Practice Advice on Democratic Institutions and Policy Process
Establishing Good Governance (UNDP)
Summary Advice: The UNDP offers several pieces of advice for the establishment of good governance, which it describes as a prerequisite for sustainable human development.
Main Points: The UNDP observes that good governance is a prerequisite for sustainable human development. Good governance promotes sustainable human development by improving the participation of citizens in the decision-making process, enhancing the economic successes of the private sector, improving the capacity of civil society to facilitate public participation and social mobilization, improving the ability of the state to democratically govern its citizens and undertake its responsibilities, and decentralizing financial and administrative processes for decision-making and the management of public programs.
Good governance is effective and equitable, and promotes the rule of law and the transparency of institutions, officials, and transactions. It embraces all methods used to distribute power and manage public resources, and the organizations that shape government and the execution of policy. It also encompasses the mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations, and resolve their differences.
Public participation is essential to ensure that political, social and economic priorities are based on a broad societal consensus and that the poorest and most vulnerable populations can directly influence political decision-making, particularly with respect to the allocation of development resources.
Achieving good governance requires that improvements be actively sought in:
Governing institutions by improving key political institutions of the state, including legislatures, legal and judicial systems, and electoral and human rights bodies;
Public and private sector management by improving the capacity of institutions responsible for the management of economic transactions and social resources;
Financial and administrative decision-making processes through decentralization and the active management of public programs among central, regional, and local levels; and
Civil society advocacy by improving social mobilization and public participation, two factors that can actively contribute to the public policy-making process and participate in the political, economic, and social affairs of the state.
Source: UNDP (1997). Management Development and Governance Division, "UNDP AND GOVERNANCE: Experiences and Lessons Learned" Lessons-Learned Series No. 1 at http://mirror.undp.org/magnet/docs/gov/Lessons1.htm#1.3 (accessed 01 November 2012).
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