Connect with us

Featured

Another One Bites the Dust?

Published

on

A pro-Kurdistan independence rally in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, 2017. Governments missed an opportunity to advance the Sustainable Development Goal on good governance at the recent UN gathering of world leaders as attacks on civil society rise. LEVI CLANCY/CREATIVE COMMONS

By engaging largely in self-congratulation, with few exceptions, the three-minute speeches by world leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals conference ignored, for example, specific commitments that could propel the good governance agenda, under Goal 16 and beyond.

That goal, on peace, justice and strong institutions, lies at the center of the SDGs, with good governance at its core. At the high-level political forum last month, the president of the Seychelles, Danny Faure, was a lone voice in reinforcing governance links across the goals, saying that “governance is the key means of implementation” of the SDGs.

In his 2019 report on the goals, Secretary-General António Guterres wrote about homicides, human trafficking, birth registration and human-rights institutions under Goal 16. But his report was remarkably silent on other key governance measures such as bribery, transparent institutions, participatory and representative decision-making and public access to information.

A new report by the nonprofit group Partnership for Transparency, titled “Expanding Civil Society Contributions to the Governance Agendas of Sustainable Development Goals and International Financial Institutions,” looked at the recent experience of donors, governments and other entities with good governance programs. It found that these goals in Agenda 2030 are only “aspirational,” with “slim prospects” for their success.

A major reason for such shortfalls, the report says, is limited civic engagement — a point that received little attention at the SDG conference last month.

Good governance programs have tended to focus on the “supply” of governance-related services, such as state institutions’ monitoring performance on public financial management. They often give inadequate attention to the “demand” for governance services by beneficiaries. These “demand” activities include, for example, monitoring of public budgets for schools by parent-teacher associations and civic groups’ exercising their right to information on public services.

The report calls for a major increase on the “demand” side in civil society engagement in Goal 16 programs.

The report reviewed more than 40 studies on hundreds of cases of civil society engagement in good governance programs. It found that they work best in contributing to initiatives that address the rights of citizens to obtain information on public activities; track public expenditures and promote participatory budgeting; conduct third-party monitoring of state actions; raise awareness of people’s rights and entitlements; and encourage citizens to express their voice during public consultations on government-sponsored plans.

The report also concluded that expanding transparency, accountability and full access to public services and improving ways to redress grievances are important for a program’s usefulness.

But the report also found that context matters greatly. What works in one setting may not work in another without adaptation.

Research suggests that the strongest evidence of positive results from civil society engagement in good governance programs lies in the delivery of public services, such as health and education, as well as in public financial management. Even then, positive results are far from assured: token participation, reprisals and/or denial of services, capture by elites, community disenchantment and even violent responses by governments are not excluded.

Interventions or other actions that help to build a conducive environment and state responsiveness to civic action are generally more successful than those promoting only citizens’ voices.

The positive global environment for good governance established by the SDGs does not mean that a favorable environment exists in every country. This problem was evident in the lack of specificity on governance and civil society roles in the national speeches heard at the UN political forum assessing the goals in September as well as in July.

Guterres wrote frankly about the problem in his SDG progress report: “Attacks on civil society are . . . holding back development progress.”

The weak if not debilitating environment for progress on the good governance agenda nationally is also apparent in a 2018 study by the Institute of Development Studies.

Its findings: “In principle, new regulations purport to strengthen the governance and accountability of civil society, and to assert national sovereignty over the development process. In practice, however, efforts to regulate civic space are often a heavy-handed mixture of stigmatisation and delegitimisation, selective application of rules and restrictions, and violence and impunity for violence against civic actors and groups, motivated by the concentration or consolidation of political power.”

While the September conference and the high-level debate of world leaders at the General Assembly last month represent missed opportunities, the nongovernmental community can and should continue to pursue the matter nationally and especially locally. Civil society organizations can use the SDGs to hold public authorities accountable for being responsive to such organizations that are working on governance.

In this way, it is noteworthy that the president of the UN Economic and Social Council’s summary of the July forum said, “Strengthening the role of non-state actors is vital to the achievement of the Goals.”

The best programs on good governance will find civil society groups to be the real partners, acting collaboratively rather than confrontationally to pursue common objectives.

Source: Passblue

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

Download

Continue Reading
HEROES2 days ago

Right Livelihood Awards Announced: System Change is Not Only Possible, But Necessary

HEROES2 days ago

Inspiring the Next Generation of Changemakers

HEROES3 days ago

Make Love Go Viral: Somalian Peacemakers

HEROES3 days ago

Energy as a Public Service

HEROES3 days ago

Honoring Cooperatives

HEROES3 days ago

Ukranian Human Rights Defenders

The Great Transition1 week ago

Understanding the Great Transition

The Great Transition1 week ago

Information, Communications, Media

The Great Transition1 week ago

Consumption, Materials and Resources

The Great Transition1 week ago

Food and Agriculture

The Great Transition1 week ago

Transforming Health

The Great Transition1 week ago

Education for a New World

Featured1 week ago

The Transformation of Energy and Transportation Systems

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Going forward: A realistic action plan

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Policy1 month ago

NO TO NUKES: Non-proliferation treaty conference ends in failure, ban treaty shows the way forward

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Innovation without Borders

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Information without Borders

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Affordable and Renewable Clean Energy

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Resources and Materials

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Improved Food Systems

Build for Change2 months ago

Why Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet Will Take Us to Our Cliff of Doom and How We Can Prevent It

Featured2 months ago

Indigenous rice out-performs commercial varieties in nutrition value and tolerance to drought, flood, extreme weather

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

Reviving Jordan’s community, resilience and food sovereignty through urban wheat cultivation

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

An organic farming revolution in Thailand

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Heart Attacks Are Not Worth Dying For

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Rethink: Humanity’s Next Operating System

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

Food and Land2 months ago

Understanding the Roots of the Food Crises and Preventing Future Crises: Resilience and a Deep Dive

Editorials2 months ago

Another Conference is not going to save us:

A web of Life for ALL Life2 months ago

Truths or Consequences

Build for Change2 months ago

The launch of “Rights of the Atlantic Ocean” campaign in Newfoundland

Build for Change2 months ago

What’s really going on in the Brazilian Rainforests?

Editorials2 months ago

To Save the Planet, Forget About the Globe (And Act Locally)

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Rethink X4 months ago

Out of Chaos Comes Creation: Understanding Transformation of Civilizations

Rethink X4 months ago

Understanding the Repeating Patterns of History: Growth / Collapse / Transformation

Mobilized News Network7 months ago

Clarity Above all Else

Paradigm Change7 months ago

Nuremberg Prosecutor at 102: Make Law, Not War.

INTERVIEWS8 months ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Paradigm Change8 months ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

Arts9 months ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

A web of Life for ALL Life10 months ago

We are One

Mobilized TV10 months ago

How we can eradicate heart Disease

Mobilized TV10 months ago

Howard Bloom: Imagination Takes You Everywhere

Featured10 months ago

From Punk to Planet: Slam Dunk the Junk with Dave Street

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A Moral Responsibility: Jean Su, Ctr. for Biological Diversity

Mobilized TV11 months ago

On Free Speech TV: Rethinking Humanity with James Arbib of RethinkX

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Sustainable Architecture, Design and Building for a Sustainable Planet

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A better understanding of lawn care for Climate Care featuring Dr. Rob Moir of the Ocean River Institute

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Stories from the Reservation: Davidica Little Spotted Horse

The News without the Noise

Translate »