By Asad Ali.
“Good governance is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” (Kofi Annan)
Governance is a method of management. The concept is not naïve; it was also present in primitive societies, but not as organized as today. Governance had taken great importance during the 18th century. Generally it is considered that, the whole system of state will be on track, if strong systems of governance exist in a country. We have a great misapprehension as for as the word governance is concerned and often mixed the term government with governance, but the former have a physical existence and the later means to exercise powers with aim of regulating public policies and the interest of the people. The concept of good governance became prominent in the far end of 20th century. The term was coined by World Bank. Good governance entails sound public sector management, accountability, transparency and legal framework for development. Good governance involves role of government in core strategic and sovereign functions. The modern concept of good governance comprises participation, decentralization, and accountability framework, access to information, ensuring transparency, democracy and human rights. At present age bad governance is not only the problem of third world countries, but the developing and even developed countries are the victim of the same phenomenon in different forms. Everyday new approaches and theories are emerged to cater the growing administrative needs of societies. Without a system of good governance, it is impossible to achieve the maximum level of human satisfaction. A reasonable system of governance is necessary for the fulfillment of human thirst of better livelihood.
In light of recent development of the concept, the following points are prerequisite for a modern system of governance.
A strong system of justice is the basic requirement for the modern governance system. Justice is the most important satisfaction human ever enjoyed. A judicial system where injustice and inequalities prevail, don’t satisfy its citizens. People mistrust from the judicial organ, generate a sense of personal revenge. As an outcome chaos and disorder become the ultimate fate of society. This will further promote a sense of deprivation among the masses and finally the whole system will be collapsed.
Public-private partnership is an important concept of modern governance system. Institutions and individuals, who have capacities and potentials, although are not part of the government, can still play a significant role in individual lives. Innovative ideas and ambitious capacities of private individual and organization now conveniently utilize for the greater national interest. Many developed nations opts this approach to strengthen their governance capabilities. Great Britain economic success during the last quarter of twenty century is direct result of public-private partnership. First time British labor party Prime Minister Margret Thatcher implement the idea and got fame as an Iron Lady. Many western nations later pick the concept and successfully acquire economic stability.
Participation is a process whereby all stakeholders participate in policy making process, according to their influential policymaking role, prioritizing issues and accessibility to resources; goods and services. Ultimately, it increases economic efficiency and transparency in decision making. Everyone has right to be heard, and their legitimate demands should be given due weight by the government. For this, they should endeavor to enhance their capacity and capability to participate in decision-making processes.
Rule of law; weak governance serves the private interest as absence of access to information leads to exploitation at the hands of those elements having vested interests. Therefore, rules and regulations, code of conducts and procedure should be fair and impartial. The concept of natural justice is essential to fully implement on every legal proceeding. Accountability across the board is precondition. Without efficient system of rule of law good governance in modern governance system is impossible.
Access to Information is another emerging principle of the modern governance system. Transparency can be insured to provide the open access to all stakeholders, not to provide such access simply means escape of responsibilities and embezzle resources. The ultimate loser of this scenario is the poor of the poorest; because resources which are reserved to spend on them are utilized for the private interest of privileged class, this will generate a sense of depraved ness among the masses.
Investment friendly state policies in modern governance system are indispensable. The more local and foreign investment mean the more opportunities for the natives. The economic satisfaction of the majority will lead the nation into the track of prosperity.
Strategic Vision: A strong strategic vision is compulsory for sound nation progress. Only a long term planning can entail the spirit of healthy society. There is also an understanding of the historical, cultural and social convolutions in which that perspective is grounded.
Social security plays an important role in the development of a nation. A strong concept of social security entails a durable self-confidence. When citizens have a strong set of believe on the governance system a healthy competition in very field of life is inevitable, which will lead a nation toward the road of development.
Consensus decision-making is way to protect the interest of different groups from confrontation. This will help to achieve broader understanding among the competing groups. By ensuring the process of consensus decision-making at various forums will help to discourage the monopoly of powerful groups. Consensus decision-making at grassroots level is a pre-requisite for the strong democratic process.
Pro-active state policies are tactically important for the effective system of governance. A state that has pro-active policies has sustainable impact on everyday life. This will provide sense of security and guarantee to its citizen which help to enhance their work capacities.
Development of soft infrastructure is a key for the modern governance system. It is necessary for a society to empower its individual. Soft infrastructure includes education, health and technical training of the hoi polloi. The hard infrastructure; highways, dams and buildings can only be achieved when people enjoy the benefits of soft infrastructure. Soft-infrastructure is pre-condition to build the hard-infrastructure.
The modern concept of good governance is not only limited to the management. It is a complete package for the welfare of all beings. The journey from under-developed to developed nation is the direct outcome of good governance. It is growing demand of 21th to establish a strong system of governance; where everyone can enjoy the true benefits of state services. For the better output and smooth running of states businesses an effective system of governance is indispensable.
Asad Ameer Chaudhary; Lahore based lawyer and has keen interest in International law and Politics. He can be reached at; firstname.lastname@example.org