainable development.

Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) research project defines good governance as the process and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised; the process by which governments are selected, held accountable, monitored and replaced; the capacity of governments to manage resources efficiently, and to formulate, implement and enforce sound policies and regulations; and the respect for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them (Onigbide, 2007). According to UNDP (1997), good governance is the entirety of exercise of authority in the administration of a nations matters, encompassing the complex procedures, apparatuses, and institutions through which groups and populaces express their interests, implement their legal rights and arbitrate their dissimilarities. It comprises the economic, political, social, judicial and administrative authority and thus includes; the private sector, the government and the civil society.

It also entails a particular set of initiatives and a broad strategy to reinforce the civil society institution purposing to make the government more accountable, more democratic and more transparent (Abe, 2010). Healey and Robinson (1994) define good governance as a high level of organizational effectiveness about policy formulation and the policies pursues, especially in the conduct of economic policy and its contribution to growth, stability and public welfare. To this end, good governance is not only about accountability, transparency, and participation but also encompasses the rule of law and openness. A more insightful and comprehensive explanation of good governance was provided by the World Bank (1992) by defining it as the means by which power is exercised in the management of a countrys economic and social resources for development. According to Potter (2000), good governance can be regarded as sound development management, accountability, the legal framework for development improvements, the legality of the government, information and technology, the capability of administrations to articulate suitable policies, make timely decisions, implement them efficiently and deliver services. Thus, good governance is the level at which a government is observed and acknowledged as valid, devoted to refining the well-being of people and being able to resort to the requirements of the populaces. The government should also be capable in the upkeep of law and order, and public service delivery, ability to produce an empowering setting for fecund undertakings and impartial in its conduct.

Good Governance for Sustainable DevelopmentGood governance is a prerequisite for sustainable development. So much is expected from good governance which ranges from accountability, participation and openness, efficiency (proportionality), effective coherence and better sensitivity to the immediate milieu that is assured by subsidiarity. Regarding sustainability, the requirements include ways of internalizing external costs and confirming integration of policy deliberations, dealing with tradeoffs and evaluation of options. In the European Commissions (2001) definition of good governance, it emphasizes on the institutions role as articles that are mainly viewed as being insufficiently out of reach for the ordinary citizens. To this end, the understanding of governance seems primarily concerned with reducing the extent of bureaucratization and hierarchy. The White Paper on European Governance (CEC 2001) concentrated on making formal institutions accountable, accessible and pertinent to the citizens as well as retains the highest level of credibility legitimacy and relevancy as conceived by an average individual. However, the White Paper had some limitation because it was not all inclusive and majorly concentrated on the formal institutions and overlooked the vital role played by the informal institutions in governance including in the involvement in policy formation and implementation. According to Parto (2005), to wholly appreciate the role of establishments in governance then they should be viewed in the same light as bureaucracy. Since a bigger part of sustainable development is in due course about radical transformations in the systems of consumption and production, governance for sustainability is, by inference, about working through informal and formal institutions to drive societal change.

To effect changes in the informal administrative institutions including routines and habits needs identification of the levels that desire change, the territorial measure at and through which the preferred transformation is to be implemented, and the systems that are likely to find ways of creating governance rules with realistic consistency of vision and commitment, are accountable, enjoy trust, and have adequate capacity for direction, coordination, and re-direction. The four essential components and features that make up governance for sustainability include policy integration, common objectives, criteria, trade-off rules and indicators, information, and incentives for practical implementation and programs for system innovation (Kemp, Parto & Gibson, 2005).

Despite the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) not including targets or a goal on governance, the Millennium Declaration that was adopted in 2000 by the world leaders acknowledged the vital link between good governance, sustainable development, and human rights. In the post-2015 development agenda, more power is given to governance. According to UNDP (2014), effective governance institutions and systems that are responsive to public needs deliver essential services and promote inclusive growth, while inclusive political processes ensure that citizens can hold public officials to account (p.4). Moreover, good governance promotes freedom from crime, fear, violence, and secure and peaceful societies that give the stability required for development investments to be constant. For development to be social, economically and ecologically sustainable and equitable, it is important to incorporate an approach that addresses the political and the technical attributes of development solutions.

UNDP (2014) recommends a new approach to sustainable development formed around good governance. It posits that governance is wider than institutions and includes relations between the people and the state. It also provides a mechanism through which collaboration across different sectors can be generated. Good governance also handles some of the common hindrances to sustainable development including inequality and exclusion.

According to UNDPs post-2015 development framework, member states agreed that good governance is the foundation of development. It says, Democracy, good governance and the rule of law at the national and international levels, as well as an enabling setting, are essential for sustainable development including sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger (General Assembly resolution 66/288, p.3). UNDP recognizes that the controls of power and the exercise of authority experience some deficits and at the center of development challenges lay issues like weak state capacity, conflict over natural resources, social and political violence, and environmental sustainability. This framework emphasizes on inclusive economic development, inclusive social development, peace and security and environmental sustainability in an attempt to the sustainable development agenda.

Practically, governance entails responsive efficient and accountable state institutions, transparency and openness including public access to information, addressing the corruption menace and curbing the illicit financial flows, the rule of law and justice, participatory decision-making, combating transnational organized crime and curbing violence. To improve governance, then the factors mentioned above need to be tackled. The concept and practice of good governance is widely attractive to the scholars and this has mainly been because of the several concerns raised across the African continent over the apparent incapacity of several African leaders to ascertain the delivery of the bonuses as were widely envisaged by the people at the onset of openness and democratization in their nations (Umar, 2008). The African continent has experienced crises in governance to the point that it represents the hallmark of the African society. The African nations political stability has also been affected due to the inability of the leaders to handle the affairs of their countries efficiently and in a manner that drives sustainable development. It has resulted in the citizens craving for a better life that has remained far-fetched, and their dissatisfaction has sometimes resulted in chaos.

Governance and Democracy in AfricaToday, it is impractical to separate the performance and measurements o...

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